The Maya of ancient Mexico and Guatemala have generated much controversy regarding their origins(w). Recent studies indicate that the story of the development of this remarkable civilisation may be more complex than previously thought(k). The demise of the Mayan culture (800-950 AD) has now been definitively shown to be the result of persistent drought, particularly in the southern lowlands(o).
Nevertheless, a recent (Sept.2021) article(ac) with contributions from several authorities, highlights the complexity referred to above, while one area might be collapsing another could be flourishing – “A number of Maya cities rose and fell at different times, some within that 800 to 1000 time period, and some afterwards, according to scholars. For example, while areas in southern Mesoamerica, such as Tikal in what is now Guatemala, declined in the eighth and ninth centuries due to environmental problems and political turmoil, populations rose in other areas, such as Chichén Itzá, in what is now the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula,” and “When Chichén Itzá declined, largely because of a lengthy drought during the 11th century, another Yucatán Peninsula city, called Mayapán, started to thrive.”
“We should always remember, the last Maya state, Nojpetén, fell only in 1697 — pretty recent,” said Guy Middleton, a visiting fellow at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University in the U.K. “It is really important to get the message out there that though classic Maya cities and states did collapse, and culture did transform, the Maya in no way disappeared,” said Middleton, adding that “we should pay attention to the story, the state and status of the Maya descendent population in Mesoamerica now.”
The commonly held idea, that the Maya were destroyed by drought is now disputed(ah).
The Maya of Central America today are estimated to number seven million.
Inevitably the Maya have been linked with Atlantis by some writers such as Lewis Spence and E.H. Thompson who claimed that the Maya were descendants of Atlanteans. The maverick, Augustus Le Plongeon, was alone in identifying Atlantis as a colony of the Maya and that their language was in fact Greek! Others, such as Jean-Frédérick Waldeck, included an Egyptian linkage as well.
Richard Cassaro has published a fascinating collection of parallels between the Mayan and Egyptian cultures on Graham Hancock’s website (ag).
>The controversial American politician Charles Gates Dawes was convinced that there had been a connection between Atlantis and the Maya.<
Joachim Rittstieg claimed that the Maya and the Vikings had contact for nearly 500 years (754-1224 AD)(ae).
However, trumping all that is a recent claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(b). In a similar vein is the latest English language publication from Erich von Däniken entitled: Astronaut Gods of the Maya. Semir Osmanagic, of Bosnian pyramid fame, added a twist to this proposed linkage when he claimed that the Maya had come from Atlantis, which in turn had been founded by visitors from the Pleiades!
For some comic relief, I can suggest a 1976 book by brothers Eric & Craig Umland which ‘reveals’ that the Maya ‘are remnants of space explorers whose attempts to colonise our solar system went awry more than 40,000 years ago.’ Nearly every page is full of hilarious nonsense and nearly worth the £0.01 currently quoted on Amazon.co.uk. A website(i) dealing with ‘unreason’ uses extracts from the Umlands as good examples! If you wish to read about the Maya in Antarctica, the Canaries as well as the Moon, this is the book for you.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan manmade dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters.
The Maya had a sophisticated writing system that occupied the attention of some 19th-century writers including Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg and Le Plongeon. Unfortunately, de Bourbourg followed the work of the 16th-century bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa whose interpretation was seriously erroneous. It was Constantine Rafinesque who partially deciphered some of the Mayan numerals in 1832.
A report in 2013(l) indicated that substantial progress has been made in the decipherment of any outstanding difficulties in the translation of the Mayan script through internet cooperation.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan man-made dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters. Ten years later, it was discovered that the Maya had also the ability to engineer a water fountain in their city of Palenque(v) and had advanced water management systems(z). A recent BBC article(ab) took an in-depth look at the remarkable hydrological capabilities of the Maya.
In 2020, the largest and oldest Mayan monument in Mexico was identified. It is in the form of a ceremonial platform that is between 33 and 50 feet tall and is nearly a mile long(x). The structure, dated to around 3,000 years ago and was discovered with the help of LIDAR in the state of Tabasco.
James O’Kon, an engineer, has investigated Mayan technology for decades, including the discovery of a suspension bridge at the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in Mexico in 1995, which is believed to be the longest bridge of the ancient world(r). This and other aspects of Mayan technology he explores in his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology.
One of those technological secrets was the unusual acoustics found at Mayan sites, particular Chichen Itza(ad). In 1931 Leopold Stokowski, the renowned conductor, spent four days at the site to determine the acoustic principles that could be applied to an open-air concert theatre he was designing. He failed to learn the secret.
More recently, Lorraine Stobbart has written Utopia: Fact or Fiction, which suggests that the ‘Utopia’ of Sir Thomas More was inspired by the Mayan culture although his text was written before Mexico was ‘officially’ discovered. Stobbart recently revealed that she is now revising her views.
However, a more serious claim relates to the idea that Mayan inscriptions revealed that a global catastrophe was to occur in 2012. This nonsense(g) turned into a minor publishing industry. Some even tried to link this daft idea to Atlantis. Fortunately, May 2012 saw evidence from excavations in Guatemala that shows the Mayan calendar extending well beyond 2012(h).
The Mayan calendar has provoked speculation and controversy ever since its discovery. Its origins are obscure, but one interpretation is that the world we live in was created on this day in 3114 B.C. A quite different view was proposed over seventy years ago by Georg Hinzpeter of the German Hoerbiger Society who claimed that our Moon was captured by the Earth in June of 8498 BC and that it became the zero date for the Maya.(y)
Aloys Eiling, the German researcher, commented on the accuracy of the Mayan calendar with “The Mayan calendar even surpasses the precision of the Gregorian calendar in use today. Not only did the Mayan calendar measure the duration of the Earth’s orbit around the sun more accurately than our current calendar, but the Maya gave an even more precise value for the average duration of the Moon’s orbit around Earth. The precision achieved is all the more remarkable as the Moon in deserts or regions with clear skies may have played an important role in everyday life as a nightly source of light. But of what use is its dull light in the rainforest or cloudy regions of the world?”(af)
The late David H. Kelley, a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at Canada’s University of Calgary, had been investigating ancient links between Asia and pre-Columbian America. In that regard, he published a paper outlining similarities between the Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars that were too numerous to be explained by independent development(p). A more sceptical view is offered(q) by Jason Colavito, who traces the idea back to Alexander von Humboldt.
In a paper entitled On the Mayan Chronology, Emilio Spedicato offers several ideas regarding ancient Meso-American chronologies. For example, he proposes that the large numbers used by the Maya and Toltecs record days rather than years. Many of his ideas stem from the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, John Ackerman and the Tollmans.
The work of Teobert Maler at the end of the 19thcentury was invaluable in the advancement of Mayan studies. Subsequent researchers have seized upon his discovery of a frieze at Tikal, which he interpreted as a depiction of the destruction of Atlantis, as evidence of the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic. Apart from Maler’s conjectural ideas, no tangible link has been found between the Maya and Atlantis apart from the use in their glyphs of elephants, an animal that features in Plato’s narrative.
The authenticity of the photo of the frieze has been called into question by Jason Colavito and his related blog(n) is worthy of consideration.
In late 2011 controversy erupted when it was claimed that the Itza Maya had migrated to North America, more specifically Georgia(c). It was also suggested that earthen pyramids in Georgia and Florida can be attributed to the Maya(e). Among their other accomplishments is the claim that the Maya were capable of predicting meteor showers(s).
Gene Matlock, the well-known advocate of Atlantis in Mexico, is certain that the Maya were originally Tamils from Sri Lanka(a)!
Kurt Schildmann’s 2003 book , was reviewed by Dr Horst Friedrich who commented that “One of the provisional results of Schildmann’s decipherment of the Maya script, and study of the Maya language, is the rather sensational discovery that words from several Old World languages (Sumerian, Accadian, Indo-Iranian, Phoenician, Hebrew and Basque) have somehow found their way into the Maya language.”(aa) I’m sure this will be disputed!
A recent article(f) gives an interesting firsthand account of encountering the important Mayan city of Calakmul deep in the Yucatan jungle. Potentially even more important are recent LiDAR surveys carried out in Guatemala that have revealed an astounding number of previously unknown Mayan structures. The number of additional Mayan sites identified through the use of LiDAR continues to grow at an incredible rate(u).
Muddying the waters further is an Islamic site that claims that the Maya were Atlantean(m).
(m) https://mashiyah.blogspot.ie/ (offline 1/8/14)
(v) https://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/03/maya-pyramid-plumbing-unearthed-by-archaeologists/1#.Xm-Nb2BFBVc (link broken) *
(y) Atlantean Research, Vol 3, No.1, May, 1950
Ice Ages have been a fact of life on Earth for aeons, according to conventional ice age theory. There is now evidence that during the very early existence of our planet, the entire Earth was completely glaciated, possibly twice!(w)
However, the exact cause of the onset of any ice age is still a matter of active debate(ab). Ralph Ellis has now proposed a new theory based on a cyclical alteration of polar albedo by atmospheric dust(n).
Over the last three million years, a period referred to by geologists as the Pleistocene Epoch, at least thirty Ice Ages have been ‘identified’. The exact extent of the polar ice caps during the last Ice Age is the subject of some debate with new evidence from northern Sweden and Norway, suggesting a less extensive cap than previously believed. However, there is evidence that Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which is now 13,803 feet above sea level,” had a large glacial ice cap of about 70 square kilometres until 14,500 years ago.”(ag)
Various theories have been proposed to explain the onset and the ending of these Ice Ages ranging from changes in the earth’s orbit(g) around the sun to the effects of the Earth’s passage through the spiral arms of the Milky Way.
Over recent decades we have been consistently told that global warming is underway with a constant threat of rising sea levels. Consequently, it was no surprise when, in April 2018, The Guardian had a headline declaring that Glacier loss is accelerating because of global warming(r). However, an equally up-to-date website(s) claims that most of the world’s glaciers are actually growing and makes the comparable assertion that sea levels have stopped rising(t). Over a decade ago the well-known botanist David Bellamy made similar claims, that were refuted in a revealing article by George Monbiot, also in The Guardian(u).
Emilio Spedicato has proposed(a) that glaciations are started by asteroidal or cometary impacts on land and terminated by impacts with an ocean. The late Sir Fred Hoyle and his equally radical colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe concurred with this view. They believe that an impact of sufficient size would have vaporised and ejected billions of gallons of water into the upper atmosphere creating an immediate ‘greenhouse effect’ that then led to the melting of the glaciers. In a 1999 paper, Hoyle & Wickramasinghe wrote of the positive effect of greenhouse gases in staving off the next ice age(aa).
Another recent theory suggests that a severe reduction in sunspot activity may herald the imminent return of another ‘little ice age’ such as was experienced in the 17th century and known as the Maunder Minimum. During that period only 50 sunspots were recorded instead of the usual 40-50 thousand(ah). NASA has denied that there is any such impending cooling and that the possible effect of any reduced solar activity would be more than offset by the warming caused by human activity(ai).
In 2003, scientists at Kansas University drew a lot of attention with their claim that gamma-ray bursts can cause an ice age and mass extinctions. However, the suggested frequency of a gamma-ray explosion that might affect the Earth, every few hundred million years runs counter to conventional ice age theory which proposes that the frequency of ice ages runs to hundreds of thousands of years(ad).
The last Ice Age reached what is known as the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) around 25,000 -15,000 BP, according to Ray & Adams(q). LGM describes the time when the glaciers reached their maximum extension.
Remarkably, the very existence of an Ice Age was only first conceived just over 150 years ago when Louis Agassiz first published his theory. It took another century before it was fully realised that some of the consequences of the melting of the glaciers at the end of each Ice Age, would have been the flooding of continental shelves and the breaching of low-lying land bridges.
An example of such events would have been the submergence of the majority of the Celtic Shelf separating Britain and Ireland from mainland Europe. In the South China Sea, large chunks of what is known as Sundaland were also flooded. At the eastern end of the Mediterranean, the Bosporus was breached flooding the Black Sea, and more controversially some claim that there had been a breach of a landbridge at the Strait of Gibraltar.
Prompted by the fact that the date given by Solon/Plato for the destruction, 9600 BC coincides with the retreating of the glaciers of the last Ice Age, all the above submergences and breaches have been included in the Atlantis debate.
New studies have shown interesting confirmation of the ‘Out of Africa‘ theory, which had recently come under attack. The effects of the last Ice Age on the population of Europe were quite dramatic(l). In 2013, journalist, Paul Salopek set out on a 21,000-mile walking journey from East Africa, across Asia, and down the west coast of the Americas in an attempt to emulate mankind’s long odyssey as he (mankind not Saklopek) populated the planet(v).
The most recent genetic studies suggest that “a vast inland oasis in present-day northern Botswana was once home to the founder population of all modern humans.” (x)
A first-rate work  by Steven Mithen on the aftermath of the last Ice Age was recently published.
Fundamentalist Christians who believe in a literal seven days of creation have great difficulty with modern Ice Age theory(b) and some propose that an ice age occurred after the biblical Deluge(f). For some fundamentalists the (only) Ice Age lasted from around 2500 BC until 1500 BC(o), otherwise, it will not fit into Archbishop Ussher’s 4004 BC date for the creation of the world!
Furthermore, it would be dishonest if I did not record that there have been more credible attempts to debunk the ‘conventional’ Ice Age Theory. The late Peter K. Bros (1939-2007) expressed such views in J. Douglas Kenyon’s Forbidden History[802.44] and in Atlantis Rising magazine(ae).
>Dr. Horst Friedrich (1931-2015) was strongly opposed to Ice Age Theory and in one of the many papers that he published on the subject, he invoked the earlier work of C.G.S. Sandberg in support of his views(aj).<
Furthermore, Allan & Delair offer similar views in Chapter 12 of Part One of their acclaimed book Cataclysm as does Richard E.Mooney[0842.87]. An essay by Kurt Johmann entitled “Debunking Ice Age” is also worth a read. The Thunderbolts website has a forum(h) dealing with whether Ice Ages occurred at all! Those interested in this particular controversy will find some worthwhile comments there. The same site has linked to an article that offers further challenges to conventional Ice Age and global warming theories. This report(j) concerns the discovery of the remains of a 4,000-year-old forest in the Alps at the edge of a retreating glacier, which added further evidence that warmer climates than at present were experienced since the last Ice Age. A regular Thunderbolts contributor, Rens Van Der Sluijs, also deals with global warming during the last Ice Age as revealed through mythology(k). However, Thunderbolts ‘Electric Universe’ concept has also received some highly critical reviews(m).
An interesting side issue is the work of Genevieve von Petzinger(y) who has collated recurring geometric symbols found in the Ice Age caves and rock carvings, not only across Europe but in Asia and less frequently in Africa and the Americas.
The University of Sheffield has now produced a set of maps showing the shrinkage of the last glacial ice sheet that covered most of the British Isles at the end of the last Ice Age(d). That particular ice sheet contained enough water to raise the world’s oceans by 2.5 metres when melted. Further maps have been published on Don Hitchcock’s website(i).
The retreating ice sheets also produced drumlins, with as many as 20,000 to be found in Ireland, with many of these and other Ice Age creations featuring in the placenames of my country(p).
We should not forget that Mother Nature can still spring weather surprises on us, such as the Great European Freeze of 1709 that led to widespread death of humans and livestock, crop failures and food riots(af).
(m) See: Archive 922
(ae) Atlantis Rising No. 41
(af) New Scientist, 07 February 2009