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Pyramid Scheming PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Barbara Mervine   

A note from Jeff Wagg:

Barbara (Kitty) Mervine is a long-time friend of the JREF who is joining us on her second Amaz!ng Adventure. While she'll be enlightening those on board with tales of Mexican UFOs, she's taken time to point out some European assumptions concerning ancient American civilizations for those who missed the boat.

pyramidIn preparation for travelling to Mexico for the first time I have been studying up the history of Mexico and in particular the Mayan civilization. The misconception that the native people of Mexico were incapable of having such advanced skills in architecture, math and astronomy started long before the Erich von Däniken wrote his infamous "Chariot of the Gods" book. When sixteenth- century Spanish historians wrote of the Mayan ruins, they concluded that the people that built the pyramids and other advanced architectural structures were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Cotton Mather, William Penn and Roger Williams were all supporters of what was called the "Jewish Theory" for Mexico. Other theories to explain how such an advanced civilization ended up in Mexico include the Mayans being survivors of a lost continent such as Atlantis. In recent times we have space aliens coming to both Egypt and Central and South America to build landing pads and pyramids, and pass on their wisdom.

James Randi, and other skeptics, have long been vocal critics of these theories. But I was surprised to discover that there was another early skeptic, at times a voice of reason in a wilderness of prejudice, named John Lloyd Stevens. Stevens, known as "the father of Mayan archeology" who wrote in 1840 in his book "Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan" "The works of these people are different from the works of any other known people; they are of a new order, and entirely and absolutely anomalous: they stand alone."

He added (bolding mine):

Unless I am wrong, we have a conclusion far more interesting and wonderful than that of connecting the builders of these cities with the architecture, sculpture and drawing, and beyond doubt in other more perishable arts...not derived from the Old World, but originating and growing up here, without models or masters, having a distinct, separate, independent existence: like the plants and fruits of the soul, indigenous

In other words, the people of Mexico did it all by themselves.

He also had something to say about the still popular belief that somehow the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico are somehow culturally (or paranormally) tied together:

The pyramid form is one which suggests itself to human intelligence in every country as the simplest and surest mode of erecting a high structure upon a solid foundation. It cannot be regarded as a ground for assigning a common origin to all people among whom structures of that character are found unless the similarity is preserved in its most striking features.

(Jeff notes: the Luxor casino in Las Vegas has a Mayan pyramind inside, and their expansion towers are shaped vaguely like step pyramids.)

As a preschool teacher I would add I have seen countless preschoolers building pyramids because it is the most stable shape to build. In a way, a pyramid is a building that already has fallen down!

And so I salute John Lloyd Stevens: a skeptic that even back in 1840 understood that the people of Mexico were the geniuses behind the great Mayan culture. His firm conviction that people not "white Europeans" were capable of such an advanced culture put his at odds with most of his peers.

The spirit of John Lloyd Stevens, and even modern skeptics, is reflected in another bit of his writing:

We live in an age whose spirit is to discard phantasms and arrive at truth, and the interest lost in one particular is supplied in another scarcely inferior.

The truth can be as interesting if not more so than the mistaken misconception. Even today sadly, with the Mayans, these misconceptions are still often based on prejudice rather than reason.

 

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Missing The Obvious
written by DevonK, March 08, 2009
What always gets me is that we always want to find the most complex and convoluted answers when there is often a much simpler one to be found. As Ackams Razor says "The simplest solution tends to be the correct one." (sorry if the spelling is off on the name)

In this case, what natural occurring "thing" in all the world does a pyramid most resemble? Taking a moment and forgetting what it is and what it's supposed to be used for... does it not look like a mountain? Let's look further and see how we as humans without the advent of modern technology would make a mountain where we want a mountain to be. Even today, the first thing we would do is MOVE THE MOUNTAIN. So that means... use STONE!

Then as every new development in all of human history shows... you don't start with the final product you start by experimenting. This will lead to the simple conclusion that starting with the bottom and working your way up layer by layer is better than building it from side to side. There is after all only a handful of ways to build anything... from the inside out, from one side to the other, top to bottom, or a combination such as from top to bottom and inside to outside.

If you stop and think about it for a moment. If you want to create a man-made mountain no matter how you construct it, does it not seem pyramid-ish anyways. The only difference comes at the end when it comes to ornamentation and decoration. I mean even if you take a pile of sand and let it pile in one place... you get a mound which is a representation of a mountain which looks roughly like a pyramid... it all shares similar elements.

Of course the fact a pyramid is square is also simply a matter of practicality. Cutting round things is more difficult than cutting square ones. Even today, to make something round we usually start with something more square or rectangular. It's even done for the same reason... it's just easier. As shown by many, many experiments using water, fire, wood, etc. Stones vein in relatively straight lines and layers. So breaking them on those layers and strata will create a relatively square-ish object anyways. Why take a massive amount of time making it round when you can just make it square. If you're going to make it square... then why not make the whole thing square in the first place... just so much easier in the end.

Of course... this doesn't account for why anyone would want to make a man-made mountain in the first place. This is easily understood under two different ideas. 1) Any culture that existed around mountains always viewed mountains as the place of the gods... after all the tops we're much closer to the gods than the people at the bottom of the mountains were. 2) To show supremacy over your people (as every culture has shown) you need to be associated or connected to the gods. What better way to do that than building your very own mountain? The fact it was a square mountain... that just shows you are different from the gods even though were still equal to them (so that can fit for that reason too).

I will leave it to the experts to debate such things further... but doesn't that just seem like such a simpler and easier idea to understand? Why would we need them to be landing pads for spaceships?

Anyways... that's my opinion on the subject.
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written by Mikebo, March 08, 2009
There is a "psychic" connection between the Egyptian and Pre-Columbian South American civilisations, just as there is such a connection between tha ancient civilisations and ourselves.
"Psyche" = "mind" and, being of the same species, we have the same kinds of brain, the same kind of mind, which gives us the same basic ways of thinking and of analysing the world.
As DevonK has pointed out, it's not that surprising that the same idea should crop up in diverse and physically unconnected cultures. Even in more recent history, we have instances of two or more people, working quite separately, coming up with the same or similar concept: Newton's and Leibniz's work on calculus for example.
Even my humble self, as a child, looking at an atlas, had the idea that parts of the world looked like they would fit together (roughly)if you could move them and I'd never heard of Plate Tectonics! I'm sure many other people had the same idea.
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written by MadScientist, March 09, 2009
I can't imagine how anyone could possibly think the sites are related. The structures don't even bear a superficial resemblance before the 5th glass of beer and the techniques used for construction are obviously different (even if no one knows exactly how either sets of edifices were built). I wonder what the latest story is on that theory that the great pyramids were cast in parts rather than assembled from stones which were quarried from some region which was never identified and shaped into blocks. Even as we move from Egypt to ancient Persia, the pyramids and the ziggurats have virtually nothing in common even though I have often heard people say that they are related. I suspect it's just rank ignorance which perpetuates those myths and people who like to spread the myths have never even looked at photographs of Mayan, Persian, and Egyptian temples/tombs/whatever. Even within a single geographic region there can be substantial differences in the construction of these megaliths.
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written by BMN, March 09, 2009
@"she's taken time to point out some European assumptions concerning ancient American civilizations"

What is so European about these assumptions, that it bears mentioning? We're not in the 19th century anymore, and we Europeans have overall long since left those delusions behind. Last I heard, Von Däniken and his ilk have more followers in the US than here. smilies/wink.gif
If it's important to mention their origin, I'd mention the timeframe as well; like "19th-century European assumptions". That way you don't slight an entire continent.
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Another Conjecture
written by GMJ, March 09, 2009
If these people can speculate that it required intervention by advanced beings to build pyramids in Mexico then I can speculate that those making such conjectures were influenced by not so intelligent beings.
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Problemsolving
written by Geezer, March 09, 2009
In the end the fact is that similar problems more often than not result in similar solutions, even when there isn't a intelligence behind it, compare a whale with a fish.
As the gentleman in 1840 indicated, similarity of the ornaments would have been a reason for looking to a cultural connection while basic shapes...not so much.

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Pyramids
written by AngelaE8654, March 09, 2009
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as Mad Scientist; the structures of the Egyptian pyramids and the Mayan ones don't even come close to resembling each other. The structure, as has been stated, is stable and that's probably why the Mayans chose to build that way.

The Mayan people intrigue me greatly; MUCH more than the ancient Egyptians. Perhaps it's because there is so much that is NOT known about them. I would like to study more about these peoples.



Angela

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written by Caligo, March 09, 2009
Archeologists tend to clasify things by the method the object or structure was constructed. It is possible to construct two identical things in two different ways. Just because two civilizations build pyramids, doesn't mean they were related (and I agree that Egyptian pyramids look quite different from Mayan pyramids). If two civilizations built pyramids using the same method then that is a stronger indicator.

Something as basic as stone projectile points can be made in many different ways that would sugest a different cultural heritage. Pyramids are likely to have even greater variation.

We do this in other fields as well. Newton and Leibnitz discovered calculus, but they derrived it in different ways. The end result is calculus, but because of the different derivation we are quite certain they developed it separately. If they had very similar derivation the thesis would need more detailed examination.
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written by Otara, March 09, 2009
I think the idea that there might have been a link to Egypt through normal means isnt quite as batty as 'aliens did it'.

While we might know now it hasnt happened, I think a hundred years or more ago, it wasnt unreasonable to consider the _possibility_ of some kind of link millenia ago, it was the certainty that was the problem.

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Giant man-made conical structure
written by pxatkins, March 10, 2009
What? Egyptian and Mayan pyramids don't even come close to resembling each other. That statement is just, to be kind, wrong.
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written by Gollumpus, March 10, 2009
1.) There is a significant difference between the building styles of the two pyramid forms.

2.) There is also that little matter of 5,000 years (at least) between the two cultures.

regards,
G.
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written by Gollumpus, March 10, 2009
Correction: make that something more like 3500 years +/- between the two cultures.

regards,
G.
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written by Otara, March 10, 2009
You guys do realise some of those 'obvious' things like the age differences might not have been so obvious in 1840 or the like?

Egyptian had barely been decoded, and I kind of suspect we hadnt done too well at dating Mayan ruins by then, let alone knowing for sure how far back they might go.

Otara
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written by Gollumpus, March 11, 2009
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written by Otara, March 10, 2009
You guys do realise some of those 'obvious' things like the age differences might not have been so obvious in 1840 or the like?

Egyptian had barely been decoded, and I kind of suspect we hadn't done too well at dating Mayan ruins by then, let alone knowing for sure how far back they might go.

Otara


You criticism is correct.

The ethnocentric viewpoint of European culture (and I include Canada and the USA) did not allow for non-European (ie. "non-white") cultures to have accomplished anything prior to European contact. Further, they did not have the advantages of the science advances which we enjoy. So yes, we should cut them some slack.

regards,
G.
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written by Caller X, March 13, 2009
MadScientist wrote:

the techniques used for construction are obviously different (even if no one knows exactly how either sets of edifices were built).


Would you care to take another run at that statement? What differences between the two unknown construction methods are obvious?
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Adventure life
written by alagausun, March 30, 2009
Adventure is a thrilling moments, I always go to hill station for my adventure trips my children usually plays with pyramid also
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written by baby shower games, May 25, 2009
Those old civilization are really amazing. I was just wondering why no one of the descendant of that tribe or civilization can tell about the history, and what happened to its people. Are they just vanished or something happened to them. baby shower games
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The Maya Civilization
written by Car lease, June 01, 2009
The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Maya architecture spans many thousands of years; yet, often the most dramatic and easily recognizable as Maya are the stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond. The Maya built massive stone pyramids, temples, and sculpture; developed a system of writing using hieroglyphs; and recorded their achievements in mathematics and astronomy.

Regards, Ramesh,Car lease
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written by Felixfree, June 01, 2009
It's interesting explanation by John Lloyd Stevens! Because all we tired of aliens theory which we can't reject or approve.

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Mayan Pyramids
written by Baby Shower Ideas, June 16, 2009
The ancient Mayan Pyramids are a source of great wonder and mystery. According to archaeological evidence, it has been shown that the ancient Mayans began building their characteristic ceremonial structures, known as Mayan Pyramids or Pyramid-Temples, about 3,000 years back, which were at first merely burial mounds, the forerunners of the magnificent stepped pyramids that belong to the Terminal Pre-Classic period and even earlier.

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If you have mountains?
written by James B, June 19, 2009
"What better way to do that than building your very own mountain? The fact it was a square mountain..." - I assume this would only be in areas that are flat? As people in hilly areas would obviously then have no need to build anything? Just playing devils advocate if you know what I mean. smilies/smiley.gif
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Mayans
written by Karen521, June 25, 2009
I was in Cancun last year and went to Chichen Itza. What a fabulous historic site! I am also intrigued by the Mayans and their culture. So much was lost, it seems when the Spaniards came in, and then their population was decimated by influenza or something along those lines. I have read quite a bit about them and their structures, and it seems there is much debate as to how violent or peace loving they were as a population.

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I agree
written by licitatii online, July 17, 2009
I agree with your article, this is totally true.
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written by how to get a girl to like you, July 28, 2009


The Mayan pyramids are built in a very sophisticated way making them a mystery up until this day. Evidence suggests that Mayans built these pyramids as much as 3000 years ago. Personally I don't think it could of been just the Mayans who built it
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written by baby shower, August 17, 2009
Interesting. I wish I could have know this people long ago. Alien theory? I don't think with todays technology, we can prove the existence of alien yet.

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written by ijstyles, August 19, 2009
Mayan civilization and stuffs were very mystical and dynamic that proofs dealing with those such things won't be enough as an evidence. Yeah, but I am not closing my beliefs to such Alien Theories for aiding Mayans build their pyramids. smilies/wink.gif

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amazing...
written by Riz4325, August 19, 2009
Truly these mayan structures amaze us till now. 3000 to 4000 years later they are still standing strong. Amazing in one word

Riz
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written by Rapidshare Premium Account User, August 19, 2009
nice post
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written by Get Rapidshare Premium Account, August 19, 2009
excellent!
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dietpills
written by slim, August 20, 2009
While it is quite possible to construct two similar pyramids in two different ways, it seems that many archeologists clasify things by the method the object or structure was constructed. Here, the two civilizations built pyramids, but does that mean are related in some way? Moreover, Egyptian pyramids look quite different from Mayan pyramids. Perhaps if the two civilizations built pyramids using the same exact method then that would be some indicator of a potential relationship? ellen slim
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written by joannareef, August 24, 2009
Mayan people and civilization were the true geniuses of engineering and architecture. (with the aid of the Aliens though)smilies/grin.gif

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written by Jessy, August 24, 2009
ya Joannareef you are absolutely right... mayans are the ones who created modern day engineering and mainly shaped it.

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Difficult to tell if related
written by brumin, August 26, 2009
There are much more interesting things about pyramids. It is really dificult to say if they're related somehow (agyptian and mayan pyramyds) - they're different of course, but in the same time similar.

I've heard somewhere that people 3000 years before Christ or so didn't have concious mind developed (only unconcious). I believe there is some kind of unconcious channels where all ours minds are connected. And maybe pyramids and other things are connected becouse of this... We don't know MANY things!

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Anyone from there?
written by daveb8291, August 31, 2009
It would be really nice to hear from decedents or someone with deep history that can date back to those times. Maybe they can put more on the history channel or national geographics about this. Would be nice

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Aliens
written by Jst384, September 08, 2009
Sorry my friends, but aliens were NOT involved. smilies/smiley.gif


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I should add
written by Jst384, September 08, 2009
Although I should add, that doesn't mean I think they don't exist in the universe. They probably did, just weren't involved here.

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written by Thompson6111, September 13, 2009
What? No way were aliens involved.

http://www.thedogtrainingguide...aining.php
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written by links of london, October 12, 2009
"Unless I am wrong, we have a conclusion far more interesting and wonderful than that of connecting the builders of these cities with the architecture, sculpture and drawing, and beyond doubt in other more perishable arts...not derived from the Old World, but originating and growing up here, without models or masters, having a distinct, separate, independent existence: like the plants and fruits of the soul, indigenous"

i believe there r aliens somewhere..sometimes among human beings..


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written by Titan Poker, October 21, 2009
Howland has been run but the same incompetent trustees for decades. If you believe that Howland is as good as it can be, then you are either closed-minded, or clueless. You owe it to yourself to visit towns like Hudson, Solon, Dublin, Gahanna, Troy or even Canfield and Poland in our own backyard to see what aggressive and innovative township management is truly all about. Howland trustees are falling asleep at the wheel while communities like these aggresively secure the millions of grant dollars available at both the state and federal levels. The next time Howland Township sends representatives to petition for grants, who do you want representing our community? A class valedictorian who was also top in his law school class and just led our high school debate team to the state chamionship; along with Bill Griffin who is the number 2 sales manager for Comcast Cable in the entire USA. He is obviously most capable in a business environment, and obviously knows how to sell.
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Yes
written by bluehost host, October 23, 2009
Yes I do believe aliens were involved.
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written by liquid weight loss, November 02, 2009
The Mayan culture is great without a doubt. Look at their invention like the mayan calendar which is way to better than the one we are using right now. I think they built those pyramid without any help from the outside world.
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There cannot be a connection
written by Martha Jones, December 17, 2009
To be honest, I simply don’t see even a remote between the structure of the Egyptian pyramids and those of the Mayans. How can anyone possibly see a resemblance between them is unclear to me. smilies/wink.gif
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re:
written by Phen375, December 18, 2009
Seriously doubt that the pyramids have any connection with aliens, which is the simplest type of building. Manhattan might be another story... smilies/cool.gif

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The Mayan Civilization...
written by make money blogging, January 09, 2010
The Mayan people intrigue me greatly; MUCH more than the ancient Egyptians. Perhaps it's because there is so much that is NOT known about them.
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it's not the same
written by Alexis, February 02, 2010
Mayan pyramid is simply different from the Egyptian ones. So why people keep saying it is same? If they keep saying it is same, that will be same if we said between bbbmmm and crcrcr is same.
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written by car air purifier, March 23, 2010
Id love to build a sand castle like that!
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Laptops Wanted
written by porsche993997, April 11, 2010
Unlike Egyptian pyramids, Mesoamerican pyramids are typically step pyramids with a temple at the peak. Different Mesoamerican civilizations created a number of pyramids in various sites all over Mexico.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is the second tallest pyramid in the world and the largest in the New World, with a height of over 200 ft. Located in Puebla, the pyramid was made for Quetzalcoatl. A church, known as the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, lies on top of the pyramid.

The Aztecs, whose capital lay in Tenochtitlan, built the Great Pyramid. Also known as the Templo Mayor, the Great Pyramid was the chief temple of the Aztecs. The temple was decorated with shrines to their gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. The Great Pyramid can be found in Mexico City.
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Pyramids..the wonder
written by Stela by Biggest Loser, April 27, 2010
As we know creation of pyramid is the wonder and human is the only who dared to create this wonder.

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unrelated
written by Closet Organizer, August 27, 2010
I haven't studied it much but it just seems like a coincidence. Pyramids are one of the easiest shapes to build (as shown in the picture of kids on the beach).
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re
written by jlfarley, September 23, 2010
I think pyramid schemes should be legal. Let people spend their money the way the want to

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Agreed
written by Grilled Recipes, October 06, 2010
It is so true what you say, other than the part about aliens, that's a bit hard to believe. But all in all a interesting article.
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Pyramids
written by Compaq 610, October 09, 2010
What resemblance is there between the Mayans and Aztec pyramids? I just don't see it.
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written by Iron Man 2, November 16, 2010
I can't see it either. Good question.
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written by gazzettadellosport, January 05, 2011
I totally agree with Alexis,why the people they say that the 2 of them is the same?I thing they just act like ok so what,they dont actually think about it.
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