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Temples Archives - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

April 24, 2019

The Origins and Spreading of Buddhism

At the Dallas Museum of Art today Dr. Monica L. Smith of UCLA gave a very good presentation about her studies associated with the origins of Buddhism, a religion/philosophy I’ve never really studied, and in her presentation, I was intrigued to find out how it spread throughout Southeast Asia over time and how it got localized as it moved from one country to another. As I thought about it, I began to wonder if this same practice hadn’t happened with the development of iconic ancient sites around the world, like the building of pyramids.

During the event, co-sponsored by the Archeological Institute of America, Dr. Smith showed photos of how Buddah, once people began drawing him or creating icons to show him, they adopted their own ethnocentric identity to him–he kept much of the same pose and aura, but his head gear, or eyes, or facial shape etc. modified to reflect a stereotypical representation of the country where he was being worshiped.

Ethnocentrism in the Pyramids?

Dr. Monica L. Smith of UCLA showing Changes in Budda By Nation

Which gets me back to wondering about the whole premise that started the Wonders Expedition to begin with.

Can’t the use of pyramids in different cultures, countries and even continents be looked at the same way?  I mean the Egyptian pyramids are built the way the Pharaohs preferred.  At Lower Jackson Mound in Epps, Louisiana, they didn’t have limestone so they simply used dirt.  The Maya built pyramids but changed the design to meet their style of architecture.  The Chinese, yes, there are pyramids in China, built theirs sort of like the Egyptians, but like Native Americans, they simply used dirt.  Temples in India largely are built in pyramidic form as well.

One of my good friends, a scholar, says that pyramids are “just a pile of rocks and anyone can build a pile of rocks!”  But to me, there still appears to be something more to them to me than just a pile of rocks.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think there was some cross-culture communication going on about the building of these incredible structures?

 

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Your Photo Galleries Are Welcomed!

We’ve added a photo gallery for inclusion on TheWondersExpedition.com and wanted to share with you the opportunity to post some of your visits to some cool sites on our pages.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

Image via Wikipedia

Do you have photos from:

Just to name a few?

If so, leave a comment and make sure you include your email address when you register.  We’ll be in touch shortly thereafter.  Would you like to offer a guest post on your adventure?  What was it like to be there? Do you have travel tips? The name of a great guide or tour service to use?  Where did you stay?  What were the smells and sounds like?

 

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Mayan King Pakal and His ‘Spacecraft’

I don’t know if you saw the season premier of Ancient Aliens Season 5 a week or so ago, but to his credit, Giorgio Tsoukalos had a guy from Lucas Films on displaying what appeared to be Mayan King Pakal in what Erich Von Daniken has long portrayed as a “spacecraft.”

The image is based on the sarcophagus cover of Pakal’s tomb in Palenque, Mexico and since the 1970s has been the red meat, smoking gun of the UFO fringe to support Ancient Astronaut Theories.  I even tweeted that night that Giorgio and the producers of Ancient Aliens deserved credit; the 3D model the Lucas Films designer made looked pretty darn cool–of course it did, he works for Lucas Films.

The problem is of course, it’s ridiculous when you place it in actual context to what’s on the cover of Pakal’s tomb.

The Ceiba Tree

The Ceiba Tree of South American origin is a pretty unique looking tree.  It also has been found in Southeast Asia, but it’s primary interest here is its use in Pre-Columbian MesoAmerican mythology where it was incorporated into beliefs associated with “The World Tree” and how it connected the heavens, the earth and the underworld all in one fell swoop.

Pakal's Sarcophagus

Just the root system of the tree is pretty amazing and curious.  But it’s branches tend to grow out  horizontally at 90 degree angles from the base of the trunk and in many an ancient drawing, etching, stone carving, sarcophagus cover, it’s pointing in the four cardinal directions of north, east, south and west.

Such is the case clearly depicted on Pakal’s tomb cover.

To the right, I’ve posted a colored drawing for your own assisted observations.

So what do we have here?  Well, in green, I’ve colored in what appears to be a rather large bird sitting atop the tree. In orange below is the actual Ceiba tree.  Notice the branches of the tree pointing out at 90 degree angles?

In red is clearly a two-headed snake, with a symmetrical head appearing on both end of the snake.

Apparently, this was a quite-often-featured type of snake and it usually signified the birth of some new form of something happening.

Moving on down is King Pakal, almost lying on his back.  It was this pose that Von Daniken made famous by showing similar photos of former US Astronaut John Glenn in a similar pose in a Mercury spacecraft of the 1960s.  By showing US Sen. Glenn as though he were in his Gemini spacecraft, Von Daniken was able to convince many a reader over the past four decades that surely Pakal must have been in a spacecraft, too, and that the Mayans were suggesting in this representation that their king was either an ancient alien or space traveler.  Indeed, in the Season 5 Ancient Aliens premier episode, Author David Childress proclaims Pakal as “The original rocket man.”

Good grief, Charlie Brown! And Snoopy could fight the Red Barron from atop his doghouse.

Below Pakal in the drawing to the right is the base of the Ceiba tree.  Von Daniken says the texture at the bottom of the tree is fire coming out of the engines of the spacecraft. The Lucas Film model maker actually put rocket cones on the model displayed in the TV show.

HOGWASH

It is just this sort of distortion that takes place in shows like Ancient Aliens that those none-the-wiser fall prey to.  Here at The Wonders Expedition, over the next few years, we are going to investigate hundreds of sites around the world and help the public by showing them nonsense like that depicted on Ancient Aliens is ridiculous and shameful.  It’s one thing to do things in a light-hearted manner in the guise of entertainment, but it’s also another to sit there in front of a camera like Childress, Daniken and Tsoukalos do and clearly misrepresent the truth.

Add this other thought, too: What ruler in present day society do you know, as well, who if they did have access to a spaceship, would be the one sitting at its controls?  Does President Obama fly Air Force One?  It’s just as nutty to think that King Pakal more than 1,000 years ago also would have been the one to fly an ancient spacecraft isn’t it?  I mean, seriously.  He was the king of his people. Wouldn’t an ancient ruler, if he had had access to such sophisticated travel also have been sophisticated enough to build in a space for him to ride as a passenger and not as the actual pilot?  Seriously?

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A Fact About Ancient Sites–The Power of Community and Common Purpose

Much has been written and said about the ancient sites that confound us today with their mysteries about their origins, purposes, and the techniques used to build them.

But one essential fact needs to be thought about–these sites were built with a lot of cooperation from what had to be population centers of significant size and united behind a common goal.

Great Wall of China near Jinshanling

Image via Wikipedia

The Pyramids once were said to have been built with slave labor.  Until recently, that seems to have been disproved and that there were actually commissioned craftsmen who built them.

Stonehenge in England took a lot of work to be built; just dragging the stones several hundred miles, let alone hoisting them into place.  So did Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and then there was the Great Wall of China.  Don’t forget about the pyramids in South America, the temples throughout Cambodia, Thailand and India, and the incredible mounds located in the United States such as Poverty Point and the Monk’s Mounds, at Cahokia, in Illinois.

The point is, each of these places took the cooperation, coordination and the combined labor of thousands of people–their local communities, with people giving up their time and effort in this thing we call life to build something bigger than themselves, that ultimately, has stood the test of time.

The question for discussion here is do we, in 2012, hold a candle to their levels of determination, grit and desire to see a project to completion?

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TWE Pinterest Site

We’ve been working on our photo collection of Wonders sites around the world and finally have launched a Pinterest page we are excited to share with you.

Already people are beginning to pin some of the curious points we’ve included, and literally, we are just get started.

English: Red Pinterest logo

Image via Wikipedia

But we can’t help but noticing the way that all these photos combined on one long scrolling screen just further points out the incredible similarities we’re trying to emphasize via The Wonders Expedition.  And to us, that makes what’s happening with Pinterest, pretty cool and amazing.

Do you have photos you’d like to add to our collection?  Send us the links and we’ll be happy to add them if they’re in the scope of TWE.

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