Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Peru

The Peruvian Stargate: “La Puerta de Hayu Marka”

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Yes, there it is, the Peruvian Stargate. It’s known as “La Puerta de Hayu Marka.” Or “The Gateway To The Gods”, “Aramu Muru”, and “The Doorway of the Amaru Meru.” I know, I said Bolivian Stargate in yesterday’s post. That was to throw off people who might be tempted to cheat and google it. (You know who you are.) I found out about it on the Ancient Aliens program. “La Puerta de Hayu Marka” was reportedly located in a remote area of Peru, and was only discovered by westerners in 1996. The local natives have all sorts of colourful stories about it, and the Ancient Alien theorists have even more colourful stories about it. There is a small depression in the centre of the doorway (which is about 5 feet high by the way) that reputedly was the place where a “key” was inserted to activate the doorway.

Well, I thought, this is curious. I began a search online to see what else I could find out about “La Puerta de Hayu Marka”, and well, pretty much nothing but the various Ancient Alien sites happily copying and pasting the exact same story a million times. I was a little surprised, I would have guessed that a new and mysterious carved structure in the mountains of Peru would have merited a least some archaeological interest, even if to just point out that it is a known Inca structure of no interest. Even the skeptic sites didn’t mention it, how could this be? Is it so mysterious that they can’t explain it and are even afraid to try? Queue Twilight Zone music.

Alas, after way too much time wading through various sites, I finally stumbled upon the truth. And was profoundly disappointed. In this case, a picture speaks a thousand words, here is another image of “La Puerta de Hayu Marka:”

OK, it’s not the best photograph, but the “stargate” is visible in the shadowed area at the lower right. Note the stunning remoteness of the location. That’s Lake Titicaca at the upper left. Not visible are the locals hanging around the site to sell trinkets to credulous westerners. Buying trinkets is optional, paying the local in the hard hat who will show up to collect “admission” is not. For more money one can even see locals perform some sort of magical rite. Just don’t listen too closely to what they are chanting, because it’s likely something along the lines of “More money from gringo suckers, ha ha ha.”

Sigh. In conclusion, there’s nothing remote about this gateway at all, the conquistadors no doubt saw it. The idea that westerners first saw it in the nineties doesn’t pass the laugh test. And it’s no wonder no archaeologist has paid much attention to it, it was no doubt picked clean and destroyed by looters before there even was a science of archaeology. (Grave robbing is the world’s second oldest profession.) In fact, I would bet the farm that this was a little known Inca ruin until some guy in the nineties noticed its superficial similarity to … drumroll… a certain prop in a certain science fiction show. And the rest is history, if made-up turista trap tripe from the nineties can really be called history.

I’m really pretty disgusted by this one. At least with the things like the Nuremberg UFO woodcut, there is at least some mystery. This is just a previously unremarkable Inca ruin dressed up with story for the modern UFO crowd, no more mysterious than the various “Mystery Spots” along roadsides in the USA. And this was hyped on the History Channel? For shame.

(Welcome new and old readers. I hope you enjoyed this post. As of January 2018 I have resumed regular blogging on my new Patreon version of Doug’s Darkworld. Science, history, current events, and posts about a certain president who can hardly go a day without inspiring a blog post.)

(The top image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is the best darn picture of the stargate I could find. Credit and copyright: Erin Irkun. The second picture is also claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit. Credit and copyright Darren Alff. The fine travelogue of his journey to the Peruvian Stargate, with many other photos, can be viewed here.)

The Mysterious Nazca Lines, both an Enduring Archeological Mystery, and an Inspiration for Crackpot Thinkers Everywhere

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I’m really having trouble finding ancient historical and earth mysteries to write about. So so so many of them turn out to be not so mysterious. The Coso Artifact, a million year old spark plug? Nope, a 1920s spark plug. The Kensington Stone, proof Vikings made it to Minnesota before Columbus? Nope, proof Scandinavian hoaxers were active in Minnesota in the nineteenth century. It’s depressing, especially when so many web sites repeat incredible and long refuted claims as if they were fact. Still, there is some wheat amid the chaff. And some of that wheat is the Nazca Lines. The lines are real, they were made by a pre-Columbian peoples, and they are mysterious.

OK, what are the Nazca Lines? Well, there’s this big dry desert in Peru. It’s covered with rocks. One scrapes away the rocks and exposes the white soil, and voila, a Nazca Line. And since it only rains a few minutes a year there, the lines have lasted over 1,000 years. They depict all sorts of things, plants, animals, geometric forms. Above is a dog or dog-like thing. The artists were clearly not striving for verisimilitude, the drawings tend to be very stylized. And for the record, there’s nothing mysterious about their construction, they were easily made by modest numbers of people using the simplest of tools. Nor is there anything unexplained about what the lines depict, there are no dinosaurs, aliens, or high technology depicted.

What is mysterious is why they were made. The people making them couldn’t fly so they had no way of “seeing” they animals and such they were drawing. Were they drawing meant to be seen by Gods? That’s about the best anyone has come up with so far. And the attendant idea that there may have been rituals involved. In other words, they were big outdoor churches or something along those lines. Works for me. At least one archaeologist has claimed the lines functioned as some sort of observatory. Few if any experts in archeoastronomy agree, so that idea didn’t get off the ground so to speak. After that the ideas get a lot fringier a lot faster. Yes, Von Däniken popularized the idea that UFOs had something to do with the Nazca lines. Since there’s no evidence for this, and no mysteries about how the lines were constructed, I think we can safely rule UFOs out.

It’s also been suggested that the Nazca had hot air balloons, and thus could see the lines from the sky as they were supposed to be seen. On the one hand, the Nazca people did have fabrics that would have been suitable for making balloons. And it’s not exactly rocket science to build a hot air balloon. However, the complete absence of anything even remotely resembling a balloon depicted anywhere in South America’s archaeological record makes that idea pretty hard to swallow. Not impossible, but until we find a rock carving of a balloon or one preserved in a  tomb or some such, I think the balloon idea  can safely be ruled out.

Finally, the question remains, why go through all that trouble? I mean, these figures and lines cover a huge area, tens of square miles. Did people really need to go through all that trouble for ritual purposes? Well, they thought so. Here I can only point to the fact that it’s not unusual in many ancient cultures for there to have been huge construction projects with little or no practical purpose behind them. And it’s not hard from there to conclude that the real purpose was to keep the unwashed masses busy so they didn’t have time to sit around and wonder why the priests and leaders got all the good stuff while the peasants laboured. Granted, this may not have been the conscious plan, the priests may have actually believed that they were guaranteeing that the crops would grow and the Sun would rise by having these figures and lines etched into the land.

Can people really be that illogical? Yes, yes they can. For example, tens of millions of Americans, a modern people with a modern educational system (or so we are told,) literally believe that the Earth is just 7,000 years old and that people and dinosaurs co-existed. And they believe this because it says so in the Bible., despite the overwhelming incontrovertible evidence that it just aint so. In other words it’s perfectly normal for huge segments of even “modern” cultures to believe in superstitious nonsense, so there’s no reason to get too worked up if it appears to be what happened in some ancient culture. It follows then  that superstition is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the Nazca lines, even if we don’t know the exact details of their beliefs.

My theory, after seeing the dog above, is that the Nazca were trying to make God laugh.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it is central to illustrating the post, and the original artist has been dead for over 1,000 years. I apologize for not getting a post out Monday, I was delayed on a business trip. Coming next, maybe some nice history posts as I munch popcorn and wait for the fireworks to begin in Iran.)

Written by unitedcats

July 13, 2010 at 6:44 am

Ica Stones Revisited

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Due to popular demand, here is a more comprehensive post on the Ica Stones, the one I mentioned briefly in a prior post.  And I can say right off the bat, I can’t prove that all of the Ica stones are a hoax. And I’m not even going to try. In fact with artifacts like this it’s up to the proponents of the “Ica stones are genuine” theory to prove their case. Nonetheless I can discuss any number of things about the stones, I’ve given them a  bit of thought now and looked into what is available on line about them.  And, frankly, I’m still pretty skeptical. Here is my thinking.

As I mentioned in the prior post, the first stumbling block is provenance. This is a major stumbling block, and in fact is an illustration of my “Number one rule of hoax detection.” To whit, if the key piece of evidence that would prove or disprove an artifact or photograph is real is missing, it’s probably a  fake. The classic is old film photographs of UFOs/Bigfoot/Nessie etc where “the negative got lost.” Convenient at the very least, since without a negative to example, a film photograph is largely useless as evidence. And with the Ica stones, until the location where they were found is revealed, the stones themselves have very limited evidentiary value.

And an obvious question here is, why the secrecy? If the site where these stones were found is real, it would be a profoundly important archaeological site. The money generated by curious and scientific tourists would be a gold mine locally and nationally. Yet the Peruvian government and the locals are apparently happy having the stones labelled as  a hoax instead of cashing in on the big money?

Then as I mentioned before, we have the dinosaur depictions on the stones:

Um, these are classic media depictions of popular dinosaurs from the era the stones were likely carved, the nineteen sixties. Dinosaurs that didn’t live in South America, are separated my vast eons of time, and inaccurately portrayed in many details. Though they do faithfully portray what one would see in depictions of dinosaurs in comic books and magazines. Dinosaurs that actually lived in south America? They appear to be conspicuously absent from the Ica Stones.

Another thing that’s conspicuously absent is writing. Thousands of stones with crude drawings on them, but not a single line of text or math? They supposedly portray an advanced civilization, but one without a written language? Of course any sort of text would be easy meat for scholars to examine and prove or disprove the stone’s authenticity. Again, this isn’t proof of anything, but it’s another convenient omission.

Then there’s the similarity to some of the Nazca line drawings. Since images of the Nazca lines were commonly available in the nineteen sixties, I don’t see how they can be cited as proof of anything one way or the other. And there are no depictions of dinosaurs in the Nazca lines, nor have any Ica type stones been found in Nazca archaeological sites. In fact the only record and source we have for the Ica stones is the mysterious cave. A cave that archaeologists have begged to be allowed to see, and even offered to be blindfolded to and fro  so they can’t reveal its location. No dice. Yes, old records do speak of “carved stones” being found by the early Spanish explorers. Not only have none of these survived, we don’t even have a description of any of them, so that’s no help.

It should also be mentioned that these stones are apparently the only surviving relic of this putative advanced civilization. No ruins, other artifacts, anything. All they left us was a whole pile of not terribly illuminating amateurishly engraved stones. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to say that far and away the simplest explanation is the stones were carved by a farmer and his wife because a gullible doctor would buy them in any quantity they could come up with. As the farmer said when interviewed about how he made the stones (he used a dental drill,) it was a lot easier than farming for a  living. It was a lot more fun too I bet.

So there’s no “smoking gun” that proves the Ica Stones are fake. There are however a whole bunch of reasons to doubt that these are anything other than fakes. And a whole lot of assumptions have to be made to explain away the problems I mentioned above. Maybe someday the secret cave will be revealed, or obvious Ica Stones with dinosaur and other anachronistic drawings will be discovered in a controlled archaeological site. Until then, the idea that the Ica Stones prove anything, let alone prove that dinosaurs coexisted with humans or that there is a lost advanced civilization in Peru, doesn’t hold much weight in my book.

I would be glad to be proved wrong, but I read a lot of pro Ica Stone web sites and was underwhelmed by the arguments presented there.

(The above stegosaurus image is reproduced legally: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following licenses:

GNU head Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License“.

The second image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. If it is an ancient carving, then the copyright is long expired. If it’s not, well, if anyone knows who to attribute it to, I will gladly do so. Note the stegosaurus above is not dragging its tail. No dinosaurs dragged their tails. I rest my case.)

Written by unitedcats

July 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Posted in History, Paranormal

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