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Rated: E · Prose · History · #2254687
A trip to Chichen Itza spurs a lot of questions
They Had Help

Kathleen McNamara

As I stood in the shadow of El Castillo in Chicen Itza, I could not help but be impressed.
Awe struck actually. The scale of that monument was breathtaking. As we toured the site, we came to the Mayan Ball Court. A place of ritual and athleticism combined in a do or die scenario. Each of the monuments more imposing than the next. One of the monuments, El Caracol, The Observatory, was undergoing archeological work and was off limits that day. That did not stop the flow of questions running through my mind.

Putting aside the pictures we see today of some of the massive radio telescopes scanning our night skies, this monument to the Mayan prowess of the study of the stars looked like it could be one of the observatories in use today. You can find one today on Mt. Palomar in California or on Haleakala on the island of Maui. I was struck by the same thoughts and feeling as I stood in the shadows of Stonehenge or in the dark and quiet of the passage tomb of Newgrange. It only solidified my feelings that we humans are always looking to the stars for answers to our most basic questions: “are we alone in the universe and when will the gods return”?

After leaving some of my fanciful musings for another day, my mind turned to some present day questions. How did they manage to construct something to last through the centuries? What tips could they give to architects and engineers today? We can not build a car that can last more than four or five years. Present day buildings succumb to the weather and vagaries of Mother Nature. Built in obsolescence they like to call it. “ Baloney,” is my reply.

Standing in the shadows cast by the ancients, one can only feel insignificant as a human. Those buildings were designed that way. They were built to last. No matter how smart these peoples of old may have been, the one thing that has made me look at ancient history with new eyes, is the unshakeable feeling that they had help from beings a whole lot smarter than us.

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