Ancient Aliens s04e01 Episode Script

The Mayan Conspiracy

Ancient monuments axis every 26,000 years.
Did the Maya of Central America really create one of the most advanced civilizations of ancient times? Or did their intelligence originate from somewhere else, perhaps out of this world? They didn't have electricity.
But what they did have is advanced mythology, advanced language and advanced religious culture.
They understood astronomy to an incredible degree, more so than any societies at the time.
The Mayans were absolutely convinced that timing was crucial because the gods were going to come back.
Lord Pakal's sarcophagus was his spaceship.
He's the original rocket man.
Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings.
What if it were true? Did ancient aliens really help to shape our history? And if so, did they plot the success and demise of the ancient Maya civilization? Southern Mexico.
Surrounded by dense forests in the foothills of the Tumbala Mountains lie the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Palenque.
Established as early as 1800 BC, Palenque was one of the key population centers of the ancient Maya civilization that dominated present-day Central America for nearly 2,000 years.
Without metal tools, the wheel or pack animals, the Maya built cities like Palenque across a vast region with incredible architectural precision.
Maya world that mention four cities in association with four directions.
Palenque is recognized in these texts as the Western capital of the Maya world.
The southern one was Copan, the eastern one was Tikal, and the northernmost one was Calakmul.
Jungles have really thin topsoil, and for them to be able to support a huge population, which is 20 or 30 times what the population is in that area today, is amazing.
Regarded by scholars as one of the most sophisticated and complex civilizations in the ancient world, Maya triumphs included numerous scientific achievements in agriculture, engineering and astronomy.
They didn't have a lot of things that we think of as the hallmarks of advancement, but what they did have is advanced mythology, advanced language and advanced religious culture.
The site of Palenque is still a vast unexcavated site.
They think that only ten percent of this city has so far been excavated by archaeologists.
The aqueduct system here at Palenque was very sophisticated, and the Mayans were actually able to have water pressure by siphoning water channels off of the main river.
All the Mayan cities had ball courts in them where they'd play this celestial game where the players would knock a rubber ball through a stone or wooden hoop.
It's thought that this is a representation of alignments of the sun.
When you start looking at all the various cultures, whether it is the ancient Babylonians, the ancient Egyptians or the Mayans, we now know that the people who were by far the most advanced was the Mayans.
According to mainstream historians, by the ninth century, the great Maya cities were abandoned, and the Maya people had vanished.
But why? Many blame the disappearance of the Maya on war, overpopulation and drought.
But might the Maya have left behind clues to suggest that their origin and destiny had been plotted by otherworldly forces? Archaeologist Alberto Lhuillier discovers the Pyramid Tomb of King Pakal who ruled over the ancient Mayan city of Palenque from 615 to 683.
During his nearly 70-year reign, Pakal transformed Palenque, creating some of the most significant inscriptions and monuments of the ancient Maya civilization.
The city of Palenque was sacked by the ruler of Calakmul.
So this was really tragic for the city itself.
And it sets the stage for Hanab Pakal himself, who becomes king at a very early age, and then takes this city that's been destroyed, and now brings it up to what becomes one of the most important cities of the late classic period.
This is the famous Temple of the Inscriptions behind me, perhaps the most famous pyramid in all of the Mayan world.
It was in 1948 that the French Mexican archeologist, Alberto Lhuillier began his excavations at the top of the Temple of Inscriptions.
What he found there was the famous staircase leading down into the depths of the pyramid.
But the staircase was completely filled in with rubble of small stones and dirt.
It took him four years to slowly excavate, step by step, down the pyramid, until he finally came to the tomb of Lord Pakal and the giant sarcophagus and lid that the pyramid were built around.
Arguably the most remarkable Mayan artifact ever found the stone Sarcophagus Lid of King Pakal has produced considerable controversy.
Mainstream scholars believe the depiction is of King Pakal on a journey to the underworld.
But ancient astronaut theorists believe the king is portrayed seated at the controls of a spacecraft, and have dubbed him "the Palenque astronaut.
" He appears to be going into space.
He's the original rocket man there manipulating his spacecraft, going into space.
We have maintained for a very long time that the depiction here is of King Pakal sitting in some type of a spacecraft, because he is at an angle, like modern-day astronauts upon liftoff.
He's manipulating some controls right here.
He has some type of breathing apparatus or some type of a telescope in front of his face.
His feet are on some type of a pedal, and down here, you have something that looks like an exhaust with flames.
In 2011 the strange carving on King Pakal's sarcophagus lid was translated into a 3-D replica by model maker Paul Francis.
When I saw this, I instantly said, "There's a guy in a space capsule.
" You know, it doesn't need to be spelled out for me, I don't have to find anything.
It was already there.
It was carved many, many years ago.
I think this is absolutely extraordinary because this is definitely one of the most compelling pieces in the ancient astronaut theory, and to finally see Pakal as a 3-D sculpture, to me, is a dream come true.
For the longest time we have said that what is on this Pakal lid is not something symbolic.
It was something that the artist saw or was told about, and then he or she tried to recreate this on a slab.
I love the craftsmanship.
I love how you, you know, at the bottom of the Palenque slab, you - see something like the flames - It looks like, it looks like fire, and Exactly.
I had to do a little interpretive.
- I put engine bells on instead of the flame.
- Of course.
But that's the thruster stage.
I also love the detail that you have underneath his right foot where his foot is resting on a pedestal, and that is exactly what we can see on the Palenque slab.
And how his hands are manipulating some controls, and also this kind of breathing apparatus that's going on in front of his nose.
The breathing apparatus is actually a very neat piece.
It's called the giver of life.
The soul transfers through this, and a giver of life to me would be air.
I mean, we breathe air.
This is a guy who needs this mask to survive.
Because where is he? Outer space.
Could the carving on the sarcophagus lid of King Pakal really provide confirmation of the complicity between Maya rulers and extraterrestrial forces, as ancient astronaut theorists believe? Perhaps further evidence can be found etched in stone throughout Mesoamerica.
The Palace of Palenque.
Discovered in the late 18th century by Spanish explorers, this royal compound is the largest and most complex of those found in the ancient city.
Researchers believe a four-story tower in the middle of the palace was built so Mayan kings and priests could observe the celestial movement of the sun and stars.
This is the main palace here at Palenque, and one of the unusual features is its observatory, a huge tower to watch the stars.
Also throughout the palace are these unusual T-shaped windows and they've baffled archaeologists for centuries.
It's thought that perhaps they represent the wind god, but it's also possible that these T-shaped windows are pointing to the sky.
What was it that the rulers of Palenque were looking for? The tower at the Palace of Palenque is just one of many celestial observatories built throughout the ancient Maya territories.
Their practical system of astronomy was an observational one, and so the design and construction of a lot of buildings was intended to, to create these sight lines, to create these vantages for observation to see and mark important astronomical events.
We see that temples were aligned to specific moments in time, and the equinoxes and the solstices are the most important moments in time, so wherever we look, we see how this knowledge of astronomy is incorporated into these monuments.
Plazas were great places where people stood and paid reverence to particular times of the year.
These were places that were aligned from time immemorial hundreds and hundreds of years to make these specific observations.
But what or perhaps who were the Maya looking for in the sky? According to ancient astronaut theorists, the answer can be found carved in stone.
In Quiriguá, Guatemala, there is a national park featuring zoo morphs.
Zoo morphs are these giant boulders that were carved into different shapes.
Some of them depict crocodiles, some of them depict turtles.
But at the same time, the carvings are very reminiscent of something technological in nature.
In fact, there is one boulder that we can see where this guy is essentially sitting inside some type of cockpit.
Is it possible that this is nothing else but an artist's rendering of something that they didn't understand because their technological frame of reference was less advanced than our technological frame of reference we have today? In the present-day Mexican state of Tabasco, near the Gulf of Mexico, lie the ruins of a ceremonial center called La Venta.
Here in 1862, oil riggers discovered four very large stone heads in the Olmec area of Mesoamerica.
Since then, archaeologists have unearthed 13 more similar sculptures that were carved as early as 850 BC.
Known as the colossal heads, scholars believe they depict the Olmecs an ancient civilization that many consider to be the ancestors of the Maya.
One of the most striking aspects of Olmec art and archeology are these colossal head sculptures, and one of the hypotheses that's been put out to explain these is that they were portraits of important rulers, kings, shamans, important people in their society.
But ancient astronaut theorists contend the mysterious stone statues are proof of extraterrestrial intervention in the distant past.
Huge stone heads were found in the Olmec area, which were beautifully made but then ritually buried.
One asks, what is that? Are these heads of rulers or priests, or were they maybe aliens that they wanted to portray because they had unusual facial features? These guys are often wearing strange helmets, and they look to be foreigners.
They appear to be from Africa and the Middle East and other areas like that.
So what are they doing here in Central America? You have this curious mix of different racial groups.
Are they coming with the sky gods? Perhaps they, too, are the alien ETs.
There is one statue that we can find that clearly shows an Olmec wearing some type of a flight suit.
To me, this depicts nothing else but someone from Africa having visited Central America in a type of a flight suit and with some type of craft.
You've got the legs here like in a modern-day astronaut suit, and there's also some type of a life support pack that's on his chest.
There are six wings and the head is clearly enclosed by a skullcap similar to modern-day astronauts.
So what we have here, in my opinion, is nothing else but depictions of physical extraterrestrial encounters hundreds and yes, even thousands of years ago.
There is considerable evidence linking the Mayans and the Olmecs to extraterrestrial beings.
You have it in La Venta, many of the Olmecs wearing curious masks.
Also at Tikal, they're wearing what look like space masks with respirators.
You've got also flying beings who are hovering above certain objects and things like that in the Mayan world.
These are the birdmen, the people who can fly.
But do the stone sculptures really provide proof that the Maya had early contact with star travelers, as ancient astronaut theorists contend? And might further evidence reveal a shocking truth, that some ancient Maya rulers were themselves of otherworldly origin? Central America.
Here, in western Honduras, lie the impressive ruins of the ancient Maya city of Copan.
And though Copan's temples, pyramids and monuments rank among the most important of any Mayan sites, researchers looking to explain the incredible achievements of the Maya have been drawn to a 72-step structure known as the Hieroglyphic Stairway.
The Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copan was constructed in the early 700s AD, with the intent of writing out the history of Copan at that time.
And so it was designed as a public monument to the glory and success of all the kings, from Yax K'uk Mo', all the way to the it to be built.
Carved into 1,200 stones in the massive monument, the ancient Maya symbols, known as glyphs, make up what historians believe is one of the oldest and most sophisticated systems of writing.
But for centuries, the glyphs found throughout Mesoamerica were undecipherable.
Then, in 1880, German librarian and anthropologist Ernst Forstemann cracked the code.
Ernst Forstemann was a librarian at Dresden.
And in his desk he kept one of the four Maya books, the Dresden Codex.
He was a brilliant mathematician and extremely logical and had enormous insights.
And at a time when we couldn't read a single Maya hieroglyph, he was able to figure out the Maya calligraphy.
Maya hieroglyphic writing is very robust, and that's because it uses really two components.
There are logo graphs.
Logo graphs are really pictures that represent entire words.
So "Balaam," for example, which is "jaguar," could be written with just the head of a jaguar.
On the other hand, we have these things that we call phonetic complements.
And these are glyphs they're images that represent sounds.
According to interpretations of the Hieroglyphic Stairway, the glyphs chronicle not only the history but also the origin of the ancient Maya rulers.
The hieroglyphs are really attached to what was important to royalty at the time, and that was lineage and the genealogies of the kings.
They went out of their way to demonstrate how they were connected to their ancestors and the gods of their ancestors, to establish their right to rule.
This is a picture I took of the, of a close-up of a sculpture of Uaxac Lahun Ubac C'awil, the 13th ruler of Copan.
And he's depicted here on the front, in all of his finery.
And then the sculptor put a hieroglyphic passage on the side.
We don't think commoners could read, but all the elites could and the king could.
So, he or another elite individual could come here and impress people by saying this demonstrates the semi-divinity of our king and his power to intercede between us and the heavens.
But just what was the real source of power and authority behind the Maya priests and kings? Do the hieroglyphs reveal an otherworldly truth to their origin, as the Maya themselves maintain? Ancient astronaut theorists believe the answer is yes.
What we have to think about today is, where did the origin of the priesthood come from? And the origin is nothing else but that they the initial cabal of priests they were all in contact with extraterrestrials, and that's why they were revered.
Our ancestors thought they were gods because they didn't understand the nuts-and-bolts aspects behind those visits.
But when it all comes down to it, it was all a huge misunderstanding and a way to keep the common people in place.
In the beginning, the first ruler were gods real descendants from the sky, extraterrestrials.
But later, the priests and the rulers took the names of their ancestors' god.
So they made a secret and a kind of conspiracy around them, because the normal people should give them offerings, should give them gold, metal, all kinds of gifts, etc.
, as they did some centuries before for the real gods.
So it was a kind of conspiracy among the priests and among the kings.
Mayan hieroglyphs specifically say that the Mayans were absolutely convinced about the existence of otherworldly beings, and that they actually believed that these beings manifested themselves regularly at preordained moments of time.
Perhaps further evidence of the Mayan belief in the existence of extraterrestrial beings may be found in their daily rituals of human sacrifice.
Scholars believe that blood offerings were seen as an act of devotion to the Maya rulers, who were assumed to be descendants of the gods.
We know that the Maya practiced blood sacrifice, because they were still doing it when the Spanish came.
We have images on wall paintings, on vases and in sculptures that show people letting their own blood and sacrificing other people.
The Mayans had a complex pantheon, which involved gods from the sky, and the rulers were supposed to be descendants of these gods.
And they believed that these gods demanded sacrifices of them, and that their blood, the blood of their kings, was the ideal sacrifice for the gods.
Later, the Mayans began to take captives, particularly other royal captives, and execute them, using their blood as the gift to the gods.
The ancient Maya were particularly worried that jaguar gods had come to Earth from somewhere else and had instructed them, and in return they had to make sacrifices to the jaguar gods.
In particular, heart sacrifices.
We see hundreds, if not thousands, of people being dragged up the pyramids and really sacrificed.
Definitely there is this absolute belief that the Mayans needed the intervention of the gods, and they believed that somehow sacrificing human beings was gonna bring back the gods.
It's very possible that this civilization, as cultured as they seem to have been, were also pretty barbaric.
And this could have been their way of trying to offer the gods something.
Blood sacrifice was nothing else but an act of desperation to bring about the return of the extraterrestrials, because one thing is crystal In every single ancient culture, there is a promise of a return in the future of those gods.
Blood sacrifice was something that we humans did ourselves because we didn't understand that what we dealt with was nothing else but flesh and blood space travelers instead of real or actual gods.
But why did the Maya believe they were connected to the gods by blood? Might there have been evidence within their DNA that could link the lineage of Maya kings to otherworldly beings, as ancient astronaut theorists believe? And if so, is it possible that otherworldly visitors may have stayed behind and assumed the role of Maya kings? Perhaps the answer can be found, not by examining the ancient remains of the Maya, but by studying their creation myths.
Chicago, Illinois.
Housed here, in the Newberry Library, is the Mayan manuscript known as the Popol Vuh.
Literally translated as "the book of the people," it is a collection of Maya oral histories passed on through the ages.
Written in the mid-16th century, this incredible book encompasses a range of subjects including those involving Mayan creation myths.
The Popol Vuh talks about the creation of the universe.
It talks about the fact that in the beginning all was darkness.
There was a primordial sea.
And then these creators, male and female, spoke the word, and with the word, the Earth was created and animals were created.
It's sort of like the combination of the book of Genesis and the book of Chronicles in the Bible.
It's a story of battles between the gods, and then it connects the creation of the world with the present day through the kings of the K'iche.
It's really the only complete Maya creation myth that we have.
What they were saying was that a framework was created that certain deities manifested themselves physically and made decisions as to what was going to happen.
In the case of the Mayans, this was a choice as to where the Mayans were going to live, as well as the selection of certain sacred sites.
Throughout the ancient world, there have been numerous similar myths of otherworldly beings coming to Earth and interacting with some of the earliest humans.
Most mainstream historians believe these stories represent only religious and spiritual beliefs.
But is it possible, as ancient astronaut theorists believe, that the Popol Vuh, as well as other ancient creation tales, represents actual evidence of contact with extraterrestrials in the distant past? According to the translations of hieroglyphs found at numerous ancient Mayan cities, Kukulkan, or the great feathered serpent, was the god who brought knowledge to the Maya.
When we talk about the Mayan gods, we know that the most important god to them was the plumed serpent, or Kukulkan.
We see his image all across the Mayan world.
We see it on great carved images on stone.
Kukulkan is often depicted as a plumed serpent, some would say a dragon or a snake with wings.
That leads some to believe that Kukulkan may have descended from the sky.
Now, the Maya were living in the jungle.
The Maya knew that the snake could not fly, but this snake, this serpent, could fly.
The oldest Maya histories tell that Kukulkan was the teacher of young Maya.
He had chosen eight boys in the age between seven and 12, and he'd teach these eight boys in mathematics, in astronomy, in all kind of science.
And later, Kukulkan disappeared with the promise that he will return in the faraway future.
These boys had become the first priests and the first teachers again for the Maya.
Some of the legends state that he appeared along the Gulf Coast on a raft of serpents, and he spread his high knowledge through that part of the country.
Even today in some of the Mayan cultures, he's revered as this great god that brought all these teachings and civilization to their part of the world.
And yet, no one knows who he was or where he came from.
Strangely, depictions of a winged serpent god can be found all around the ancient world.
In India, the epic text of the Mahabharata details the ancient account of sky beings known as Nagas.
Dating as far back as 2500 BC, the half-human and half-serpent entities look nearly identical to the Mayan Kukulkan.
And ancient Chinese mythology from the fifth millennium BC describe flying dragons that are eerily similar to the serpent god depicted in Mesoamerica.
To the peoples that preceded the Inca in Peru, similar ideas were put upon characters like Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, who was this wisdom bringer, sometimes said to have come down from the sky world.
And once again, bringing the rudiments of civilization to the peoples of Central America.
There is a common thread among many ancient cultures of the Americas when it comes to plumed serpent god.
The Cherokee, for example, believe that time their calendar is based upon a rattlesnake that they can see in the night sky, perhaps a constellation.
So, the idea of a serpent or a snake or a dragon is common among many ancient cultures, and not just the Maya or the Mesoamericans.
The snake is the giver of wisdom in so many cultures, and it gives the tools of civilization working with metals, working with other instruments, certain knowledge, certain aspects of life and that it really gives this knowledge to certain people, and that he places these people in a position whereby, from their social position, they're able to give this to the rest of their culture.
All these cultures were far apart from each other, sometimes by thousands and thousands of miles.
So, how is it possible that all these societies came up with not similar, but identical stories? Was it really flying snakes or gods that were snakes? Of course not.
It was misunderstood technology.
Some types of vehicles were witnessed that descended from the sky out of which people came astronauts that instructed people of different cultures in different societies in certain scientific disciplines.
This is not coincidence.
This is evidence for ancient alien encounters in the remote past.
There is no other way.
Can the ancient creation myths and legends of flying serpent gods really be interpreted as factual accounts of extraterrestrial visitors, as ancient astronaut theorists contend? And if so, might such celestial travelers have given the Maya both the tools and the knowledge to help advance their civilization? Perhaps further evidence can be found by looking at the Mayans' very profound connection to the stars.
In the Mexican state of the Yucatan lie the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza.
Here, in the tenth century, the Maya built what has become known as the El Caracol observatory.
It has four doors on the bottom that can be used as observation points, and had a number of windows up on top, but most of those have fallen.
We only have two and a half of those left.
But looking at those, we can see that they're definitely looking at the sun, probably at the moon.
There are hints that they could have been using them for stars and planets.
They were tracking in particular Venus, the phases of the moon, eclipses.
We know that because we have books that record these things.
Most researchers agree that from 250 to 900 AD, the Mayans were the most advanced astronomers of their time.
But why were they observing the cosmos so intently? And what might they have been looking for? The Maya were very sophisticated in terms of what they watched in the heavens and in the calendars that they kept track of.
The ability to understand that Venus as morning star and Venus as evening star are the same star was very rarely done in the history of humankind.
They were oftentimes seen as two different entities.
The idea that they could predict the cycles of the heavens reflects their sophistication.
The Maya were one of the only ancient people that invented a mathematical system that we use, which is called place value and zero.
And using place value and zero allows you to make enormous calculations, numbers that are very, very large.
They could probably calculate things thousands of years into the past.
Did the Maya develop such mastery of astronomy and mathematics on their own? Or is it possible, as ancient astronaut theorists believe, that the elite rulers of the Maya had received help from star travelers? The Maya, for example, had the knowledge of the planet Venus surrounding our solar system in such a precise way that within 6,000 years, the difference was a few hours.
Now, the Mayas itself did not live for 6,000 years.
So they had no time 6,000 years to observe if their calculation concerning the Venus rotation is correct or not, because they had their information from their gods.
The Mayans could not possibly have developed these systems on their own because it would take thousands, some of them tens of thousands of years of observation.
So it is clear that they were given to them by aliens out there who have made contact with the Mayan people.
Perhaps the most intriguing astronomical accomplishment of the Maya concerns their understanding of the slow change in the Earth's rotational axis in space.
Called precession, it's a process that takes more than But how could the Maya have tracked events over such an extreme time span? Is it possible that, like modern scientists, the Maya had been using knowledge of the Earth's movement in space to track time? And if so, for what purpose? The Maya developed these timekeeping skills by monitoring the movements and predicting the movements of not just the sun, but the moon, Venus, in some cases Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and some of the constellations.
Though most people consider the Egyptians as the ultimate pyramid builders, ten times as many pyramids were constructed in Mesoamerica than in Egypt.
But why did the Maya build so many of their monumental structures in absolute precise alignment with solar, lunar and stellar events? Well, it seems as if they were paranoid that if they did not do this, something bad would happen.
They were on the fifth epoch, and each of these earlier epochs they believed had ended in catastrophe.
And it seemed as if they had to synchronize their rituals, their events, their games, their activities with these specific celestial events, because if they didn't, something bad would happen, and the epoch would end prematurely.
The Mayans were absolutely convinced that timing was crucial, because the stars were revealing when the gods were going to come back, and obviously, that meant the gods were coming from the stars.
But where, or from whom, did the ancient Maya learn to accurately track time by tracing the celestial movements of our solar system and the universe beyond? Could the ancient Maya have actually conspired with extraterrestrial visitors to plan not only the future, and even the very end of our world? Perhaps a further examination of the infamous Mayan calendar and its so-called doomsday prophecy is required.
There are several legends in the Mayan world which suggest that this end date of the Mayan calendar in December, The Popol Vuh discusses it as a possible destruction of the planet.
The Tortuguero Monument, which is a site near Palenque it's the only inscription in stone that mentions the 2012 end date of the calendar.
And that talks about nine gods descending to Earth.
But no one really knows exactly what that means.
Some people suggest that may cause a cataclysm.
Others suggest it may be a whole dawn of a new age where we actually move into a more conscious way of life.
If the truth is that the Mayans were in contact with extraterrestrial beings, and now their calendar is ending on December 21, 2012, this might be the return of the gods themselves, of the extraterrestrials coming back to Earth to the Mayans, as they promised.
Given the sophistication of the Mayan calendar, is it really possible that the Maya could have accurately predicted the exact date of some sort of Earth-changing event? Might such an event usher in a new era of human enlightenment? Or might it mark the end of mankind in the form of a cataclysmic doomsday? Perhaps only time will tell.

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