Skeptics in for the attack on von Daniken

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a) Ronald Story wrote a book "The Space God's Revealed" coming in for the the attack on von Daniken's claims. He was not happy that Von Daniken argues that if this example from his chain of proofs is not accepted by scholars, then these scholars integrity should be doubted, and that a genuinely unprejudiced look at the picture would make even more die-hard skeptics stop and things. While the actual relief would have been very interesting indeed, the picture seen in in the book , while interesting was not very clear. Actually, rather than the god Kukulcan, the human depicted in the picture was Pakal Votan a Mayan ruler, and this person had been buried 683AD

b) On top of the rocket is a bird, Ronald Story believes that if children could recognise the carving as being of a rocket, then the child would identify the hood ornament as a giant bird resembling a rooster, and that this bird was Quetzel, the national bird of Guatamala. Such a big would have caused problems aerodynamically if it were a part of the ship. For Ronald Story, the spacecraft is rather small with few outer protections for the rider, and there was the fact that the astronaut has his head protruding outside the rocket. The figure was barefoot and without gloves, with both fingernails and toenails seen, and has a complicated helmet that does not cover his face. Except for a breachcloth and typical Mayan jade anklets, bracelet and necklace and 'helmet' on his head our astronaut is naked. In other words, he is a typically costumed upper-class Mayan of around A.D. 700 as pictured in other Mayan carvings and painting.

c) In the documentary TV "The Case of the Ancient Astronauts", Ian Graham of Harvard University was brought along to the tomb itself to explain the features of the tomb lid in terms of traditional archeologist views, explaining how the features that look as if they are the sides and bottom of the vessel were the jaws of two stylised serpents, and the tomblid was a mere mortuary slab showing the deceased in his passage towards the Mayan version of heaven (See: Mayan Rocket Man segment from "The case of Ancient Astronauts" for details)

d) Zechariah Sitchen talked about the enigma in his book The Lost Realms. But while he was able to see what was to be seen in the image, what Von Daniken was saying about it and how he was being ridiculed by Archeologists and other scholars, he could not claim to have a viewpoint about it.

Quote sources
  1. Ronald Story:"The personage in this Mayan stone carving from Palenque, Mexico has achieved an unexpected fame at the hands of von Däniken's description of the rocket-driving god Kukulkan is convincing in itself."
  2. Erich von Däniken:"There sits a human being, with his upper part of his body bent forward like a racing a motorcyclist today any child would identify his vehicle as a rocket.  It is pointed at the front, then changes to strangely grooved indentations like inlet ports, widens out and terminates at the tail in a darting flame. The crouching being himself is manipulating a number of undefinable controls controls and has the heel of his left foot on a kind of a pedal. His clothing is appropriate: short trousers with a broad belt,  a jacket with the modern Japanese opening at the neck and closely fitting bands at arms and legs. With our knowledge of similar pictures we should be surprised if the complicated headgear were missing.And there it is with the usual indentation and tubes and something like antennae on top.  Our space traveler - he is clearly depicted as one - is not only bent forwards tensely; he is also looking intently at an apparatus hanging in front of his face. The astronauts front seat is separated by struts from the rear portion of the vehicle, in which symmetrically arranged boxes circles, points and spirals can be seen (Chariots of the Gods (1968) (Space Gods revealed.1976))
  3. Ronald Story: Von Däniken argues that if this example from his 'chain of proofs' is not accepted by scholars, we must doubt their integrity. 'A genuinely unprejudiced look at this picture, ' he tells us, 'would make even more die-hard skeptics stop and think." That much may be true but the illustration of the Palenque carving is Von Daniken's book is small and not easy to see clearly in detail. Moreover, certain details of the drawing have been blacked out. (Space Gods revealed.1976)
  4.  Ronald Story:The original relief comes from the tomb at the ancient Mayan ceremonial center Palanque, Chiapas, Mexico (It was found in 1952 kn 1935, as Von Däniken reports) It is carved on the lid of a sarcophagus buried under a large pyramid. The date of the burial (A.D. 683) can be determined by the accompanying Mayan glyphs. (Space Gods revealed.1976))
  5. Ronald Story: Several of Von Däniken's points about the relief can be re-examined with clearer illustrations. The 'rocket' is pointed at the end, but there is something perched on top of it.  If a child could identify the carving as a rocket, he could certainly identify the 'hood ornament' as giant bird resembling a rooster! (Actually this is Quetzal, national bird  of Guatamala.)Aerodynamically, the roosters-style ornament might have caused problems.(Space Gods revealed.1976)
  6. Ronald Story: This spacecraft is a rather small with few outer protections for the rider. Of great concern is the fact that the astronaut has his head protruding outside the rocket. It is also strange that the figure is barefoot and does not wear gloves. ( Both fingernails toenails are illustrated) and has a complicated 'helmet' which does not cover his face. Except for a breachcloth and typical Mayan jade anklets, bracelet and necklace and 'helmet' on his head our astronaut is naked. In other words, he is a typically costumed upper-class Mayan of around A.D. 700 as pictured in other Mayan carvings and painting.(Space Gods revealed)
  7. Zecharia Sitchin: The enigma of the tomb and its occupant was deepened by the depiction on the tomb lid: it was the image of a barefoot Maya sitting upon a plumed or flaming throne and seemingly operating mechanical devices inside and elaborate chamber. The Ancient Astronaut Society, and its sponsor, Erich Von Däniken, have seen in this a depiction of an astronaut inside a spacecraft driven by flaming jets. They suggest that an extra-terrestrial is buried here. Archeologists and other scholars ridicule the idea. (The Lost Realms, by Zechariah Sitchin p71)

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