Von Daniken's Point of view

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Von Däniken since the 1960s has presented multitudes of ancient reliefs, drawings and sculptures and painting in broad strokes the idea that these are depictions of extra terrestrials and space ships. In a way it has been an interesting concept until you look closer and closer at the details and find that quite often what is shown can be proven to be the opposite, however despite the proof offered against much of what he has said, some of his ideas put forth remain very enigmatic such as the tomb lid of Pakal Votan. One can read Von Däniken's books and soon develop the method of thinking that he has provided us with, looking at all these ancient objects and designs from a from a twentieth to twenty first century point of view.

Since the film Prometheus presentation of the Ancient Mayan Space Jockey 'Star Map' Tablet takes inspiration from Von Daniken, we can talk about the image in Chariots of the Gods regarding the sarcophagus lid. Eric Von Däniken asked the question whether primitive imagination could have produced something that seemed so similar to the modern astronaut in his rocket. The strange markings at the foot of the drawing were surely, in his mind, an indication of the flames and gases coming from the propulsion unit.

the Sarcophagus Lid of Pakal Votan

Source quotes
  1. 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 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. Is 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. What does this relief have to tell us? Nothing? Is everything anyone links up with space travel a stupid figment of the imagination? (Chariots of the Gods (1968), p123-124)
  2. Erich Von Daniken:" Could primitive imagination have produced anything so remarkably similar to a modern astronaut in his rocket? The strange markings at the foot of the drawing can only be an indication of the flames and gases coming from the propulsion unit." (Chariot of the Gods by Erich Von Danikens p112)
  3. Narrator :  After eight refusals, we are finally granted permission to film this ancient celebrity. The sealed sepulchre is opened to us for a brief half hour, up a steap flight of stairs and down into the even more stifling dampness of the interior of the tomb. .And there he is, captured for the first time on film, the winged god of Palenque, what the learned sees is so stunning that we must examine the details separately. We see a man seated in a capsule intently watching something. His hands seem to be operating some undefinable controls. His foot is pressing a pedal. At the rear of the capsule we see jets trailing flames behind them. Isn't this a typical position for an astronaut, as we so well know it today? He seem to be dressed for the job, in trousers with a broad belt, a sort of jacket tight fitting at the wrists like coveralls. The chair is well upholstered to absorb the shock of the acceleration. A figure before controls also dressed like an astronaut. Another jet trailing flames. This stone deity say the Maya, represents Kukulkan who came from the stars and returned there (Chariots of the Gods documentary , 1970)
    Erich von Däniken
  4. Narrator : Mysteries of the past manifest themselves on all continents. Within the depths of a temple, the ancient Mayan city of Palenque in central America, von Däniken came upon a stone relief of what is apparently a man seated in a capsule watching something intently. His hands seem to be operating some undefinable controls. His foot pressing a lever. And at the rear of the capsule are jets trailing flames behind them. He seem to be dressed for the job, in trousers with a broad belt, a sort of jacket tight fitting at the wrists . The chair is well upholstered to absorb the shock of acceleration. Mayan legend says that he represents the space travelling god, Kukulkan, the winged god of Palanque. He was carved some time in the seventh century. The possibility haunts us that this figure was the artists rendering of the ancient astronauts who inspired the Mayan culture. (In Search Of: Ancient Astronauts documentary (1973)
  5. Richard Karn (Narrator): Our search for clues about the flying machines of the ancient world takes us to southern Mexico, the ancient city of Palenque is one of the most magnificent of the Mayan culture which flourished all across Southern America for almost six hundred years. This is the burial pyramid of Pacal, ruler of the Mayan world about 600 AD. Here we find what Eric Von Daniken believes are signs that the Mayans might have encountered visitors from the sky. Pacal's ornate sarcophagus is rendered in exquisite detail. The lid is a beautifully carved image of the dead king. Erich Von Daniken believes this relief might show Pacal in some kind of spaceship. Look closely, Pacal is seated in the reclining like an astronaut in a space capsule. His hands seem to be gripping the controls almost like an airplane pilot. His nose appears to be attached to a breathing apparatus. The design behind the seat could be a representation of flames like those of a rocket ship" ( Chariots of the Gods? The Mysteries Continue, 1996)
  6. Playboy: What is the most convincing evidence you have that Earth has been visited from outer space?  
    Von Daniken: Two kinds of proof : proof by hard facts and proof in mythologies, holy books, legends and so forth. We have very good proof in hard facts. In Palenque, a little place in Yucatán, there is a tomb covered by a large stone. On this stone is a wonderful relief. It shows a man sitting in a kind of frame. He is bending forward almost like a motorcyclist, and at his nose he has what I would call an oxygen mask. He is operating some controls with his hands, turning something on - you can recognise every detail - and the heel of his left foot seems to be on a pedal which has different adjustments. Behind him you see some circles, some boxes, all kinds of mysterious things. And outside is a flame like an exhaust.

    Playboy: We're familiar with the stone which also depicts a bird in front of him. What's it doing there?

    Von Daniken: Oh, I don't know. Perhaps it represents flight, you know? Anyway, around the stone is a writing saying the relief shows a Mayan priest who died because of "the hot wind." Archeologists say this shows the poor guy was sick and died in a hot summer season. I see it completely differently, that the hot wind was maybe the blast from a spaceship. I would not say this if we did not have, in many other old texgts, similar things where someone is killed by the "hot wind of the gods." You find these hot winds in the Mahabharata, the hindu epic, and in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamech, where Engidu dies because he has been in contact with the gods and their hot wind. (Playboy 1974)

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