Whereas many are focusing on the Mayan calendar’s supposed world-ending climax in December, others are using this focus on the Mayans to educate on this lost civilization. Engineer and explorer James A. O’Kon has written The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology, a fascinating look at the technology of these people who were for so long considered Stone Age folk.
From pyramids, to grand cities, irrigation and bridges, the Mayans matched and often surpassed civilizations of the Near East and Asia. They didn’t follow the standard model of emerging along riverways, use of animals and stayed relatively isolated from the rest of the world. Yes, they were preceded by the Olmecs, traded and eventually ruled by the Aztecs, and some suggest had at least some transoceanic contact. Yet, they largely seemed to develop on their own the technology that supposedly the primitives of the New World were too simple to figure out.
Eventually, drought and overuse of the land would lead to their downfall. Their cities already abandoned by 1492. Like many peoples, they couldn’t predict the future and thought time was on their side. In their success they felt invincible and they thought their world would never end. It did, as many before and since.
Will humans ever take seriously the history of those who fell before us?