I've been home from Peru for a bit over a month and have recovered from an amazingly successful research trip and a challenging physical experience. The good news is that now I know I can handle the altitude and that my body is in shape to deal with the physical rigors of climbing archaeological sites at between 12,000 to 14,000' above sea level. Thanks to all who have followed my journey and for tuning in once again.
The most immediate piece of information I want to share with you all is that I'm going to be giving an informational talk about my project entitled:
"The Mystery of the Stones."
Date: March 24th Time: 2-4pm
Place: Center For Spiritual Awakening
522 Central Avenue Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Most of you know that the research I'm conducting is focused on the relationship between the people who live on the active archaeological site of Saqsaywaman and the people who manage the site at the Ministry of Culture. But, what many of you may not know is the BIGGER reason why I feel it is important to preserve sites like Saqsaywaman. This talk is going to talk about why it's important that archaeological sites around the world are preserved for posterity.
The Amazing Stones In Peru
One development that has drastically improved the ability to study our human history is the Internet. With the ability to share academic research and post photo archives of various archaeological sites around the world, everyone (both academics and lay people) can read about and see human cultural artifacts and stone structures around the world with minimal effort. The downside of this is that some people are all too quick to jump to conclusions. It personally drives me crazy when the people who appear on the Ancient Alien shows attribute anything they don't understand immediately conclude it must have been aliens!
The benefit of the increased access to archaeological studies and photo archives is that people who are serious about trying to find out "who" built these sites now have a global perspective.
Long held beliefs are often vehemently defended in the face of new technology and scientific discoveries. Galileo was persecuted for proposing the Earth was not the center of the Universe. It took a long time for people to accept that the Earth is round.
Recent science is now proving that the many cultural flood myths do have some basis in fact as there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm around 12,800 years ago. Ice core data shows that this cataclysm plunged our planet into a deep freeze called the Younger Dryas just as we were coming out of the last Ice Age. Makes you wonder what else we currently believe will be overturned by the many new technologies that are peering into our past.
There's a reason UNESCO designates archaeological sites as important to preserve for humanity. You can't study what doesn't exist. Looting, weathering, destruction by war (as was done by ISIS recently at the ancient site of Palmyra in Syria), wear and tear by well-meaning tourists are just some of the ways we loose our human heritage. We MUST preserve these sites if we are to understand our human history, and there's no where this is more important than in the Americas. I've often told people that archaeological research in South America is akin to where explorers found themselves in Egypt 100 years ago. There is still so much to be dug up and understood. And, all you have to do it take a journey to the Sacred Valley and see sites like Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Machu Picchu to understand that work is still to be done to understand the "who" question. And, then "when" question.
You Are Invited To The Talk - And If You'd Like To Continue The Conversation, We'll Be Having Dinner at Fandango Restaurant in Pacific Grove.
We will explore the various sites in Peru and their parallel sites around the world during my talk on March 24th. Hope you can join me. No need to RSVP to the talk, but if you'd like to join a few of us at the dinner (everyone will pay for themselves) at Fandango from 5-6pm, please call me at 831 238 5503 or email me at email@example.com.
Maren Elwood is a visual anthropologist and founder of On-Site Expeditions...a field school that will provide scholarships to aspiring heritage professionals. The first field school session will be in January 2020.