Ancient monuments then and now


Above are before and after images of Chichen Itza's El Castillo step-pyramid in the Yucatán that the Daily Grail's Greg Taylor shared in a brief post about "How Far Should We Go in 'Restoring' Ancient Monuments?." Below, Stonehenge in the 19th century and now.


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  1. AbeL says:

    The Chichen Itza pyramid is called El Castillo. I actually climbed when I was a kid and went inside, there is mini version of the pyramid and a jade jaguar inside. Now you can't even touch it they have it all roped off.
    There is a level of preservation needed and cap on tourism coming in. These area were actually religious ritual areas where many virgins and warroirs were give to the gods or people tried to pay their way into their heaven jumped into the cenotes (large water holes) The warrors played a basketball like game and the losers were beheaded and put on staffs in a courtyard.

  2. NickyG says:

    Apparently none of these archaeologist IDIOTS watch Antiques Roadshow. Don't they know that NATURAL PATINA IS EVERYTHING and VARNISH ONLY DIMINISHES VALUE?!?!?! Jesus...

  3. Why are we overlooking the obvious question? How did primitive people with only 20th Century levels of technology move the massive stones to restore Stonehenge and other monuments? The must have had extraterrestrial help - and probably an extraterrestrial agenda as well. WHAT ARE THEY HIDING???

  4. When I visited Chichen Itza they weren't even allowing visitors to perform human sacrifice there anymore, let alone kick the victims' severed heads around the ball courts. Total ripoff.

  5. I visited Chichen Itza on the solstice, a couple of years after they discovered that the shadow of the serpent along one side of the steps was connected head to tail for a few minutes by the sunlight/shadow just once a year.

    Other than that almost supernatural event, the second most vivid memory I have is of the screams of tourists climbing the interior steps. There were bare lightbulbs every ten feet or so on the ceiling of the low stair passageway leading up to the original top of the pyramid, where the jaguar sat in a large chamber. The stairway was wet from the Yucutan humidity and all of the tourist's breath and sweat, so people gripped the walls and ceiling to avoid falling.

    Because the lightbulbs were not in protective cages, a significant portion were broken by people bumping into them. Fairly regularly you would hear a scream from someone sticking their hand into a live socket where there was a broken lightbulb. It was a situation that could only exist in a minimally litigious society.

    There were few signs of anybody trying to restore those lightbulbs.

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