Lost Maya Temple Discovered In Guatemala

A lost Maya temple has been rediscovered in GuatemalaArchaeologists have announced the discovery of a lost temple in the remote jungles of Guatemala. The 1600-year-old structure, which is part of a larger complex, is believed to have been located at the seat of power for El Zotz, a small but industrious kingdom in the Maya Empire.

According to National Geographic, the building was known as the Temple of the Night Sun and it was designed to leave a lasting impression, particularly on the nearby rival kingdom of Tikal. The temple’s outer walls feature 5-foot tall, intricately carved masks that represent the various visages of the sun god as he moves across the sky throughout the day. The faces include those of a shark, an ancient being that drinks blood and local jungle jaguars. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the faces were painted bright red so that they would stand out even from a great distance.

The temple, which is only 30 percent excavated so far, sits at the heart of a Maya city. Near by archaeologists also found a 45-foot tall Diablo Pyramid, a royal palace and what is believed to be the tomb of the city’s first ruler. As they continue the process of unearthing the site, they believe they’ll uncover other clues about how the inhabitants of El Zotz lived and why they decided to suddenly abandon the site sometime in the fifth century.

The video below gives an indication of the importance of this find and shares images from the temple itself.

[Photo credit: Edwin Romain, Brown University]


Mission Aquarius: Journey To The World’s Last Undersea Research Station

mission aquariusFor 50 years, the underwater Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys has been an important center for oceanic exploration. Today, it is the last remaining undersea research station in the world. But funding for the program is about to be cut and unless a new source is found, Aquarius will soon be shut down.

To bring attention to this issue, One World One Ocean and MacGillivray Freeman Films are teaming up for Mission Aquarius, a six-day underwater expedition and media campaign headed up by Dr. Sylvia Earle, an oceanic research pioneer and National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence. By documenting the expedition, these parties hope to bring attention to the accomplishments of the Aquarius Reef Base, as well as highlight the importance of oceanic research and the challenges facing the world’s oceans.

“We know more about the moon than we do about our ocean, which sustains all life on this planet,” Earle said in a release. “Only by making undersea exploration and research an international priority can we learn what we need to know about the ocean to protect it and protect ourselves.”

Mission Aquarius, which runs from July 16 to 21, will provide a fascinating glimpse at life 60 feet under the sea. Individuals will be able to dive into real-time footage on Ustream.TV, explore related content on One World One Ocean‘s website and sign an online petition to signal their support for continued program funding.


Video: Scientists Make Easter Island Statue Walk

Video from Easter Island demonstrates how the moai could have been moved.Easter Island is a remote and mysterious place best known for the iconic and other worldly stone faces that dot its landscape. More than 880 of those statues, known as moai, are spread out across the island, some of which weigh in excess of 80 tons and stand more than 10 meters in height. One of the enduring mysteries of the moai is just how they were carved and then moved miles away from the stone quarry. Now two archaeologists believe that they have come up with the answer, which you can see demonstrated in the video below.

Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo believe that the inhabitants of Easter Island used ropes to rock the statues back and forth. This built forward momentum could then be used to “walk” the stone figures to their permanent sites. The duo put their theory to the test with a moai replica last year and was able to maneuver the large statue with as few as 18 people. As you can see from the video, which comes to us from National Geographic, this seems to be an efficient and quick way to move heavy objects.

So what do you think? Is this how the moai were moved about the island? Have Hunt and Lipo solved one of the great archaeological mysteries of all time?


National Geographic Magazine As An ‘Instrument Of Doom’

Vintage National Geographic Magazine CoverIt wasn’t long ago when you could visit the attic or basement of most any home in America and find stacks of yellow-spined back-issues of The National Geographic Magazine. Thanks (or no thanks) to digital advances, that scene isn’t as common today.

While there are still avid collectors of the esteemed magazine dedicated to history, science, nature, geography, travel and learning, there are far fewer than in 1974 when a science satire magazine, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, suggested that the sheer weight of all these collected periodicals would lead to the apocalypse.

In the March 1974 issue of The Journal of Irreproducible Results, George H. Kaub wrote the following:

This continent is in the gravest danger of following legendary Atlantis to the bottom of the sea. No natural disaster, no overpowering compounding of pollutions or cataclysmic nuclear war will cause the end. Instead, a seemingly innocent monster created by man, nurtured by man, however as yet unheeded by man, will doom this continent to the watery grave of oblivion.

But there is yet time to save ourselves if this warning is heeded.

PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY STOPPED AT ALL COSTS! This beautiful, educational, erudite, and thoroughly appreciated publication is the heretofore unrecognized instrument of doom which must be erased if we as a country or continent will survive. It is NOT TOO LATE if this warning is heeded!

With his tongue firmly in cheek, Kaub warned of “earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, fire, famine, and atomic war all rolled into one” due to the fact that “no copies have been discarded or destroyed since the beginning of publication.”

You can read Kaub’s original letter as well as the equally funny rebuttals from National Geographic readers on The Journal of Irreproducible Results website.

[Photo Flickr/roberthuffstutter]

National Geographic Television Casting New Adventure Series

National Geographic Television is looking to cast its new seriesNational Geographic Television has put out an intriguing casting call for a new adventure series that is set to go into production in the near future. The network is seeking an experienced adventurer to join its cast and the job description certainly isn’t one that you’ll find in the local classifieds. That description reads as follows:

National Geographic seeking to hire a multi-disciplinary team leader with multiple extreme and expert outdoor skills to guide challenging field expeditions around the world. Must be experienced navigating through remote areas, able to handle rapidly changing situations, passionate about exploration and adventure, and as comfortable on camera as in the field. Full-time employment with a minimum one-year contract. Be prepared to inspire a team and have the experience of a lifetime.

If interested, please email us at NGTeamLeader@gmail.com and let us know about why you’re perfect for the job. Make sure to include your name, contact information, and a photo and/or video links. (Submissions without photos or video WILL NOT be considered.) U.S. passport and enthusiasm required.

Beyond that, not much is known about the new series or the job itself, but it sounds like there is something interesting coming our way soon.

Do you have the qualifications necessary to join the team? If so, fire up that email and send in your resume. Who knows, you just might become the next big reality TV star.