The Maya have been an enigma since their rediscovery 170 years ago. How did the Maya create advanced sciences in the isolation of the Yucatán and how did they develop technologies that enabled survival of their grand cities in an adverse environment? The discovery of these technologies proved that the Maya were not a “stone age culture” and that they built their sophisticated urban environment without use of the wheel. Their technologies include tools harder than iron, fabrication of cement, durable structures that enabled high-rise cities, paved highways and the longest bridge in the ancient world. Technology enabled a large population, but failed the Maya when a natural disaster collapsed their scientific civilization. The basis of the lecture will be personal the explorations and discoveries described in his book: “The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology.”
Not only did the Maya venerate time, but time was on their side. The 3000-year term of their civilization enabled Maya scientists to develop an idea, assess the results, and utilize the scientific method to finally perfect their technology. Their obsession with time and the movement of cosmic bodies were the stimuli for the development of their accurate astronomy, elegant mathematics and one of the world’s five original written languages. They developed their sciences in the isolation of the Yucatán. The Maya enjoyed their golden age while Europe was wallowing in the Dark Ages.
Maya engineers had the intellectual capacity to solve complex problems in technology. However, scholarly research has overlooked the technological achievements of Maya engineers. These enabled the survival, good health, and lifestyles of the inhabitants of their cities which were the world’s densest urban centers during their Classic Period. Their environment suffered from an inconstant supply of rainwater, poor soil conditions, lack of metallic ore and the absence of beasts of burden. The needs and wants of their stratified urban society became more defined as the cities burgeoned as a result of the success of their technology. Maya engineers satisfied the ever-increasing demand for a sophisticated urban environment with an ingenious array of technological advancements.
Join us as Mr. O’Kon talks about the technological achievements that allowed the Maya to artificially push their environment to its optimum capacity with dense populations in urban centers. When disaster struck in the form of a drought, the worst in 7000 years devastated the Maya civilization. The same advanced sciences that built the cities and enabled the growth of large populations could not save the Maya; and the scientific Maya civilization was no more.
Biography of James A O’Kon, P.E., FN'98
James O’Kon has pursued a lifelong passion for Maya archaeology, science and technology. He has combined his unique professional engineering experience with the search for Maya technology into his role as an archaeoengineer. He has applied his diverse engineering talents to explore and investigate nearly inaccessible Maya sites located deep in the dense rainforest. Traveling by dugout canoe, hacking his way through the tangled jungle and sleeping in tents while fighting off millions of insects, his search went on. With the collected field data he was able to utilize digital tools, along with his creative engineering skills, to reconstruct feats of Maya engineering and reconstruct the mysteries of lost Maya technology.
His discoveries in Maya technology have been recognized by National Geographic Magazine among other publications and a production on The History Channel. He has delivered scientific papers dealing with his discoveries in Maya technologies at international scientific and archaeological symposia. His explorations and discoveries of Maya technology have been documented in his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology. These findings are the basis for this lecture.
Time: 6PM Check In, 7PM Start
Location: New York City Headquarters, 46 East 70th St., New York, NY
Member Ticket price: Free
Guest Ticket Price: $20
Student Ticket Price:
Free to EC Student Members, $5 with Student ID
Payment must accompany reservation. Tickets are secured only when a credit card is provided at the time the reservation is made. Reservations made without a credit card are not secured and tickets will be forfeited by 6:50pm the evening of the lecture.