James O’Kon PE, Noted Archaeo-Engineer, Will Lecture at the NYC Headquarters of World Famous Explorers Club and Reveal His Discoveries of Lost Technologies of the Maya

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On September 24th James O'Kon, a structural engineer, will reveal his discoveries of lost technologies of the ancient Maya. In the first public announcement of his findings, Mr. O'Kon, a Fellow in The Explorers Club, will be lecturing at the headquarters of The Explorers Club in New York City. Mr. O'Kon has spent decades exploring remote Maya sites, using forensic engineering techniques to glean the technologies that constructed the grand Maya cities. His research did not involve the study of the Maya gods, but the gods of thermodynamics, physics, chemistry and structural mechanics. His discoveries reveal that the Maya invented blast furnaces to formulate cement 2100 years before the Europeans; utilized cast-in-place concrete to build high rise structures that were not exceeded in height until the 19th century; created water management and filtration systems that provided water to sustain populations well above the carrying capacity of a land area that was a seasonal desert; manufactured specialized tools that were harder than iron and tougher than steel; and combining all their structural technologies built the longest bridge in the ancient world.

The 7th Century Bridge was built across the Usumacinta River.

Jim O'Kon on the Usumacinta River bordering Mexico and Guatemala

On Monday September 25, at the NYC Explorers Club, James O'Kon will demonstrate Maya technology that allowed the Maya to artificially push their environment to its optimum capacity with dense populations in urban centers. But despite these sophisticated engineering technologies, when disaster struck in the form of the worst drought in 7000 years, the same advanced sciences that built the cities and developed water management that could maintain these populations could not save the Maya. An estimated 95 percent of the population died and the Maya civilization was no more. This Maya experience may have more to teach us about the future of our civilization than the doomsday predictions for December 21, 2012.

Maya engineers had the same intellectual capacity to solve complex problems in technology as we do today. However, archaeological research has never focused on the technological achievements of Maya engineers. Their accomplishments enabled the prosperous and sophisticated lifestyles of the elite inhabitants of the cities, which were among the world’s densest urban centers during their Classic Period. It was the technology of the Maya engineers that allowed the urban elite the time and leisure to create the graphic arts and written languages that are what archaeologists study today.

Despite the fact that their environment suffered from an inconstant supply of rainwater, poor soil conditions, lack of metallic ore and the absence of beasts of burden, the ever-increasing needs and wants of their urban elite became possible as a result of Maya technologists and engineers. The 3000-year term of their civilization enabled Maya engineers 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 their accurate calculation of days, months, years, and the cyclic movement of astronomical bodies. They calculated the earth's revolution around the sun with greater precision than Europeans until modern optical instruments were developed. The Maya conceived the concept of the number "zero" and the use of negative numbers 1,500 years prior to the Europeans. The Maya enjoyed their Golden Age while Europe was wallowing in the Dark Ages.

James O’Kon has pursued a lifelong passion for the engineering, sciences and technology of the Maya. In his role as an archaeo-engineer he has combined his unique professional engineering experience with the search for lost Maya technology. In his youth he spent a year driving a Volkswagen camper throughout the Maya area, living at the ancient sites and feeling a kinship with the ancient Maya engineers. After further years of collecting field data, obtained by traveling in dugout canoes, hacking his way through the jungle and sleeping in tents, he was able to use his forensic engineering skills, along with modern digital tools, to reveal the mysteries of lost Maya technology. He contends that despite the fact that they had no iron ore, the Maya should not be classified as a “Stone Age” culture, but rather as “technolithic.”

His discoveries in Maya technology have been published in National Geographic Magazine, among other publications, and in a production on The History Channel. He has delivered scientific papers dealing with his discoveries in Maya technologies at international engineering 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.

The Explorers Club Headquarters is located at 46 East 70th St., New York, NY and the lecture begins at 7p.m. with check in at 6 p.m. The lecture is open to the public but reservations are suggested on a first-come, first-served basis: by phone 212-628-8383, fax 212-228-4449, or email to reservations (at) explorers (dot) org. Members ticket price is free, students $5 and guest tickets are $20.

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