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The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology Paperback – April 22, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1601632074 ISBN-10: 160163207X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James A. O'Kon, P.E. is a professional engineer with decades of experience designing award-winning projects. He has also spent 40 years investigating Maya engineering feats and lost Maya technology. His investigations have taken him to more than 50 remote Maya sites. He has delivered numerous scientific papers to scientific symposia dealing with Maya technology. He was inducted into the Explorers Club as a National Fellow for his work on Maya technology. A resident of Atlanta, he is currently an expert witness on construction failures and a problem-solving consultant to global corporations when he is not in the rainforest. Read more about him at www.theoldexplorer.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Page Books; 1 edition (April 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160163207X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601632074
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James O'Kon, P.E. has pursued a lifelong passion for Maya archaeology and he has combined his unique professional engineering experience with the search for lost Maya technology. He has applied his engineering talents to explore and investigate Maya sites located deep in the dense rainforest. Traveling by dugout canoe, hacking his way through the tangled jungle while fighting off millions of insects and sleeping in tents, his search went on for lost secrets of Maya technology. With the collected field data he was able to utilize digital tools, along with his creative engineering skills, to verify feats of Maya engineering and virtually reconstruct the mysteries of Maya engineering technologies.

His interest in archaeology began while playing in the Civil War trenches covering the hills near his boyhood home in Atlanta where rusted military armament and wasted shot was easily found on the battlefield sites. His early reading interest included classic books dealing with the Spanish Conquest and the rediscovery of the Maya civilization which stimulated his interest in archaeology. His student days at Georgia Tech were filled with learning the technology of modern civil engineering. His college experience at Georgia Tech produced a problem-solving engineer with writing and illustration skills. His athletic training at Georgia Tech gave him the strength and stamina to endure arduous jungle expeditions.

After several years of experience as a structural engineer designing aerospace structures like rocket launch towers and vertical assembly buildings, he elected to take a yearlong sabbatical to live in Spain. Visiting ancient European cities was an exciting experience for a young man who grew up in Atlanta, the only American city that was ever completely destroyed by war. Just the sight of a building constructed before 1865 was a thrill. Returning to the USA he resumed his career as an engineer for several years until the Maya ruins called to him and he and his family headed south of the boarder, in a VW camper, through Mexico and into British Honduras where he explored and lived among ancient Maya cities for a year. This is when he first felt an affinity with the Maya engineers that had constructed these wondrous cities. He had questions about their construction that could not be answered by archaeologists. This began his quest for the truth surrounding the brilliant Maya engineering technologies.

Returning to the United States, he worked in New York City designing landmark structures, like the Roosevelt Island Tramway, aviation projects and aerospace structures. In 1973 he returned to Atlanta to operate a branch office of the firm he worked for in New York. He subsequently bought the firm in 1977 and expanded the practice to include architecture and design in addition to engineering. He led this firm to develop a national reputation for designing award-winning aviation facilities, and his ability to think outside the box enabled him to become a forensic engineer in the investigation of high profile building failures.

His investigation of Maya technologies continued parallel to his creative design projects. He often traveled to the Yucatan to explore remote Maya sites. His breakthrough revelation in Maya engineering projects was the discovery of the ruins of a Maya suspension bridge over the Usumacinta River at the ancient Maya city of Yaxchilan. This is the river that divides Mexico from Guatemala and the discovery and proof of the existence of this Maya bridge is the topic of this History Channel production. Additional investigation revealed other examples of Maya technology that are outstanding examples of engineering achievements that the Maya utilized a thousand years in advance of European technology.

His discoveries in Maya technology have been recognized in National Geographic Magazine and the monthly magazine the American Society of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering, in addition to other scholarly publications. He has been invited to deliver numerous scientific papers dealing with his discoveries in Maya technology at international scientific and archaeological symposia.

His civil engineering education at Georgia Tech and an advanced degree from New York University gave him an excellent background for his professional career which has been devoted to bringing high-tech science to engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer in over 15 states and has developed new computer techniques for engineering design and new methodologies for investigating distressed structures. This experience gave him the ability to "reverse engineer" complex distressed buildings and identify the cause of the distress. This same experience has enabled him to discover, dissect, analyze and reconstruct lost Maya technologies. He brought all these special talents to the research and writing of his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology.

Customer Reviews

Read the book and decide.
Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
My experience was much richer because I had read this book prior to the visit.
Linda Spear
O'Kon's work is presented in an easy writing style that is understandable.
Ruth Ann Hixson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By JE Farrow on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
THE LOST SECRETS OF MAYAN TECHNOLOGY by James A. O'Kon is tagged Ancient Mysteries, but that label may be misleading. This book is not a hodge-podge of phantasmal beliefs or conjecture. It is based on meticulous research, investigation & working on site. It may not have been the author's original intention, but his book puts to rest much of the false information circulated by "alternative" writers who insist that Mayan technology must have originated by "advanced" entities from outer space--just as it clearly quashes the lie raised by entrenched academcians who classify Maya as being little more than a Stoneage people. Among other fascinating details, O'Kon shows how the Maya had developed a advanced water filtration. It wasn't until that 18th century that Europeans had managed the same.

[NOTE: Until that time most Europeans drank wine or other "spirits" in place of polluted water, particularly in the cities. Indeed, it could be said that non-hygenic water conditions created rampant alcoholism.]

James O'Kon is a professional engineer with many credits & honors to his name; who better to investigate Mayan technology? According to his profile he has also spent 40 years studying the many technological achievements of the Maya. His passion for understanding them & giving them their just due shows cleary in the book. It may not have all the thrills of pop literarture, but MAYA TECHNOLOGY provides a very enjoyable & enlightening reading. In addition, the various subjects presented are illustrated with many detailed drawings & photos (many are in gorgeous color.) The photos of the pyramids & other Maya structures are the best I've seen & really convey the extraordinary art & technique that went into their construction. They give the ancient Egyptian pyramids a run for their money (or waterever).

THE LOST SECRETS OF MAYA TECHNOLOGY is a masterpiece & soon to be a classic in the field.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
This was an enjoyable, informative read. My expectation when I began was just to understand a bit about the Mayans. I had not expected that I would find the information in the book relevant to today. My expectations were greatly exceeded.

Now, you may be wondering what possible benefit this book can have to the reader. If you're a history buff, of course the big value is you get some great information on an ancient civilization. But what if you're looking for something relevant? Should you pass on this particular book? No.

If you can understand that another culture was way ahead of the Western world for centuries, you then can question the orthodox view that the Western world is where human progress has always taken place. It isn't. And understanding that fact has profound implications for your worldview and how you interpret the events of today.

What may be most important to understand is that Mayan technology was very advanced, yet it was not enough to save the Mayan civilization when their environment dramatically changed. Think of the major problems facing humanity today. Our technology can't save us from these; only a change in how we use our resources can. Today:

*The planet is mired in human-spawned pollution.
*Almost every country on the planet is now controlled by an unaccountable gangsta government (thus all the uprisings in some such as Egypt, and the huge economic chaos in others such as the USA).
*We are past peak oil and heading into severe resource shortages.
*The human population is artificially supported by oil with an excess of about 6 billion people. There's no viable alternative to oil, anywhere. How do we feed a population that's swollen to 7 times its non-oil size?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology by James A. O'Kon P.E. traces the evolution of Mayan culture and engineering over the centuries. Numerous schematics are depicted throughout the book to demonstrate how the Mayan mathematicians and scientists overcame extensive environmental challenges like frequent flooding and droughts.

During the mid first millenium AD, the Mayan urban centers were the largest on the planet according to the author. The Mayan civilization had fifty city states with royalty, scribes, scientists and merchants. Mayan engineers developed efficient water management systems and overcame the shortfalls of the environment.

Clearly, the Mayan engineers understood technical engineering
challenges like shear and overturning moment computations.
The Mayan pyramids were designed as a mathematical step function
with rock ascending like a concrete stairwell. This design
distributed the huge shear forces fractionally during great
wind storms or flooding. A step function design is easier to
access for repair purposes. Much of the Mayan engineering
design technology is needed right now in places like Africa
and Asia.

Mayans ate maize, beans, tomatoes, chili, squash, avocado and many other tropical fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants and good fats. The Mayan diet could be a model for Americans to emulate. The Mayan climate was alternating deluge and drought. Natural wells or cenotes provided the Mayans in the lowlands with direct access to water throughout the year.

The Mayan culture suffered apocalyptic environmental disasters after 910 AD. These disasters stultified growth. Modern researchers are still uncertain as to the exact reasons why the Mayan culture waned in influence from its zenith.
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