Millions of people believe extraterrestrials visited earth in spacecraft in ancient times and influenced human affairs. They also believe records of these visitations are preserved and seen as UFOs in ancient art. Is it true? Does ancient art preserve proof of ancient contact with alien spacecraft? Or, is something else being shown?
As a co-producer and presenter on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, and writer and presenter of Arcanum on Gaia, I have a 30-year passion for this question. It has a very interesting history that must be understood to be properly answered.
Paleo contact, or the theory that extraterrestrial visitors came to earth in ancient times, is a hypothesis first put forth in the 1950s by Soviet mathematician Mikhail Agrest. He proposed that rock art, some of which is over 7,000 years old, portrayed alien visitors wearing space suits and helmets, holding high tech tools, and emerging from flying devices.
Conspiracy theorists say Soviet intelligence co-opted the idea and began popularizing it in the 1960s in order to undermine Western civilization and its religions by planting the idea that the events of the bible, especially the miracles, were nothing but flesh and blood extraterrestrial visitors with advanced technology who came to earth to influence human evolution. This psychological operation (PSYOP) was a cover for Russia’s alleged secret space program and its development of advanced aircraft and weapons supposedly derived from recovered extraterrestrial technology.
As conventional anthropologists of the time argued that the gods were imaginary beings and human evolution and development was gradual, paleo contact was quite a controversial idea.
Evolutionary biologist, Steven J. Gould, further rocked the zeitgeist in 1972 with his theory of punctuated equilibrium, which states that great changes in a species happen very rapidly, followed by long periods of stasis where there is little or no change.
The sudden, miraculous, transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens defies the conventional theory of evolution, which states that over the course of millions of years humans evolved from hunter gatherers, to gardeners, to city builders to Mona Lisa painters, to today’s transhumanist technologists. There is a missing link or branch between the more ape-like Homo erectus and modern humans. We share genetics with our ancestors, but our abilities are far greater. Something activated these capabilities. But, what?
Punctuated equilibrium is used to explain it. Some scientists see a powerful connection between our spurts in evolution and asteroid and comet impacts, supernovas, gamma-ray bursts and the strong coupling between our solar system and the galaxy and the evolution of life on Earth.
Why not extraterrestrial visitors, as the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian records claimed? What if, suddenly, the masses realized that we had help from ancient extraterrestrial visitors who came from an otherworldly place beyond human reach and these visitors were a “missing link” that accelerated our evolution? It could have a dramatic destabilizing effect on society, said the famed 1960 Brookings Report. This is why governments and religious institutions covered-up evidence of ancient extraterrestrial contact, say theorists.
Von Däniken and Sitchin Identify UFOs in Ancient Art
No such destabilization occurred when the paleo contact concept gained world wide popularity in the late 1960s and 1970s when it was adopted by Swiss author, Erich von Däniken, and the Russian-born American author, Zecharia Sitchin. Instead, their books proposing an explanation for human origins and evolution involving ancient astronauts sold millions of copies and inspired a generation of believers in ancient contact with extraterrestrials.
The resulting leap of consciousness has led to our current intense era of seeking to understand cosmic visitors and the disclosure movement which seeks the release of all the information the U.S. government has about extraterrestrials, UFOs, and its own alleged secret space program.
Both von Däniken and Sitchin point to ancient art as a repository of evidence of UFO or ancient alien contact. Most of these UFOs in ancient art are sacred or religious in nature. This is quite ironic as a core belief of “ancient astronaut theory” in that there is nothing spiritual going on during these ancient extraterrestrial visitations.
Ancient astronaut theory holds that the “gods” and “angels” of the ancient sacred/spiritual traditions are simply advanced humans with super powers given to them by advanced technology that was indistinguishable from magic to the ancient experiencers. Ancient astronaut theorists claim the aliens brought planes, helicopters, tanks, genetic technology, lasers, nuclear weapons, and computers with them.
These so-called gods came to earth from Sirius, Orion, the Pleiades, Cygnus and other worlds with an intelligent design program in mind.
Depending on which school one subscribes to, this program aims to either uplift humanity to the visitor’s level of spiritual existence (or even to exceed them), or to enslave humanity as workers to mine Earth’s resources. Were the ancient visitors slave masters? Or, were they here for the more spiritually inclined purpose of uplifting humanity and assisting us in our spiritual ascension? Or, could it be both?
The way one chooses to answer these questions determines the eye or perspective from which the UFO art of the ancients is observed, read and/or experienced.
UFO Art: Rocket Ship or Ascension Vehicle?
An important example of ancient UFO art is the sarcophagus lid of the Mayan king Pakal. This venerated king ruled from 603-683 CE. After death, his body was entombed in the extraordinary Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque in the Yucatan Peninsula. A five-ton carved limestone lid sealed his body in the sarcophagus that was hidden deep within his pyramidal temple.
Secreted away for over thirteen hundred years, Pakal’s sarcophagus and its fabulous lid captured the world’s attention when discovered in 1948. Scholars went to work attempting to decipher the meaning of this astounding piece of art. The work was slow as very little of the Maya’s cosmological beliefs were known at that time. No one could not read the rich and elegant Maya symbols until Russian linguists broke the Maya code in 1952. American scholars would have to wait until the end of the Cold War to access these new findings.
In his 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods, von Däniken proposed that Pakal’s sarcophagus lid holds the key to ancient alien intervention. He inspired millions to see Pakal as an ancient astronaut and his strange ‘throne’ as a mechanical device. Specifically, he compared it to the Mercury rocket used in the first human spaceflight program between 1961 and 1963. The Mercury spacecraft was topped by a small capsule with room for one astronaut. The astronaut stayed in his seat during the flight.
According to von Däniken’s reading, Pakal sits on a chair tilting forward, his foot on a pedal, his hands manipulate the controls and he breathes through a breathing apparatus. He is preparing to journey into space.
Comparing Pakal’s lid to the Mercury spacecraft, one can easily see von Däniken’s points of correspondence and why it became an iconic image of ancient astronaut theory. The symbolism is virtually identical.
Watch Erich von Däniken discuss UFOs in ancient art and religion in this episode of Beyond the Legend: