2006-11-27 - Cuzco imagery has finally been
updated. Old Cuzco is unique, blending the fine Imperial or Classic
Inca masonry walls, often as foundations, and colonial architecture and
art. As the primary center of culture on the continent upon Contact,
Cuzco is also very rich in monumental architecture, and was the
centerpoint in a system of Inca monuments. The Tower atop Saxsayhuaman platform mound is
clearly visible, and the zig-zag walls really stand out. I was
surprised to notice a 100m long oval above the Saxsayhuaman Plaza, the
same size as the Catequilla oval on the equator above Quito, Ecuador.
I immediately checked several distances. (The shorthand
notation used in this entry is introduced in the Archaeogeodesy Pages.) The arc
from the Coricancha to Machu Picchu's circular feature, the
Torreon—so-called "sun temple" to so-called "sun temple"—the arc equals
0.65702 degrees (R27/20) while the distance from the Coricancha to the
tower atop Saxsayhuaman equals one-fiftieth this distance (R27/1000).
Today, the latitude at Machu Picchu equals 1.002 R27 and 0.9990 C27.
The Coricancha to Saxsayhuaman arc
(R27/1000) is the same length as several other major monument spacings,
including Avebury to
Silbury Hill and Huaca Moxeke to Huaca A in the Casma valley. I noted
other multiples of this arc in the Casma-Sechin
complex. At Tiwanaku, the
Akapana Mound to Puma Punku arc is two-thirds this distance (R27/1500),
while at Chaco Canyon
the arc from Chetro Ketl's great kiva to Pueblo Bonito's north great
kiva is half the distance (R27/2000). From the Coricancha to the Moray
circular monument, the arc equals 0.00500 radians. Travelers, we need
GPS readings from all of these sites.
Previously, using topographic map
coordinates, I examined the relationships of the Chaco Canyon great
pueblos. From GE imagery, acquisition of coordinates for specific
features of the pueblos is now possible. While I'd prefer GPS and
consider less accurate coordinates preliminary study, we can now
examine the relationhips of the centerpoints of great kivas instead of
just the great house relationships. The results have confirmed and
exceeded expectations based on preliminary, map-based studies. I plan
to add new Chaco Canyon findings to the Chaco Meridian page soon.
Regarding Chaco results, I'll briefly
state now that the relationships of the three largest Chaco kivas are
of interest with respect to the scale of the earth. You can check both
the arcs and the longitude differences of these, the Chetro Ketl,
Pueblo Bonito, and Arroyo great kivas, using archaeogeodesy.xls. The
coordinates are pre-programmed variables in this spherical trig
spreadsheet; you simply input any of hundreds of terse site codes.
2006.11.07 - Machu Picchu and the Valley
of the Incas Google Earth™ placemarks added. Aerial photography
image updates in the Valley of the Incas region are enabling viewing
more ruins and ancient trails, especially Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo,
and Inca trails and roads. This area still keeps many secrets of past
activity in its rugged, often vertical, terrain. Enjoy following the
Inca Trail and other trails and searching for more ruins. Unlike the
local farmers, you won't have to worry about falling out of your field!
2006.11.03 - New placemarks files: Pyramids around Xi'an, China
Placemarks and asia.xls.
From Xianyang, China, a line of pyramids extends 36 km.
I want to address several concerns
regarding Google Earth™ coordinate referencing and accuracy. I've
applied a convention to designate these, for example "GE 2006.11.03"
indicates coordinates sourced to Google Earth™ (GE) 2006, Nov. 3. The
date sequence allows both alphabetic and chronological sorting, so I
already apply this convention widely in file and applet version naming
(and herein). Regarding accuracy, GE latitude and longitude may not be
precise. As the online database updates, image locations can resolve
differently than before. Therefore, I recommend applying the dating
convention in referencing them, just as a reference to a web page
should state the date accessed.
To place reliance on accuracy, one can
determine how accurate image overlays are for different areas of the
digital globe and for different times. Some coordinates are quite
precise. Most recent high resolution image updates will resolve very
accurate coordinates. Note the accuracy of the Cahokia and Monks Mound
imagery in relation to my GPS readings. Likewise, I've noted the
accuracy of combining survey position, OS topographic maps, and GE at
Stonehenge and other stone circles.
Also, regarding accuracy, when viewing
geometric monuments with significant elevation, the oblique views of
the aerial images is readily apparent—just check the Washington
Monument. In this GE screen capture of Khufu's and Khafre's pyramids,
note the seam between two images (bright on the right and darker on the
left) and note that each pyramid has a unique angle of oblique view. I
locate the footprint centerpoint of large pyramids, rather than the
highest point, to obtain a preliminary coordinate. This difference
alone points to the degree of accuracy, or I should say "inaccuracy" of
the monument representations in this format.
That said, I must add that Google Earth™
is a very useful GIS tool. GE coordinates use a global system. Any grid
error for neighboring sites should be nearly equal (if updated at the
same time). Plus, the monuments can be immense in relation to any
inaccuracy, and the earth's circumference is a large measuring stick in
relative comparison. GE coordinates are an improvement on old maps or,
worse still, no location data.
One last word, "Save your work." GE can
use a lot of memory, and you might lose work you have not saved if the
application does not quit in normal fashion. Creating placemark folders
and saving them as kmz files backs up your GE placemarks.
2006.10.27 - The Ancient Earthworks of Eastern North America pages include descriptions, photo
galleries, Squier and Davis and other early survey maps, and reports of
early explorations. I've integrated these resources with Google Earth™
placemarks. The maps are available as overlays in placemark files. The
individual placemarks feature both GPS readings and links to photos
taken at the location.
Papering over modern quarries and developments with ancient monument
maps provides a view of the scale of what came before, what survives
today, and, where destroyed, direct comparison with current uses. For
individual files, proceed to the Ancient
Monuments Placemarks page. I continue developing placemarks as I
employ this useful new tool in the process of determining and verifying
locations of monuments, existing and destroyed. I hope they enhance
understanding the prehistoric era. Watch the linked page for updates
2006.10.18 - New placemarks
for the Chicama-Moche
Intervalley Canal. If you are impressed by large monuments, try to
image the effort expended in building a 70 km canal, diverting a river
from one valley to another—rather like building a 70 km long mound.
2006.10.15 - New placemarks
and spreadsheet for the Thornborough
Henges and the Ure-Swale Monuments: thornborough.kmz and thornborough.xls.
2006.10.12 - Updated
2006.10.06 - The new view in
Google Earth of Woodhenge
Circle clearly shows the part of the circle that survived the
gravel quarry. The lagoon of stale water on the left was quarried.
Monks Mound is to the east. Cahokia
is a State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark, and a World
Heritage Site, yet the damage happened because the importance of the
post moulds was not recognized. Thrice already today, sites I've tried
to locate on Thornborough Moor have been destroyed by gravel quarrying.
In these cases, unlike Woodhenge, nothing remains except the quarry
2006.09.27 - Ancient Monuments Placemarks
page added. As more areas of the earth are updated with high resolution
images, Google Earth is becoming a useful archaeological tool. I
started creating placemark files using coordinate data from ongoing
studies. I've moved on to exploration, especially in the desert in
Peru, where massive and very ancient ruins are particularly evident.
Enjoy the files.