Report on the 2004 A.R.E. Piedras Negras' Expedition
by Dr. Greg Little
On April 19, 2004 my wife Lora and I left for Guatemala on an officially sanctioned A.R.E.-sponsored expedition to Piedras Negras, Guatemala, the site of Edgar Cayce's third Hall of Records. The book, the "Lost Hall of Records," by John Van Auken and Lora Little contains background on the site as well as the background from the Cayce readings, which indicated that Piedras Negras was the location of an Atlantean Hall of Records placed there around 10,000 B.C. We returned to Memphis on April 29.
We began at Guatemala City and visited the National Archaeological Museum. Before arrival we had paid a $1020 fee to videotape at the museum and also obtain a license to produce a documentary using footage from the museum and at Piedras Negras. Making film for public showing (or mass media) is illegal without obtaining such a permit. We noticed a few people in tour groups at the museum sneaking some video shots of some things, but the museum staff and the government are strict.
At the museum we spent the day with a Guatemalan archaeologist who has done extensive work at Piedras Negras. He was amazingly open and not only answered all our questions, but he gave us details of all the most recent digs at Piedras Negras as well as revealing the ideas and hypotheses held by various archaeologists who have an inordinate interest in Piedras Negras. In brief, archaeologists appear to believe that Piedras Negras conceals something very important and perhaps astonishing. In addition we viewed and filmed a series of incredible artifacts that have been recovered from Piedras Negras.
Another interesting "find" at the museum related to an artifact that was recovered at Uxmal back in the 1800s. In the late 1800s, the Bureau of Ethnology reported on the discovery of a "Star of David" engraved on what has been assumed to be a sun disk at Uxmal. But no other similar finds had supposedly been made, so the artifact was essentially "forgotten" and pushed out of mind by mainstream archaeologists. However, on display in the museum is another Star of David that was recovered in Tikal a few years ago. The intricate engraving is on a circular shell. It is quite impressive.
One other interesting "discovery" at the museum is noteworthy. Over 70 years ago Edgar Cayce stated that the first people in South America entered the continent from the "South Pacific" as long ago as 50,000 B.C. American archaeologists have long held that such ideas are preposterous and impossible and our book "Ancient South America" relates the differences between the beliefs of North and South American archaeologists. An educational display in the Guatemala museum shows the first people entering the Americas from the South Pacific—just as Cayce stated.
To Flores, Tikal, & Piedras Negras
From Guatemala City we flew to Flores and visited nearby Tikal. From there, we went by car on a 4-hour drive over rugged roads to the Usumacinta River. Rainforest jungle is being burned almost everywhere and the smoke from the fires fills the sky. At the river, we took a 5-hour ride on a small boat down the river to Piedras Negras. Five others accompanied us on the boat: guides, a boat captain, a boat helper, and a cook. We were dropped off at the main entrance to the site with the two guides while the others went about two more miles downstream to make camp. For the next six exhausting hours, we walked through the densely covered ruins examining numerous structures as well as familiarizing ourselves with the massive layout of the city. We walked several miles out of the site through jungle arriving at our riverside campsite only 45 minutes before dark.
We spent the next two days combing the many areas of the site briefly investigating a gigantic, dry cenote with walls several hundred feet deep. It was discovered just a few years ago via satellite imaging. We crawled around the steep sides of the site's main Acropolis (the apex of the mountain covered with stone buildings and pyramids) looking for a collapsed building, which we believed could have the remains of older buildings under its ruins. I counted three distinct building layers to this building. We suspected that this building hides an entrance into a tunnel and chambers deep within the mountain...and our conversation with the Guatemalan archaeologist revealed that he, and other archaeologists, believe the same thing.
We also entered numerous caves at the site and saw at least a dozen more that we didn't feel were necessary or safe to enter. (These caves were found despite official reports on Piedras Negras relating that only a few small caves were there.) A few of these caves are fairly deep—30-60 feet. We also investigated numerous petroglyphs, carvings, and stele found all over the site. Significantly, we discovered that stone spheres (polished stone balls) have been uncovered at Piedras Negras. They are similar to ones uncovered in Costa Rica and Caribbean islands. The few we saw were a foot to two feet in diameter. (Most of those at Costa Rica were the same size, but the large ones have garnered the most attention.) Since less than 1/1000 of 1% of the site has been investigated, there are, no doubt, many more stone spheres to be found at Piedras Negras as well as countless other artifacts. Literally thousands of stone spheres looking like the ones at Piedras Negras have been found on Caribbean islands over the years.
While cutting a path around the steep side of the Acropolis, in an area of dense jungle growth, we could occasionally see the outer layer of fitted stone blocks that formed the impressive, steep walls of the mountain when it was adapted as a building platform. I found a beautiful slab of carved white stone with a perfect hole bored through it at an angle. The hole was about two inches in diameter.
The trip was extremely exhausting and very hot and humid. Piedras Negras remains much like it was when it was first "discovered" in the 1800s. Some "trails" are established at the site, but only to the areas where excavations have been undertaken and the few visitors typically go. The vast bulk of the site remains under jungle and even the guides who go to the site don't go to most of the structures—there simply isn't time to make way to them without staying at the location for several days.