Sky Archaeology

Ratings: 8.30/10 from 23 users.

Sky ArchaeologyArchaeologist Richard Hansen and his team trek through the Guatemalan rain forest while above them a satellite sees through the dense jungle and points the way towards a lost Mayan city.

This jungle holds a secret, a treasure abandoned two thousand years ago. It's a secret unlocked from outer space with a breathtaking new technology.

Sensors mounted in satellites and on spacecraft can see what the human eye cannot. Ancient cities hidden under jungle canopies, entire civilizations buried under great dunes of desert sand: this is sky archaeology.

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24 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Larry Adams

    What warped one sided American Propaganda creation this is? Spewing the wonders of NASA which is a puppet for the America Killing Machine. How come they neglect to mention that 5 of every 6 space flights NASA has launched has been for the US Military? I find it also amusing that this jackass runs through the jungle calling everyone else thieves, yet all he is concerned with is what? Looting Guatemala of it's history and precious artifacts. Using High Tech NASA Imagery to steal artifacts off very poor people in a South American jungle, really is something be impressed by. American Propaganda! Total Crap......Do you think this clown believes in Nibiru too?

    1. noboundryman

      I'm pissed too Larry. The film was simplistic, amateurish and schlocky. I'll tell you something though. There is no doubt the majority of NASA's budget, especially in the early years, came from the pentagon. True today as well, but the Air force does most of the military lift from Vandenberg these days, not NASA.
      The benefits to humanity of the space program far far far out weigh the damage done by it's contribution, to militarism, which by the way is not an attempt to justify it. We must always be cautious in our anger, and our outrage where we cast the blame.
      The entire system of life we know today would not exist, but for the discoveries made by the people in, and around the space program, and DARPA. The post WWII wealth the USA possessed made us the only country that could afford it essentially.
      I remember as if it were yesterday, when Space flight was a miraculous occurrence that had people glued to the little black, and white TV screens all over the world , as if aliens were landing, "no joke". Think carefully of this. No cell phones, no personal computers, almost no plastics, they were very new, no lasers, no video games, no face book, no twitter, no internet, no knowledge of the realities of outer space, and no knowledge of the entirety, vastness, and fragility of our earths (troposphere). There were no high altitude maps, no climate data, no good understanding of ocean currents, deforestation, and ten thousand other things. They wouldn't even exist accept for the billions of dollars in research, and development that spilled over from NASA, "GOVERNMENT SPENDING" that created entire industries worth trillions of dollars today. That boom in knowledge, and industry makes our lives possible, no matter where you live on this planet Ethiopia, Brazil, or Boston, we all are intimately tied, and dependent on that system like it or not. Most of the scientists who work for NASA, are the farthest thing from militaristic. They are people who love science, and dream only of making great discoveries that will improve our common knowledge of the universe, and make life better for everyone. They would like nothing better than for us all to end the militarism, and fund "civilian science initiatives", to build our new alternative energy infrastructure for instance. Many of todays alternative technologies exist because of NASA funded research into (fuel cells) for instance.
      Blame the prostitutes, in Washington, and in the halls of the European Union, and the Kremlin, and Beijing, Don't blame the scientists at NASA. That's just incorrect. Don't kill the messenger. Blame the filthy fascist pigs that lick the boots of oil company executives, and push their sick twisted fundamentalist insanity on the world. Blame the trillion dollar weapons industry, from Raytheon, and Lockheed, and Boing, and General Electric, and General Dynamics, and Motorola, and on and on. Private companies / multinational mega rich companies, that are as ruthless, and murderous as any of the barbarian hoards. "Right wing fascists all over the world," They are the enemy, not the scientist at NASA.
      They are prisoners, and slaves to the fascist oligarchs. Money grubbers, and crooked politicians, who whore for them are the enemy. By the way all that shit about stealing artifacts from the poor is bullshit. That stuff winds up where it belongs in a museum to preserve the culture not to destroy it. The only thieves are the illiterate slobs that steal the artifacts to make a few dollars, and destroying their own heritage.

    2. Jason Jones

      Guatemala is in North America.

    3. flash321

      I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Anti-American bigots infest every social system we have now.
      This is about archeology with the aid of space, not some political platform for bigots to spread their dogma.
      There is no evidence that this archeologist would loot anything. In fact, using radar from space, we can find and protect sites like the one found in this documentary.
      Larry, you need to stick to the political documentaries if you need to yap about how evil the United States of America is.

  2. m p

    i feel like this film was made in 1994... that outro song is cool though

  3. James

    The narrator is killing me. I'm naming him Captain Obvious.

  4. Dan Flynn

    At 18:25, the guy says "One of the keys to the protection of this forest would be if we find better and more uses of this natural product (the Chicle tree)...and let this forest be self-sustaining." That's really incredible that he would say that. I guess I could cut him some slack, since he's an archaeologist and not a biologist, for thinking that a forest is not self-sustaining all on its own. Why do humans need to be involved in some way for a forest to be self-sustaining? And why would it help protect the forest to be harvesting something that grows in it?

    1. Mike Horne

      I thought the comment about the forest becoming self-sustaining was very important. It upset me that he did not elaborate on it further. My interpretation is the archaeologist feels that if more uses were found for the trees, the locals would be less likely to cut them down. If the locals could use the trees as a means of producing a living by "farming" them ie., using bark, leaves etc. for medicine and the like. Then they would be less likely to cut them down for grazing land or farm land etc. I truly believe this something most people in developed countries overlook. We have the luxury of finding ways of supporting ourselves without decimating the land around us, and we can actually protect our parks etc. However in a developing nation, the local populations may not have any means at their disposal outside of hunting, logging or raising animals to survive. I pass no moral judgment on this process, I simply would like to illustrate that he is right, if there were more and better uses for the trees they would not be clear cut.

  5. Epic Acid

    for more on this check out "Egypt's Lost Cities", not available here, look for it on icefilms

  6. sam

    nice documentary, its just a bit old but worth watching.
    Not a waste of time. Narrator once says "some expensive cars have a navigation system which can guide you to the restaurant", hehe!

  7. Xtofer

    Doco is a little dated but is still okay to watch if you can handle seeing bricks for phones and slabs for laptops.

  8. Mike Holland


  9. Mike Holland

    I should follow that statement with bonefides...

    Tagging along with Dr. Wolfman, in 1985 on the pacific coast, near Ocos and the frontier with Mexico, our archeomagnetic dating team took samples in the sea-side village. It struck me, at the time, just how much time and effort my mentor spent rubbing elbows with the locals, when the majority of the interaction I had with my Berkley based comrades back in Antiqua was with each other, and not with the subjects of the area we were studying. His good nature and communications and interest bore fruit as again and again he took us directly to a fire-pit and were able to collect stable samples for our dating baseline. Of course we had accurate maps and technology, but nothing seemed more helpful than relationships, when on the ground.

  10. Mike Holland

    It's so sad and funny to hear Dr. Hansen lament, after examining the looted trench, without irony, "They've looted this and we've lost this to science". What a wonderful tragedy to watch unfurl, as the entire documentary poses that science, technology and NASA has made this discovery possible, yet Dr. Hansen fails to mention the irony of the fact that poor, uneducated locals know exactly where to dig, in this great expanse, for treasure... What a sad realization that our hero is apparently blind to the irony he's exemplifying by uncovering the looters prior arrival.

    You don't need sky archeology. You need culturally sensitive scientists to TALK with locals and find exactly where the sites are. The foolish folly of millions spent to pull this team, with it's computers and phones into the jungle to arrive after poor campesinos have already done the same work with a donkey and dead-reckoning!

    Funny and sad and ultimately the same in most scientific fields, to date.

  11. Joe

    Philip you are free to live without technology if you would like, but don't complain when it gets so hot but theres no way to cool down, you want to get somewhere but it takes a week to walk there, there's something you would like to learn more about quickly but can't, you get sick and only evil technology can fix you, or you feel like venting about how you hate technology but you don't have the internet to reach the public with. I could go on and on with countless examples but keep being stuck on that idea of yours...

  12. Dweller

    @Skye-Hook: they mention the Orion issue in the film, nothing to notice in particular? Also not really surprising, mayas calculated (quite) exactly our sollarsystems movement through our (own) galaxy. Orion"It is one of the most conspicuous, and most recognizable constellations in the night sky" it's not surprising at all some Planners chose this "design".

    What I find surprising (or not) is the google-maps image of the area:

    According to the 2 mentioned (strange or stupidly) and displayed Longitudes and Lattitudes, it is near the "villages" Chiguan und Uaxactun, where you can zoom in quite well and see clearly a manmade treeless veggie field, about 500ft diametre.

    Ok, when looking at both sites they filmed on, at least someone would suppose a clearance / chopped trees at the higher site, the big "temple" ...what you find is a nice cloud formation covering it ;O) ...thanks, Google editors!

    What do you guys think:
    - where the mentioned datas wrong on purpose (why should you lead treasure hunters to your freshly discovered site?)

    - or are the datas right and a cloud just covered the big temple area, what a coincidence...

  13. queef kick

    sure does skye, bout those jews huh!

  14. Skye-hook

    Excellent documentary! Loved it! Did anyone else notice that the building outlines they showed in the Mirador area at one place mirror Orion? So I wasn't real surprized to learn that several other things there also refer to Orion. And the firepits- "refer" to Orion the myth on it says it refers to Orion as the beginning of creation. Whose creation? Gee, where have we learned of other great civilizations referring to Orion? Do I have enough fingers to count them on? Really makes ya wonder.

  15. drifter

    what Phillip said, but with cursing and wagging finger

  16. Tom

    Philip I get what you are talking about but I disagree with you, sure people lived for centuries without science but I think you are looking back at the past with rose tinted glasses. The life expectancy of humans is growing and people aren't dying from diseases as easily as they were before. Sure we haven't cured every disease or solved every problem but we live more comfortably than ever before. I think technology should be debated constantly for its relevance and show children the fun they can have without it but to get rid of technology all together just seems pointless. A nice idea though

  17. mj

    Nice doc.


    but what good is this EGO trip really , sure we get a fun video and feel we humans are important , but see it all froma different perspecitve , CREATE the problem then sell us all on THIER solutions .

    Us in our comfortable concrete caves depending on streams of resource funneled thru the SALESMAN ..... keep them entertained said the Roman ..... Where did it lead them ? and using the tools of science and historical evidence trails of comparabliblity ..where will it lead .. us ?

    but who cares live for today ..pyschopathic mindset .

    The tone of this , the voice over sounds so much like the movies of the 60's and disney science . RE- discovered from space then why is the information about the TOMB robber important it seems it was already KNOWN before the jusifacation of using HIGH TECHNOLOGY .... to sell you solutions not really needed , to maintain FUNDING !

    dates back to arostophines describing the confsue and conquer of humanity to insure FUNDING ,,, sacrifice and worship .

    it is only a human brought up in western values that would say the forest needs to be of more value than just in it's own being-ness , to value the forest in terms of gold or the paper money equal . Humanity lived and loved and raised many a family in that forest long before white man came along trying to find reasons to VALUE the chiclea tree .

    Imagine ... respecting the idea that HUMANS lived and loved for centurys before today sciences and WITH OUT THEM . We act as if that does not matter that we can not live without TECHNOLOGY but the evidence shows different . We lived century after century before the Blessing or curse of technology .

    the jade masks laid un valued for THOUSANDS of years .until western gold became the medium of life blood just a short 100 yearsa ago . Create the complex problem and sell us on the complex solution .

  19. HaTe_MaChInE

    If the archaeologist submitted himself to copious amounts of poking and prodding to get a Secret or TS clearance he might find interesting images available to him form the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, that is of course unless he has already done so. I was truly amazed to find out how common it is for a research scientists to have a clearance.

  20. No name

    Quite good