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the Guanches, Basques, Berbers & Sea People => Guanches, Basques & Berbers => Topic started by: Guanche of Tenerife on May 29, 2008, 12:01:19 am

Title: The Lost Pyramids of Guimar
Post by: Guanche of Tenerife on May 29, 2008, 12:01:19 am
The Lost Pyramids of Guimar

Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 (CST) by Thoth

Sitting around 100 kms off Morocco on the North East coast of Africa between the 28th and 29th northern parallels and the 16th and 17th western meridians, eleven volcanic Islands make up the archipelago of the Canary Isles.

Although well known in Europe, few people outside the continent have even heard of the Islands let alone the mysteries they hold. The Canary Islands could contain definitive proof that ancient people crossed the globe by sea long before Columbus ever did.

That proof might well lie in a large pyramid complex on the biggest of the Islands, Tenerife; and in the research of the Norwegian explorer, anthropologist and author, the late Dr Thor Heyerdahl. Realising that the pyramids were extremely similar to the step pyramids found in Peru, Mexico and ancient Mesopotamia, Dr Heyerdahl spent the last few years of his life living in Guimar, supervising the archaeological mission to survey and preserve the six step pyramids and the complex they were part of.

The fact that this vast development exists is undeniable, the question is, who built it and why, and does it offer us proof that there was sustained contact between ancient people far beyond what conventional archaeology would have us believe?

Until their conquest at the hands of the Spanish conquistadores, the Guanches, a mysterious people of whose history and culture little is known, inhabited Tenerife. Part of the reason for this lack of knowledge stems from the fact that the ancient culture was all but overrun by the invading Spaniards, partly due to the sporadic eruptions of Mount Teide and partly due to a lack of investment in archaeology in the region.

The Canaries’ unique geographical location has made the Islands an important point in maritime routes for hundreds of years; Columbus, for example, used it as his last port of call before he made the long trip across the Ocean to America. For years there has been dispute as to whether Columbus or Leif Eriksson actually discovered America first, but there seems to be a strong possibility that both of them were centuries too late and that the people of Mesoamerica and the Islanders of Tenerife actually established expeditions or even trade routes between their civilisations much earlier.

Convinced that ancient people were not only sea faring but also pioneers and explorers themselves, Heyerdahl set out to show that modern science under-estimated long-forgotten aboriginal technologies. In 1947, he and five companions set sail from Peru in an aboriginal raft called the Kon Tiki, named after a pre Incan Sun God. They successfully crossed 8000 kms of ocean to reach Polynesia in 101 days using nothing that wasn’t available to the ancient people of Peru, demonstrating that the ancient Peruvians could have reached Polynesia by sea in this manner.

His theory suggested that the first wave of migrants had reached Polynesia via Peru and Easter Island on balsa rafts. Centuries later, a second ethnic group reached Hawaii in large double-canoes from British Columbia.

In the foreword to the 35th edition of ‘Kon-Tiki, Across the Pacific by Raft’, Dr Heyerdahl wrote:

"The Kon-Tiki expedition opened my eyes to what the ocean really is. It is a conveyor and not an isolator. The ocean has been man's highway from the days he built the first buoyant ships, long before he tamed the horse, invented wheels and cut roads through the virgin jungles."

Just over twenty years later, Heyerdahl bought 12 tons of papyrus reeds and worked with experts to construct a second ancient style vessel, this time a reed boat, which he named ‘Ra’ after the Egyptian Sun God. Ra was launched from the old Phoenician port of Safi, Morocco.

Title: Re: The Lost Pyramids of Guimar
Post by: Guanche of Tenerife on May 29, 2008, 12:02:09 am

Sadly, Ra sank shortly before completing its epic voyage (due to human error at the design stage) but had sailed far enough to prove Heyerdahl’s theory. Less than a year later, Dr Heyerdahl tried the same voyage with the smaller (12 meter) Ra II, a scale model of which can be found at the Parque Etnografico. Parque Etnografico is the open air museum that Dr Heyerdahl and shipping magnate Fred Olsen built at Guimar to preserve the pyramids and the valuable research for future generations. This vessel also sailed from Safi and crossed the widest part of the Atlantic, from Safi to Barbados, a distance of 6100 kms in 57 days.

What these epic journeys had shown is that ancient people did have the technology to navigate huge stretches of ocean successfully. If Dr Heyerdahl’s theories are correct, then it is clear that those same seafarers might have been responsible for the construction of the pyramid complex discovered at Guimar on Tenerife. Dr Heyerdahl and others involved in the project believed that the Guimar pyramids could well be evidence of pre-European voyagers who sailed the Atlantic in ancient times, and that they may have forged a link with the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas or conversely, evidence of pre-Colombian seafarers who made contact with the Islands on their way to Europe. The idea that Europe might have been discovered by South American people is of course a subject bound to fuel debate, but in light of Guimar, it has to be a serious consideration. If Peruvian explorers first travelled across the Pacific and settled in Polynesia, is it possible that Tenerife was settled in a similar way and that the Peruvian pioneers built their temples and pyramids along similar lines as to the ones they had left back home?

Few scholars endorse the idea that American Indians navigated the oceans in the way Thor Heyerdahl suggested and discount the hypothesis largely on linguistic, genetic and cultural grounds, all of which point to the settlers having come from the east, not the west. However, none of the scholars have come up with a convincing explanation as to how the Canary Isles ended up with their own step pyramids.

In the 1980s, Dr Heyerdahl directed the excavation of South America's largest pyramid complex, Tucume, in Peru, where researchers found reliefs of bird-headed men navigating reed ships, this is often cited as further evidence that men sailed along the Pacific coast long before the Spanish conquest

Dr Heyerdahl suggested that the Guimar pyramids, which were constructed using local black volcanic stone, were built using techniques similar to pyramids found in Mexico, Peru and ancient Mesopotamia. The pyramids are flat-topped like the majority of the South American pyramids, where the flat-topped stepped platforms often had a small temple on the top, not unlike the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Egyptian pyramids, with the exception of the stepped pyramid at Saqarra which is one of the earliest ones, were largely smooth faced and sharply pointed.

Title: Re: The Lost Pyramids of Guimar
Post by: Guanche of Tenerife on May 29, 2008, 12:03:42 am
The Guimar complex


Archaeologists still know surprisingly little about the pyramids that form the complex although excavations indicate that there was a community based around them. The complex comprises of six step pyramids, which are aligned to the East, suggesting that they were used to worship the sun. During the solstice, they are reported to line up with the sunset in a distinctive spot on the mountainous horizon.

Terraces and ceremonial pathways lead up to the pyramids from all directions. Pens or enclosures, thought by archaeologists to be used to keep sacrificial goats, are still evident. It should also be said that goats also played a part in the invocation of the Gods without always being sacrificed.

Although the Guanches appear to have believed in one supreme deity, there does seem to have been a reliance on possibly earlier beliefs, as Gods were invoked during times of calamities such as droughts. One of the methods used to ask for rain was to remove the adult goats from their kids and make them fast for three days, the bleating of the hungry young goats were thought to please the gods who would reward the people with the much needed rain.

Interestingly, the Canarian natives are known to have practiced a form of mummification known as ‘mirlado’ although this funerary practice seems to have been restricted to the highest of social classes.

There are undoubtedly parallels between the Mesoamerican cultures and the Canary Island cultures. Artefacts have been found on the islands that are almost identical to ones found in South America. On the neighbouring isle of Gran Canaria, there is a small cave named “Cueva Pintada”. What is interesting about the cave is the unique geometric paintings from the native Guanche. The paintings consist of red, black, and white squares, spirals, and triangles. Their meaning is not clear, some researchers suggest they are symbols of female fertility or the expression of religious beliefs, but they also seem strangely reminiscent of artefacts and colours and designs used in Bolivia at around that time. Tenerife and its surrounding islands were colonised by the Spanish in 1496, causing significant changes to the social, political, religious and cultural life of the aboriginal world. This Spanish colonisation resulted in a new city built over the aboriginal settlement and thus, the "Cueva Pintada" cave was lost for many generations.


Dr Thor Heyerdahl spent his life gathering evidence that seafaring sun-worshippers crossed the oceans in prehistoric times. The pyramids of Guimar are probably one of the biggest indicators we have so far found that he was correct.

Dr Heyerdahl was an ardent exponent of the diffusionist school of cultural anthropology, which holds that cultural similarities between geographically separated societies (such as the building of step pyramids that are aligned to the sun), are not necessarily spontaneous coincidence but are sometimes the result of actual contacts in antiquity. After a lifetime of research, he commented:

"I have proved that all the ancient pre-European civilizations could have intercommunicated across oceans with the primitive vessels they had at their disposal. I feel that the burden of proof now rests with those who claim the oceans were necessarily a factor in isolating civilizations”

The pyramids of Guimar seem to echo that sentiment and place the ball once more firmly in the court of conventional archaeology.

Related link:

There are over 70 photographs of the pyramid complex of Guimar in our Gallery. Check them out, by clicking here.


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