James Turner
James was born November 8, 1970 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and completed his school-level and university studies in Canada, earning a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Literary Studies in 1993.

Early in 1995 Jim departed for a 5-month road trip to Mexico and Central America. Although completely ignorant of the existence of the ancient Mayan site of Palenque in southern Mexico, that area was to become the focus of Jimís later graduate studies and a topic of ongoing research that continues to the present day.

After visiting numerous ancient sites in the region, including Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, La Venta, Palenque, Tikal, Chichen Itza and Uxma, Jim developed a burgeoning interest in Mesoamerican archaeology, primarily focused on the site of Palenque. In 1996,
with a backpack loaded with textbooks on the ancient Maya, Jim began studying the Palenque ruins first-hand for the next four months.

Later that year, in September, Jim traveled to Chile to visit a friend he had met in Palenque and explore South America. A month later, he found himself landing upon the shores of Robinson Crusoe Island.

On the night of 17 November, Jim and many of the islanders witnessed the fiery reentry of a doomed Russian satellite originally bound for Mars, and the Chilean government began emergency procedures to attempt to locate and recover the plutonium batteries aboard the satellite in an effort to prevent radioactive contamination. Two weeks after the crash a cholera-like illness swept over the island at the same time as Jim began to discover dead birds on what were by now well-known paths. After a severe bout of stomach cramps, Jim began to suspect that radiation poisoning was responsible for the illnesses and avian deaths.

After attempting to explain his hypothesis to the authorities in halting Spanish, Jim departed for the uninhabited western side of the island, which would have been protected from the effects of the radiation by the island ridge and the wind and water currents. On 13 December 1996, Jim made camp on the plains of El Yunque and looked up to see the megalithic monument depicting the Mayan
Sun God.

As he was without any camera equipment, he drew sketches of the monument and studied it from a distance on several occasions until near the end of the month. The expiration of his tourist visa forced him to return to Santiago and leave for Bolivia at the beginning of the New Year.

In 1997, after almost two months of travel through Bolivia and Peru, including visits to La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Jim was convinced by a traveling companion to return to Robinson Crusoe to photograph the monument. This second trip consisted of only two days and one night, long enough to take several rolls of film of the monument and its surroundings. The light and shadow effects were visibly different from what he had observed several months earlier, the first indication that the monument contains intentional alignments to the annual stations of the solar cycle.

Jim made a third trip to the island at the end of 1997 with the intention of capturing the light and shadow effects of the December solstice. He spent more than a month on the island on this occasion. One of the highlights consisted of climbing to the summit of the monument on the day of the solstice. The rest of the time was spent searching through textbooks for an interpretation of the monument.

Jim returned home to Toronto and began making plans to
travel to Colombia for the total solar eclipse of 26 February 1998. The successful observation of this eclipse from the village of Turbo on the Gulf of Uraba in Colombia provided an experiential link to the eclipse imagery recorded in the Palenque inscriptions.

Jim then traveled to New York and enrolled at SUNY Albany in the Anthropology department, where he began his graduate studies in Mesoamerican Archaeology in 2000. After completing the required coursework, he began his thesis research under the supervision of John Justeson, a renowned Mayan scholar and linguist and decipherer of the epi-Olmec hieroglyphic writing system, the oldest in Mesoamerica and a precursor to the Mayan hieroglyphs. Jimís thesis introduced a potential Mayan zodiac derived from the Dresden Codex Venus Table and he was awarded his Master of Arts degree in 2005.

In recent years there have been a number of important astronomical events that were observed by Jim in the course of his research. A total lunar eclipse occurred in November 2003. He traveled to Italy in June 2004 to witness a rare transit of Venus, the first in over a century. A transit of Mercury occurred in 2006 but, due to inclement weather, could not be seen. Instead, Jim spent the time arranging a work space and officially launched what would become the Apocalypse Island Project: an effort to document his travels and the discovery of the island monument, along with the insights the monument had provided in his interpretation of the inscriptions at Palenque and the Mayan calendar. This work continues to the present day.
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