The Cydonia Institute
Through NASA’s own photographs the truth will be revealed
The Cydonia Institute                                                             Vol. 1 No. 4
The Face on Mars wears an Olmec Headdress
by George J. Haas
June 1998 (Revised 1999)
   The human-shaped head formation observed in DiPietro and Molenarr's enhancement of the original 1976 Viking image of the Face on Mars appeared to have an eye, nose and mouth and wore a tight-fitting helmet. Many early researchers suggested that the overall shape of the headgear resembled those worn by Olmec ballplayers (Figure 1.1).

Figure 1
1976 Face on Mars compared to an Olmec colossal head
Left: The second Viking image of the Face on Mars (70A13)
Right: Olmec colossal head - Monument 3 (La Venta)

   Besides the Olmec-like helmet feature, the most prominent feature on the left side of the 1998 Face image is the elaborate headdress, which has attracted a lot of attention among concerned researchers. (Figure 2).

Figure 2
1998 Humanoid side of the Face on Mars
Note flanged headdress and W-shaped emblem

The evidence of a Mars version of a sphinx and the apparent pyramidal structures in the surrounding area has some researchers, suggesting that this headdress feature may be another Egyptian link. This interpretation is fostered by the "lateral stripes" or "furrows" that run perpendicular to the gradual slope of the base, off the left side of the Face. The combined effect of the headdress and these faint "stripes" that run to the ground in an orderly fashion, have been interpreted by researcher Mike Bara1 as resembling an Egyptian death mask, much like the one worn by King Tutankhamen (Figure 3).

Figure 3
Egyptian Death Mask (King Tutankhamen)
Drawing by George J. Haas
(Image Source: History Unearth by Woolley)

    The appearance of a second Egyptian motif was also alluded to on the forehead of the Face by Mike Bara on his web site. An outlined object was detected at the center of the headdress that he and other researchers thought looked faintly like a protruding cobra. When this object or marking is viewed in the mirrored version of the Face (Figure 2), a very geometric "W" shaped mark appears right in the center of the forehead. In the original half image of the Humanoid side of the Face this "W" appears in a V-shape.  If this V-shaped object were intended to portray a profiled cobra, then it would have been represented as only one half of the Egyptian serpent and not a full cobra head. So perhaps this headdress did not have a direct Egyptian connection after all.
    After conducting a little research into this "W" shaped emblem with various styles of cultural headdress, a match was soon discovered. Unexpectedly this Martian insignia was found to be reminiscent of the three-point leaf configuration that the ancient Maya displayed on their headdress. As evident in this greenstone mask of the first century B.C., the Maya exhibited a three-pointed leaf emblem on their headbands to signify the "crown" of early kings (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Maya greenstone mask with crown emblem (Tikal)
Note the three-point W-shaped emblem

Drawing by George J. Haas
(Image source A Forest of Kings by Schele and Freidel)

    This basic triad crown emblem was adopted by the Maya from an earlier "Mother Culture" of Mesoamerica called the Olmec.2 The origins of the glyph was based on a corn sprout that denotes the transformational properties of corn3 (Figure 5).

Figure 5
Olmec three-pointed glyph
Drawing by George J. Haas
(Image source: Maya Cosmos by Freidel, Schele and Parker)

    It was also discovered that the Olmec incorporated the use of the same lateral striped or grooved feature on their headdresses, similar to the Egyptians. In a set of Olmec sculptures that were recently found in Mexico, a pair of kneeling twins wearing an Egyptian styled headdress were revealed in Veracruz (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Olmec twin sculptures (Veracruz)
Note the lateral striped headdress

Drawing by George J. Haas
(Image source: Olmecs, Arqueologia Mexicana (no. 19), by Beatriz De La Fuente)

    Surprisingly, this lateral striped effect is commonly known amongst archaeologists as a typical imprint of Olmec royalty. Whatever kind of rudimentary contact the ancient Olmec may have had with Egypt, it is clear that any attempt to establish an ancient inter-cultural alliance between these two civilizations is strongly denied by most scholars, despite the growing evidence (seen here and on Mars).


1. Mike Bara, “New Mars Face Image Analysis and Comment, Part III,” The Lunar Anomalies, 1999.

2. Linda Schele and David Freidel, A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya (New York: Quill, 1990), 115.

3. Linda Schele, David Freidel and Joy Parker, Maya Cosmos:Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path (New York: Quill, 1993), 

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