(This post was originally intended to be part of a series of articles which were published in Ufologist Magazine in Australia, but unfortunately it ceased publication after the first four were published.)
The Ecuador Tunnels Hoax
In his 1973 book The Gold of the Gods von Daniken claims that he and Juan Moricz explored an underground tunnel system which ran for hundreds of miles in Ecuador. He wrote,
“To me this is the most incredible, fantastic story of the century. It could easily have come from the realms of Science Fiction if I had not seen and photographed the incredible truth in person. What I saw was not the product of dreams and imagination, it was real and tangible.”
Von Daniken described entering the cave,
“We switched on our torches and the lamps on our helmets, and there in front of us was the gaping hole which led down to the depths. We slid down a rope to the first platform 250 feet below the surface. From there we made two further descents of 250 feet. Then our visit to the age-old underworld of a strange unknown race really began.” 
Anyone, who reads this and von Daniken’s use of the first person, would conclude that von Daniken is saying he went into the cave and saw these things himself.
He described how they entered “a hall as big as the hangar of a Jumbo Jet … Galleries leading in different directions branched off it.” They went down a side passage to another hall which measured 153 feet by 164 feet where there was a library comprising 2-3000 metal plaques, about three feet high and one foot wide with writing upon them .
However, Juan Moricz later said that von Daniken never entered the caves. In a 1974 interview with Playboy, he was asked, “Which of you is telling the truth?”
Von Daniken replied, “I guess we both are telling half the truth.” He went on, “In German we say a writer, if he is not writing pure science, is allowed to use some dramaturgisch effekte – some theatrical effects. And that is what I’ve done.”
The interviewer asked, “Did you, in fact, see things you describe? Seven chairs made of a plastic like material, a zoo of solid-gold animals, a library of gold plates?”
Von Daniken replied. “Definitely. No doubt. I must say I am not sure, anymore, if the so-called zoo is made of gold. It could be something different.” 
In his 2009 book History is Wrong von Daniken quotes his description of the metal library from The Gold of the Gods, but it is edited in such a way that he now does not claim to have it himself . He now says the description of the metal library came for Juan Moricz  who only took von Daniken into a side cave,
“Afterward, we crawled a few meters into the cave. From deep within the dull depths we could hear the rumbling of water … Apart from a few strange figures and stone sculptures that stood out in the scampering torchlight, there was little to see. Certainly no metal library.”
Von Daniken is contradicting himself. The 1974 Playboy interview also reports how von Daniken has three convictions for embezzlement and court psychiatrists said he displayed “a tendency to lie” and was “a liar and a criminal psychopath.” 
The Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are a series of lines in the Nazca Desert in Peru. Many are straight lines which run for hundreds of metres. Others form drawings of animals. They can only be appreciated from the air.
In Chariots of the Gods? von Daniken writes, “The archaeologists say they are Inca roads. A preposterous idea!” 
No archaeologist thinks the Nazca Lines are roads.
He continued. “Seen from the air, the clear-cut impression that the 37-mile -long plain of Nazca had on me was that of an airfield!” 
The 1970 documentary Chariots of the Gods? says. “There’s no doubt. They were landing fields. The Plain of Nazca is a gigantic abandoned airport.” 
In his 1977 book According to the Evidence, von Daniken writes. “So it was a landing-ground for the extra-terrestrials.” 
The Ancient Aliens episode “The Evidence” asks, “Could the complex set of lines covering Peru’s Nazca plain …. be evidence of runways for a worldwide air transportation system?” 
In The End of Days Zecharia Sitchin suggested Nazca was the last spaceport of the Anunnaki and the lines were the product of spaceships taking off when the aliens left Earth .
The Nazca Lines may look like runways but some are over 8 kilometres long. One is 60 kilometres long. They are too long to be runways unless the aliens had invented interplanetary travel but not brakes.
Furthermore, the ground is too soft for any aircraft to land there. The German archaeologist Maria Reiche, who began studying the Nazca Lines in 1940, commented. “I’m afraid the spacemen would have gotten stuck.” 
In his book The Ancient Aliens Question Philp Coppens writes,
“Today, owners of local airplanes offer tourists the experience of making an “aborted landing” on the lines: The pilots prepare for a landing as if the lines were an airport, and just before the landing, the plane pulls up again.” 
This may give the impression of landing fields but it actually proves they were not, because if they did try to land, they would crash in the soft ground. Coppens also points out that if aircraft did land there, they would have blown the lines away,
“The problem is simple: If a plane ever did manage to land on the lines, on the rough terrain, the sheer displacement of air would result in the lines being blown off. The top soil would once again cover the scraped-off areas, and the white lines of the soil underneath would disappear.” 
In History is Wrong von Daniken denied ever saying the Nazca Lines were landing strips for aliens,
“Finally, just to hammer it in a bit more for those who still cottoned on: I never wrote in any of my books that aliens built the “landing strips”, or that the site is some kind of “spaceport!”
The Palenque Sarcophagus
In the Temple of the Inscriptions in the Mayan city of Palenque in Mexico lies the sarcophagus of King Pakal I (615-683 AD). Erich von Daniken says the carving on the sarcophagus lid shows a man in a rocket,
“There sits a human being, with the upper part of his body bent forward like a racing motor-cyclist: today any child would identify his vehicle as a rocket. It is pointed at the front, then changes to strangely grooved indentations like inlet ports, widens out and terminates at the tail in a darting flame. The crouching being himself is manipulating a number of undefinable controls and the heel of his left foot on a kind of pedal. His clothing is appropriate: short trousers with a broad belt, a jacket with a modern Japanese opening at the neck and closely fitting bands at arms and legs. With our knowledge of similar pictures, we should be surprised if the complicated head gear were missing. And there it is with the usual indentations and tubes, and something like antenna on top. Our space traveller – he is clearly depicted as one – is not only bent forward tensely, he is also looking intently at an apparatus hanging in front of his face. The astronaut’s front seat is separated by struts from the rear portion of the vehicle, in which symmetrically arranged boxes, circles, points and spirals can be seen.” 
Admittedly, this does look like a rocket, but von Daniken is reading too much into this image. The hands are not manipulating controls or anything else. David Hatcher Childress, who now appears on Ancient Aliens, pointed out in his 1992 book Lost Cities of North and Central America, he is bare-chested and barefoot,
“It was a bizarre scene, though von Daniken’s explanation didn’t make sense to me. The man was barefoot and wore no shirt, a typical dress for the Maya, but is this how one dresses when one is in one’s spaceship? Maybe tomorrow’s astronauts will wear surfer shorts and rubber flip-flops.” 
If it is a rocket, it would be about four metres long. Where are the fuel tanks? Childress further argues that interplanetary travellers would not use rockets,
“Lastly, it seems unlikely that any sort of rocket power was ever used in the past or will be ever be used in the future, by visiting astronauts or ancients returning to earth. That other civilizations (of other planets or from earth) would have ever travelled via rocket power is unlikely considering the nature of flying saucers, conventional airships and the science of anti-gravity, gravity control and electro-magnetic space craft.”
Then, there is the problem of the bird on the tip of the “rocket”.
Archaeologists believe the “rocket” is a representation of the Mayan World Tree which viewed the universe as consisting of three planes, the underworld, this terrestrial world and the upper world or heaven. The roots of the World Tree went down into the underworld or Xibalba, which ancient aliens believers interpret as the flames of the rocket, while the top of the tree reached into heaven, symbolized by the Celestial Bird. The soul of Pakal is travelling along the World Tree, rising out of the jaws of the underworld, which ancient aliens believers interpret as the back of the rocket, rising towards heaven. Other interpret it as Pakal falling backwards into the underworld.
This makes sense when we see similar iconography on other temples at Palenque, the Temple of the Cross and the Temple of the Foliated Cross built by Pakal’s son Kan Balam (684-702 AD).
Other Mayan claims
Erich von Daniken has made some other strange claims about the Maya. In his book Chariots of the Gods? he suggests the Sacred Cenote (“sacred well”) at Chichen Itza was possibly made by a meteorite . However, the documentary Chariots of the Gods? says,
“It is a perfectly round crater in the rock. It couldn’t possibly have been formed naturally, nor could human hands alone have scooped it out. It resembles a crater made by the exhaust gases of a very powerful rocket engine.” 
Since the well is about 65 metres deep and 40 metres wide, it would have been a very big rocket, too big to lift off. The well is not a meteorite crater either. It is a sinkhole created by underground water dissolving the limestone.
Von Daniken asks, “How did the Maya know about Uranus and Neptune?” 
There is no evidence the Maya knew about Uranus and Neptune . Like other ancient civilizations, they were only aware of the planets which could be seen with the naked eye. In fact, the Maya believed the world rested on the back of a crocodile, which suggests they did not receive any astronomical knowledge from aliens .
Tiwanaku and Puma Punku
The ruins of Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco are located near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Part of the site includes the temple complex of Puma Punku. The Ancient Aliens episode “The Mystery of Puma Punku” says that the archaeologist Arthur Posnansky dated Puma Punku to 15000 BC . Posnansky believed that the Kalasasaya temple down the road at Tiwanaku was meant to be aligned so that the sun would rise over the cornerstones at the summer and winter solstices. It doesn’t, but it did 15000 years ago, so, according to Posnansky, this meant Tiwanaku was built 15000 years ago. That would be 13000 BC, not 15000 BC. Or maybe it was not meant to align at all .
In contrast, conventional archaeologists date Puma Punku to around 600 AD.
Erich von Daniken says that the Incas told the Spanish Conquistadors that they did not build Puma Punku, but said that “This was made by the gods in one single night” . The first part is true. The Incas did not build Puma Punku. Their empire was founded around 1300 AD. However, Puma Punku was not built overnight, but in three stages . Moreover, it looks like Puma Punku was not even finished.
As I mentioned earlier when it came to Stonehenge and Baalbek, local people do not necessarily know who built older monuments in their area. Outside archaeologists can have a better idea. Just because the locals attribute them to the gods or giants does not mean we should take their legends seriously.
Ancient aliens believers usually claim that the Great Pyramid and other ancient structures were built by humans using alien technology. However, they believe Puma Punku was actually built by aliens. Giorgio Tsoukalo says, “Puma Punku is the only site on planet Earth that, in my opinion, was built by extraterrestrials.” 
Puma Punku is not as impressive as the Great Pyramid or Baalbek. The definitive proof for ancient aliens is supposed to be rectangular recesses which have been cut into the blocks, particularly the large H-shaped blocks. The Ancient Aliens episode “The Mystery of Puma Punku” shows a CGI light going over some of the carvings, suggesting that they must have been cut by lasers .
Ancient aliens believers are a bit confused about what these blocks are made of. In Knowledge Apocalypse Jason Martel says they are made of granite and diorite  . In the episode “The Mystery of Puma Punku” David Hatcher Childress repeatedly says the blocks are made of granite . It would be difficult for people to carve right angles in hard granite with primitive tools, however, in the same episode the narrator says the blocks are andesite .
In The Enigma of Tiwanaku and Puma Punku Brien Foerster correctly says the blocks are made of andesite and sandstone . Foerster even appears with Childress at Puma Puku in “The Mystery of Puma Punku” . It is a pity he did not tell him what the blocks are really made of.
I do not see how being able to carve rectangular recesses into a block of andesite is more impressive than the ancient Egyptians being able to carve lifelike statues out of granite.
Childress is also shown holding a steel square against a block, saying, “You can see with this block of granite that it’s really been cut at very accurate right angles”  . Actually, you can see from the gap between the square and the surface that it is not a perfect right angle.
The Ancient Aliens episode “Chariots, Gods and Beyond” suggests that the Puma Punku blocks were made from moulds . However, in an article “The Engineers of Puma Punku” in Atlantis Rising Christopher Dunn describes how he measured four of the H-blocks and found they were not identical. They could not have been made for moulds .
In the episode “The Mystery of Puma Punku” stone from Puma Punku is taken to Christopher Dunn in his workshop who cuts it with a laser and a diamond saw and compares these modern cuts with the original cut surface under a microscope. The narrator says that “the comparison reveals distinct differences” . Dunn says that “whatever they used to cut the ancient surface must have been a different method.” In other words, it does not look like they used machine tools. This would appear to discredit their claims that some sort of advanced technology was used to cut the stones.
Dunn also dismissed the theory that the H-blocks were cut by lasers; “There is only word for such notions: Impossible.” 
In the Ancient Aliens episode “The Mystery of Puma Punku” the interviewees have different theories about what Puma Punku was. Erich von Daniken suggests it was an “alien base camp” . Brien Foerster suggests it was a factory . David Hatcher Childress suggests it was a “granite spaceport” . in an episode of another series In Search of Aliens, “The Mysteries of Puma Punku” Childress suggests that Tiawanaku and Puma Punku were “mining centres” .
An alien spaceport would presumably need a landing pad, hangars, a power generator, storage areas, living quarters and a command and communications centre. The Puma Punku complex consisted of an unwalled wet court, an unwalled esplanade leading to a terraced platform, which included a sunken court and a walled east court on the other side . The evidence does not support their speculations. Likewise, there is no evidence the area was an alien mining centre, such as a big hole in the ground.
In the 1950s the Feunta Magna bowl was purportedly discovered near Lake Titicaca. This is a stone bowl inscribed with what appears to be Sumerian writing. In the In Search of Aliens episode “The Mysteries of Puma Punku” David Hatcher Childress says, “The Feunta Magna Bowl is basically proof that the Sumerian Anunnaki came to South America.” 
Archaeologists assume the bowl is a hoax , but even if it authentic, it hardly proves that aliens from Sumer visited South America. People, capable of intercontinental and interplanetary travel, do not use stone bowls. If it is authentic, it only proves that the Sumerians reached South America, which would appeal to the likes of Graham Hancock, but it is not evidence for ancient aliens.
 Erich von Daniken, The Gold of the Gods, Corgi, London, 1975, 1973, p 1
 Ibid., p 6
 Ibid., p 7
 Ibid., p 9-10
 “Playboy Interview: Erich Von Daniken”, Playboy, August 1974, p 58
 Erich von Daniken, History is Wrong, New Page Books, New Jersey, 2009, p 91
 Ibid., p 99
 Ibid., p 109
 “Playboy Interview: Erich von Daniken”, op cit, p 51-52
 Erich von Daniken, Chariots of the Gods?, Corgi, London,1972, p 31
 Ibid., p 32
 “Chariots of the Gods”, Terra-Filmkunst, 1970, 90 min
 Erich von Daniken, According to the Evidence, Souvenir Press, London, 1977, p 336
 “The Evidence”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2010, 23 min
 Zecharia Sitchin, The End of Days, Harper, New York, 2007, p 244
 Loren McIntyre, “Mystery of the Ancient Nazca Lines”, National Geographic, May 1976, p 718
 Philip Coppens, The Ancient Aliens Question, New Page Books, New Jersey, 2012, p 146
 Ibid., p 147
 History is Wrong, op cit., 191
 Chariots of the Gods?, op cit., p 123-124
 David Hatcher Childress, Lost Cities of North and Central America, Adventures Unlimited Press, Illinois, 1992, p 196
 Ibid., p 198
 Chariots of the Gods?, op cit., p 127
 “Chariots of the Gods?”, op cit., 59 min
 Chariots of the Gods?, op cit., p 126
 Ronald Story, Guardians of the Universe, New English Library, London, 1980, p 56
 Clifford Wilson, Crash Go the Chariots, Master Books, San Diego, 1976, p 98
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2012, 3 min
 Jason Colavito, “Review of Ancient Aliens S04E06: The Mysteries of Puma Punku”, www,jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-ancient-aliens-s04e06-the-mysteries-of-pume-punku
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, op cit., 22 min
 William Isbell, “Politics and Palaces in the Andean Middle Horizon”, in Susan Evans and Joanne Pillsbury (editors), Palaces of the Ancient World, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Washington DC, 2004, p 229-230
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, op cit., 1 min
 Ibid., 29, 43 min
 Jason Martel, Knowledge Apocalypse, X-Facts, USA, 2012, p 44
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku” op cit., 3, 10, 12, 28 min
 Ibid., 5, 9, 10 min
 Brien Foerster, The Enigma of Tiwanaku and Puma Punku, USA, 2015, p 12
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, op cit., 5, 7, 10-11, 20, 30 ,42-43 min
 Ibid., 5 min
 “Chariots, Gods and Beyond”, Ancient Aliens, History Channel, 2009, 48 min
 Christopher Dunn, “The Engineers of Puma Punku”, Atlantis Rising, No. 103, Jan-Feb 2013, p 64
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, op cit., 8 min
 Ibid., 9 min
 “The Engineers of Puma Punku”, op cit., p 64
 “The Mystery of Puma Punku”, op cit., 24 min
 Ibid., 29 min
 Ibid., 28 min
 “The Mysteries of Puma Punku”, In Search of Aliens, History Channel, 2014, 34 min
 “Politics and Palaces in the Andean Middle Horizon”, op cit., p 230
 “The Mysteries of Puma Punku”, op cit., 34 min
 “10 Amazing discoveries That Won’t Make You Question Everything”, https:badarchaeology.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/10-amazing-discoveries-that-wont-make-you-question-everything