This is the photo that I most regret was not in color in the book. It is the flame that shot up 6 feet into the sky when we ignited the cement kiln. This spectacular reaction occurred when we prepared the scale model of a Maya cement kiln for a History Channel episode. We followed the descriptions for a cement kiln detailed in the Carnegie Institution publication by Earl H. Morris during the consolidation of The Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza. We built it as close as possible to his descriptions of how the workers produced cement in 1931. Morris contends that "at the present time (this) is an ancestral heritage that has come down through the centuries with practically no change, except the substitution of steel for stone tools. Hence, a detailed description will not be amiss, for it will recast with close fidelity the procedure followed in this particular ramification for the building trade in the days before the Conquest.”
A few moments after Michael Guillen, host of the show, lit our scale model it literally exploded into the sky, just like a good blast furnace should.
Here is a video of our scale model in action: