University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Maya

Un Gran Exito

Luis Reina, director of the Copan Sculpture Museum, accepts his Workshop Certificate from Dr. Loa Traxler

By: Lynn Grant

That’s how they say “A big success” in Honduras.  I learned that last week in Copan, the site where Penn Museum has been involved for over 25 years.  I went to Honduras in mid February with other Museum staff members (Dr. Loa Traxler, Bob Thurlow, and Tessa de Alarcon) for two purposes:  to see the […]

A Message from Copán Ruinas


By: Tessa de Alarcon

I am in Copan Ruinas, Honduras along with Lynn Grant and Loa Traxler working on the final touches for a workshop on field conservation.  This is my first time in Honduras and therefore in Copan.   The site is certainly a marvel, but I expected it to be.  The real surprise has been the CRIA (Centro […]

Registrars in Action: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Sledgehammer

Crate craned over wall

By: Stephanie Mach

If you have been to our Museum, odds are you’ve seen people carting around objects or rolling large crates through galleries and mysteriously disappearing behind locked doors.  Most likely, those people were Registrars.  When I’m asked what Museum Registrars do, I usually say we deal with record keeping and moving objects in, out, and around […]

Maya Fun Fact: The Importance of Corn


By: Ashley Harper

Corn is an important part of Maya culture. In the Popol Vuh, Maya cosmology holds that the Gods created the first humans from an ear of corn. Another sign of the importance of corn is the multiple names it has in Mayan language. The tortilla, a dietary staple, also has several names that  change depending […]

Maya Fun Fact: Human Sacrifice


By: Simon Martin

The Maya are well known for their achievements in counting and documenting time, but do they deserve a reputation for human sacrifice? For ancient Americans this was a ritualized practice that was considered a payment to the Gods for the gift of life. The Aztec are believed to have conducted mass human sacrifice, but the evidence we have for the […]

Photos from the MAYA 2012 Opening Celebration

By: Amy Ellsworth

The opening weekend of the MAYA 2012 exhibition was a huge success. The Museum was filled with colorful sites, sounds, and the smells of great Maya-inspired food. Some macaws and a turtle even showed up. Here are just a few of the pics of the day:

MAYA 2012: The Ancient Maya and Human Sacrifice

By: Gabrielle Niu

In the movie Apocalypto, Mel Gibson offers a very Hollywood portrayal of the human sacrifice rituals at end of the Maya Classical Period. While human sacrifice played a role in the ritual practices of the ancient Maya, it was not exactly as Gibson and Hollywood conceived of it. Loa Traxler, curator of MAYA 2012: Lords […]

Why are Zach and Courtney Hot Glueing Worry Dolls?

By: Amy Ellsworth

I walked into the Exhibits office today and saw bags and bags of what looked like little firecrackers. They always seems to have odd bulk shipments back there (fake hair, desiccated fruits, papier-mâché mummy parts), so I didn’t even question what they were doing with them. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were worry dolls, […]

Behind the Scenes of MAYA 2012: TIMELINE!

By: Gabrielle Niu

4000 years of Maya history in 25 feet? SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT with your host Kevin Schott: Read more about MAYA 2012: Lords of Time opening May 5!

Behind the Scenes of MAYA 2012 – The Lienzo de Quauhquechollan

By: Gabrielle Niu

The Lienzo de Quauhquechollan is an eight foot-wide, canvas, narrative-oriented “map” that tells the story of the 16th-century conquest of Maya land by the Quauhquechollan and Spanish conquistadores. A replica of the Lienzo is a highlight of the MAYA 2012: Lords of Time exhibit — see the video below to get a sneak peek of […]

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