University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore a topic of interest, please use the Blog Search function.


Maya Fun Fact: Human Sacrifice

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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!

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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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The Golden Age of King Midas

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