Tag Archives: maya

One Woman’s Efforts to Celebrate Women’s History


Robyn Young, who visited Senior Archivist Alex Pezzati and me at the Museum in mid-June, is on a singular mission: to bring the stories and accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s women into the broader conversation of Pennsylvania history. A few years ago, when she did an informal review of the approximately 1,600 official historical markers throughout the […]

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Get to know Dr. Elin Danien: 2015 Volunteer of the Year


At this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon I was lucky enough to present the award for Volunteer of the Year to Dr. Elin Danien. It’s always hard to choose just one volunteer to specially highlight, but Elin has always been a standout. In her 40 years of working and volunteering at the Penn Museum she has […]

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Rainforest Reconnoitering

Drawing a defensive feature

Some of the most exciting archaeological fieldwork takes place during the survey phase of a project. Survey consists of various methods of covering a selected region to determine where concentrations of artifacts, features, and/or sites are present across the landscape. Survey usually makes up the preliminary phase of a project, which is why many of […]

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Maya Fun Fact: The Importance of Corn


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 […]

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Maya Fun Fact: Human Sacrifice


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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The new “Lords of Time”?


With the new MAYA 2012 exhibit up and running the concept of time and keeping track of time has been on my mind lately. A few years ago, on my way to a restaurant in San Francisco, my friend and I stumbled across a building with a sign that said “X Long Now”.  Intrigued, we […]

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Maya Vase from Chama, Guatemala [Object of the Day #21]

Chama Pot

This Maya polychrome ceramic ware from Chama, Guatemala was made around the 8th century CE. This pot is decorated with pictoral designs painted in several tints of red-orange and sepia on cream slip, red and black lines with typical Chama chevron band at top and bottom. Seven human figures in ceremony are accompanied by two […]

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Photos from the MAYA 2012 Opening Celebration

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:

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MAYA 2012: The Ancient Maya and Human Sacrifice

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!

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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Native American Voices at the Penn Museum