Studying Archaeology in Guatemala

The search is on for student funding at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala by Tomas Cernikovsky Famous for its breathtaking Mayan ruins, Guatemala has “great archaeological potential” for future studies, scholars say, but university tuition is beyond the reach of many potential archaeology students, especially those from indigenous families. That’s why leaders of the Archaeology Department at the Universidad […]

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Q & A with Dr. Marion Popenoe Hatch

Parque Nacional Tak’alik Ab’aj by Tomas Cernikovsky Parque Nacional Tak’alik Ab’aj (TA), a Mayan site on the South Coast of Guatemala, is unusual in two ways. It is the only site in the Mayan world that displays both Olmec and Mayan monuments concurrently and it has been continuously under exploration by Guatemalan archaeologists. At a well-reported press conference in October, […]

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Latest Discovery At Xultún

The Xultún find is the first place that all of the cycles have been found tied mathematically together in one place, representing a calendar that stretches more than 7,000 years into the future. —BBC News reports Written by. Annabella Cifuentes. The ancient Mayan megacity of Xultún (200-900 AD) is the site of the latest and greatest discovery by archaeologists—the oldest-known […]

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When Giants Roamed The Land

Octavio Alvarado (rt.) has become the enthusiastic caretaker of the  Chivacabé Mammoth site, near Huehuetenango, which now has a small museum.

FIFTY THOUSAND YEARS AGO We were in the middle of one of the Earth’s cool periods. Ice and snow covered much of the land. Massive glaciers grew to blanket vast expanses of South and North America. The highlands of Central America were a winter wonderland, where mastodon and megatherium frolicked. So much water was locked up in the ice that […]

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A Perfect Combination Of A Cultural And Natural Experience

Site of the  Royal Palace

Aguateca Written by. Helana Oswald If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination where you can visit an ancient Mayan city and experience nature, Aguateca, “the Sun-Faced Mountain,” might be the place. Located in the jungle atop a low limestone hill on the banks of Lake Petexbatún, it is well preserved and features an impressive natural chasm that is a must […]

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Yaxhá Lagoon and the Crocs

Croc and dragonfly (photo by Thor Janson)

There are two main gateways leading to the Mayan rainforest in the department of Petén, which forms Guatemala’s northern frontier. The main route takes you through the humid lowlands of the Motagua Valley and then north passing the magnificent Sweet River (Río Dulce), the jungle outpost of Poptún, and finally to the departmental island capital of Flores. The other, less-traveled […]

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What About 2012?

Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the University of Texas-Austin, speaks out on the subject. Long before Galileo tracked heavenly bodies in the 17th Century, the Maya watched the skies and developed a construction for time. What did they really say about 2012? “Absolutely nothing,” says Dr. David Stuart, archeologist and Schele Professor […]

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Historic sites in Guatemala, Belize on global watch list

The Mayan ruins of Quiriguá in Izabal and El Zotz in Petén, as well as the historic architecture of Belize City, have been included on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) 2012 Watch, a list of cultural heritage sites around the world at risk of damage or destruction from a variety of threats. With a mission of preserving the world’s architectural […]

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The Ancient Maya And The White-tailed Deer

Mayan deer whistle (courtesy of Museo de Arte Precolombino y Vidrio Moderno, Casa Santo Domingo)

Deer are among the 10 most commonly depicted animals on Mayan vases, plates and bowls of the Late Classic period. Although two species of deer inhabit the Mayan heartland, the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, is the one usually depicted in Mayan art. For the Classic Maya, the deer was in some ways as important as the jaguar, monkey and snakes. […]

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Macaws and Parrots in 3rd-9th Century Mayan Art

Military macaw (Ara militaris), Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve, Copán, Honduras (Nicholas Hellmuth)

by Dr. Nicholas M. Hellmuth The most remarkable deity in the ancient Mayan myth of the Popol Vuh is “Seven Macaw.” In reality this preening bird-creature is pictured in Classic Mayan art as a snake-eating raptor. So in most renditions in murals and pottery, Seven Macaw is a hawk-like composite creature without very many features of a macaw (other than […]

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Mayan Royal Tomb Unearthed

Fragmented lid of a vessel, with the head and painting of a peccary.

In the dense jungle of Guatemala, in the Petén Basin region which is home to the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, looming pyramids, looted tombs and overgrown paths that once served as Mayan superhighways speak of an era of ancient kingdoms and powerful warring dynasties. It’s easy to die and be forgotten here for thousands of years amid the thick […]

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Protecting the Past for the Future

Dr. Hansen with mask on excavated structure

Threatened by years of abuse and neglect, the Mirador Basin needs help and it needs it now. The 400-year sliver of history between the biblical Old and New Testaments, sometimes erroneously called the ‘silent years’, packed Planet Earth with progress. Alexander the Great studied at the feet of Aristotle and, zealous to unite the world under Greek culture, conquered his […]

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Mystery at Tak’alik Ab’aj

The proud team of excavators of the Tak’alik Ab’aj National Project who discovered Monuments 215 (in front) and 217

“Standing Stones” site yields unprecedented sculpture Archaeologists recently discovered ancient altars, monuments and an unprecedented stone sculpture at a 2.5-square-mile Mayan ruin near Retalhuleu in southwestern Guatemala. Representing both Olmec and Maya cultures, the Tak’alik Ab’aj (Standing Stones) site was inhabited for nearly 1,700 years, starting roughly in 1000 BC, and was a key trading center with ancient merchants traveling […]

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