Archaeology  Digging Up The Past

The Great Maya: Gods and Kings

Four Fridays • 1 p.m.-2:45 p.m. • Mackey Auditorium

Instructor : Bonnie Shirley     Coordinator : Patti Chikahisa

In this archaeology course students will understand the place of the Maya in Mesoamerican history, and they should be able to distinguish between pre-classic and classic Maya timelines by art and social complexity.

Topic and Date


The Rise of the Maya

September 15

The beginnings of a great civilization are found in the tropical rainforest, including Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. We will discuss the period from about 13,000 years ago to AD 250 including the building of Cerros, connections to the Olmec and earliest writing.

Pakal the Great and the Building of Palenque, 603 AD to 683 AD

October 13

This is the classic Maya period, with the evolution of the art and the social complexity of the Maya. Most of the city remains hidden under the jungle canopy, so what do archaeologists know of this great city in Southern Mexico?

Establishment of Tikal

November 17

Tikal, established 400 BC, reached its greatest power and extent during classic Maya times in Guatemala. Was there any connection to Teotihuacan? They built causeways to traverse the great city during the rainy season. 

The Persistence of Chichen Itza

December 1


Chichen Itza in Mexico was one of the largest Maya cities and persisted late into time until possibly at least 1200 AD. Maya science and astronomy are present in the buildings. Why did Chichen Itza have the largest ball court in the Americas, and did losers lose more than the game? How important was human sacrifice among the Maya?