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    May 21, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

ANTH 1240 - The Ancient Maya

Goals: To have a focused exploration of the various epistemologies related to how we know what we know about the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica. To document the ancient cultural trajectories of the Maya region from the earliest human colonization during Pleistocene times through the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. To become familiar with and to compare archaeological and ethnohistoric information, theories, and controversies related to the emergence and sustainability and eventual collapse of ancient Maya civilization, and as well, to recognize the cultural continuities characterizing modern Maya descendent communities.

Content: The ancient Maya culture flourished in what are now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of adjacent Honduras and El Salvador. There in southern Mesoamerica—in a tropical environment viewed by many as “hostile”—we find monumental architectural complexes, a refined great art style, and evidence of a truly impressive and sophisticated civilization. The Maya region has evidence of some of the largest and most densely packed populations known until the advent of industrialization and modern medical advances. Their “experiment” in civilization had some fatal flaws that brought about their downfall around A.D. 900—centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. We stand to learn much from their experience.

Taught: Alternate years, fall term

Prerequisites: None; ANTH 1160 is recommended

Credits: 4