Maya

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The ruined cities of the ancient Maya have captured our imaginations since news of their discovery in the jungles of Central America in the mid-19th century. Research has revealed a culture with a sophisticated worldview that, during its Classic period (250 – 900 AD), rivaled any European civilization. The Maya built elaborate cities without modern machinery or use of the wheel, communicated using one of the world's first written languages, measured time using complicated calendar systems, and had an advanced understanding of astronomy and agriculture.

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, the largest exhibition of its kind in the United States, invites you to uncover the rise and eventual decline of this majestic civilization — including its social, natural, and spiritual realms — through never-before-seen artifacts, hands-on activities, multimedia components, and re-created environments.

Experience a cross-section of Maya life, from divine kings to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of their society. And learn how the Maya people and their culture endure to this day.

The member preview for this exhibit is October 11.

Presented in English and Spanish.

Made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photos © Stephen Alvarez, © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 92-49-20/C183, 60742874, © Treleven Photography

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Exhibit Highlights

  • Stand among towering stone monuments.
  • Discover the legend of the Maya ball game.
  • Admire colorful murals depicting war, celebration, and life.
  • Explore what everyday life was like through priceless artifacts.