Few people know that the Smithsonian Institution curates one of the largest single collections of whole Mesoamerican ceramic artifacts in the world — more than 12,000, to be specific. But most of these objects are tucked away unseen by most people within the storage “vaults” that house all of the other massive museum collections, the largest in the world.
Now, after more than two years of research on the museum’s Central American ceramics collections under the sponsorship of the Smithsonian”s Latino Center, curator Ann McMullen and guest curator Alexander Villa Benitez of George Mason University have selected more than 160 objects from the museum’s vast collection of ancient ceramics from the region, and augmented it with other significant examples of work in gold, jade, copper, marble, shell and stone. Read more.
In her 22 years at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Virginia Fields helped make the museum a vital center of Latin American culture.
Virginia M. Fields, a leading scholar of early Mesoamerican art and archaeology who joined the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s curatorial staff in 1989 and devoted 22 years to making the museum a vital center of Latin American culture — partly by organizing major exhibitions such as last year’s “Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico" — has died. She was 58.
Fields, who had suffered from diabetes since her youth, died Wednesday night of long-term complications of the disease in a hotel in Mexico City. She had traveled there with her husband, photographer and filmmaker David Miller, to attend a professional conference and finalize plans for an upcoming exhibition, LACMA Director Michael Govan said. Read more.
It has taken technology almost two millennia to break one of the greatest secrets of the ancient Americas.
Archaeologists have discovered ‘a recreation of the underworld’ at the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico thanks to a radar device.
Researchers have only advanced 7 meters along the tunnel but the radar has revealed it to be 120 meters long and covered in symbols. It is thought that the passage leads to three chambers and may help explain the beliefs of the civilization.
Sergio Gomez Chavez, an archaeologist at Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, said: ‘At the end, there are several chambers which could hold the remains of the rulers of that Mesoamerican civilization.
'If confirmed, it will be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 21st century on a global scale.'
'We know that Teotihuacan was built as a replica of how they saw the cosmos, the universe. We imagine the tunnel to be a recreation of the underworld.' Read more.
MEXICO CITY - Researchers found a tunnel under the Temple of the Snake in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, about 28 miles northeast of Mexico City.
The tunnel had apparently been sealed off about 1,800 years ago.
Researchers of Mexico’s National University made the finding with a radar device. Closer study revealed a “representation of the underworld,” in the words of archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez, of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Experts found “a route of symbols, whose conclusion appears to lie in the funeral chambers at the end of the tunnel.”
The structure is 15 yards beneath the ground, and it runs eastward. It is about 130 yards long.
“At the end, there are several chambers which could hold the remains of the rulers of that Mesoamerican civilization. If confirmed, it will be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 21st century on a global scale,” Gomez Chavez said late Thursday. Read more.
TORONTO.- In a media event held today at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the ROM and the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) have announced that the two institutions will host Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World, a remarkable exhibition highlighting the ancient Mesoamerican civilization’s Classic Period (250 to 900 AD) and its notable achievements. As visitors journey into the heart of a great Maya city, many of the mysteries surrounding the Maya are examined and their secrets revealed.
In collaboration with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the ROM and the CMC bring together a collection of artifacts, many never-before-seen in Canada, to illuminate the relationships between the Maya civilization’s ruling class and the balance of its society. The exhibition premieres at the ROM from Saturday, November 19, 2011 to Monday, April 9, 2012 prior to traveling to the CMC from May 18 to October 28, 2012. Read more.
Talk about a sweet deal—prehistoric peoples of Mesoamerica may have traded chocolate for gems from the U.S. Southwest, a new study suggests.
Traces of a chemical found in cacao—the main ingredient in chocolate—were found in several drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito, a complex of sandstone “great houses” in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
Ancestral Puebloan peoples built the complex, the epicenter of the ancient Chaco culture, in stages between A.D. 850 and 1150.
But cacao, a tropical fruit that grows in Central and South America, was cultivated in prehistoric times only in Mesoamerica, a region that stretches from Mexico to Costa Rica (see map).
The findings suggest the New Mexico complex also served as a trading hub for Mesoamericans and Puebloans between the 11th and 14th centuries—and that the two groups had a “much tighter connection” than previously thought, said study leader Dorothy Washburn. Read more.
Chocolate may have provided sweet impetus for extensive trade between ancient northern and southern societies in the Americas. Pueblo people living in what’s now the U.S. Southwest drank a cacao-based beverage that was imported from Mesoamerican cultures in southern Mexico or Central America, a new chemical analysis of Pueblo vessels finds. Read more.