Tag Archives: New World

Explore the Mesoamerican Ball Game: Online and Interactive

589px-Maya_Vase_BallplayerKuddos to my student Matthew who sent me this website. We are on the Mesoamerican section right now in my history course. The ballgame was an integral and pervasive activity throughout Ancient Mesoamerica. It is in their history, religion, and art. It was one of the most socially and ritually important activities in the Ancient Americas.

The website “The Mesoamerican Ballgame” explores the history and significance of the ballgame throughout history. You can explore an interactive timeline, study its history among various cultures, and even see vide of the game being played today! It also includes lesson plans and activities for students of all grade levels.

The website was developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mint Museum of Art.

Mayan Tomb Holds Royal Burial

Archaeologists working at Uxul have uncovered a Royal Burial. The tomb contains the remains of a man in his early to mid-twenties and several artifacts indicative of a prestigious burial. The young prince, however, does not appear to have been first in line for the throne. A drinking vessel found with the Prince has several hieroglyphics that identify his royal status and provide an approximate date for the death and subsequent burial.

“We feel that the person that was buried there is a son of a local ruler, someone who was not in direct line to the throne, but we feel this ruler still had certain connections to the Calakmul dynasty,” – Kai Delvendahl

To learn more about this find, see the article on FoxNews and the Huffington Post.

Mass Grave Found in Mexico Identified as Ancient Victims

A mass grave recently uncovered in Mexico has, fortunately, been identified as more than 1,000 years old – putting to rest fears that they were victims of modern violence.

The grave contains more than 160 people (men and women) who were likely ritually sacrificed. The bones demonstrated markings of body modification ocular amongst the Ancient native inhabitants.

To learn more about this discovery, see the article at MSNBC.

Archaeologists in Texas Uncover Prehistoric Hut in San Antonio

Archaeologists working in San Antonio have recently uncovered a hut, dating to approximately 1,500 BCE, along the San Antonio River. This find proves that the natives of Southern Texas (often characterized as ‘primitive’) were in fact living in sophisticated communities replete with permanent structures.

To read more about the find, see the article in the Washington Examiner.

Sorry – the Maya did *not* Predict the End of the World in 2012

2012 – it’s been the subject of conspiracy theories, catastrophic predictions, and terrible, terrible films. People frequently cite the ‘ancient wisdom’ of the Maya that the end of the world is nigh. However, the 2012 phenomenon is one of the greatest fallacies of history. The Maya, in fact, never predicted the world would end in 2012

While it is true that the Mayan calendrical cycle, which spans approximately 5,125 years and begins with their creation event (in 3114 BCE) ends December 21, 2012 it does not mean dire and catastrophic world’s end. In fact, it simply means that the clock will start over (much like when the odometer goes from 999,999 it starts back over at 0).

So, don’t get all your crazy partying out now, plan for 2013. If you want to learn more about the Mayan Calendar and the consequences of 2012, see the article in National Geographic.

Archaeologists Uncover Nearly Pristine Mayan Road

Archaeologists from the University of Colorado Boulder have uncovered a nearly pristine Mayan road in El Salvador. The remains were covered by volcanic ash during an eruption in 600 CE.

The road was a surprise find for archaeologists, who stated: “Until our discovery, these roads were only known from the Yucatan area in Mexico and all were built with stone linings, which generally preserved well.”

To learn more about the find, see the article on Science Daily News.


“Triad of Felines” Monoliths Uncovered in Mexico

Recent excavations South of Mexico City in Chalcatzingo (a region known to have been connected with the Olmec culture) has uncovered a monolith, dating to approximately 700 BCE, depicting three feline figures (likely jaguars or mountain lions).

Triad Cat Monolith copyright National Geographic

After several months of piecing together the piece, archaeologists have revealed the completed work to the public. Its purpose is still unknown, but professionals assert that it had a type of ritualistic significance and may have served as a type of ‘religious bilboard’ scattered across the landscape.

“One of our hypotheses is that, in the time from 800 to 500 B.C., there was a frieze along the entire Cerro Chalcatzingo,” or “Chalcatzingo hill,” project member Mario Cordova Tello, an archaeologist with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), said in a statement.

The find will be instrumental in determining the relationship between the Olmec and the Native inhabitants of Chalcatzingo. Read more about the find in this National Geographic Article.