Deciphering Maya Civilization Winter 2022

Class Details

Maya civilization is one of the most celebrated Pre-Columbian societies of Central America. Its apogee during the Classic period in the first millennium C.E. saw dozens of complex states, populous cities, hundreds of stone carved monuments and polychrome vessels painted with palace scenes recording the life of the rich and powerful elites. This Winter Study course will focus on one corpus of polychrome vessels, called the Ik’ Polychrome Style painted at the Maya center of Motul de San José in northern Guatemala. We will reconstruct what these Ik’ Style polychrome vases tell us about Classic Maya civilization, and more specifically, about the political, social, economic and religious life of Maya elites. The course will take a project-based experiential approach as each student will research an individual Ik’ Style vase from museum collections, including those at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), which we will visit at the beginning of Winter Study.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 15
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation; final 10-15 page paper on the chosen Maya polychrome vessel
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: majors in ANTH OR SOC, or students who have already taken an archaeology course

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