Meet the Maya - ‘Behind the Scenes’ at the British Museum
- ‘Behind the scenes’ at the British Museum, with Maya objects and documents of Mayanists such as Catherwood and Maudslay
- An insight into the enduring mystery of a magnificent civilisation
- Small group size
The ancient Maya are widely regarded as one of the greatest and most original civilizations of the New World and even today, there is a considerable romance to Maya archaeology.
The distinguishing characteristics of the ancient Maya and Maya culture and the dramatic story of their discovery has involved a colourful cast of characters. Since the early 19th Century, the British have played an important role, from Frederick Catherwood, archaeological illustrator, to Alfred Maudslay, who documented some of the Maya centres such as Tikal, Palenque, Copan and Yaxchilan.
Maudslay’s marvellous photographs and drawings, his plaster casts of stelae and altars and a number of important pieces of sculpture that he sent home to England, are now in the galleries of the British Museum. The priceless record that he compiled has been of crucial importance in the decipherment of Maya writing, achieved during the last few decades. This enables us to read Maya history from the great monuments and works of art commissioned by their rulers.
- The New World
- Small Group
Morning: 09:45am Start
09:45 - Meet and enjoy coffee at the Holiday Inn
10:00 - We begin with an introductory lecture on Maya archaeology
11:15 - Coffee break before the lecture continues
11:45 - A discussion of the Maya project at Lamanai northern Belize
12:45 - Taxis to lunch venue
14:15 - We walk to the British Museum and visit the Students Rooms to view some ancient Maya objects not currently on public display. We also examine books, engraving and photographs by Frederick Catherwood and Alfred Maudslay. Then a guided tour of the Mexican Gallery, containing Maya jades and the famous Yaxchilan lintels. We end the day viewing other Maya material, including Maudslay's imposing plaster casts which are on display at the nearby galleries.
16:30 - Disperse
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue
Academically rigorous yet accessible and fascinating - David's enthusiasm and knowledge very infectious! What a treat to go 'behind the scenes'. Very helpful reading list. 100 % value for money.
Good background information in the morning, followed by current archaeological work. A lovely lunch and then being able to handle artefacts at the British Museum and tour the relevant galleries. It all flowed smoothly and linked together so well to ensure you gained fuller understanding. Seeing those wonderful diaries of early explorers and the outstanding engravings was a big highlight for me.
It was good to have time to listen and think about sites not generally covered on TV and the like. It is also always great to be able to go "behind the scenes" at the British Museum and to see artefacts close to , and to handle them, and to have an archaeologist like David Drew on hand to explain and discuss.
I knew very little about the Maya and even less about how their civilisation was rediscovered, so it was all fascinating.
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What to expect
- An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
- A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
- Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
- Small Groups 12-25 guests
- The company of like-minded people!