Unearthing Xultun: New Discoveries in Maya Science and Art

Cambridge, MA, Sept. 17, 2012 - First discovered in 1915, and still buried by more than a millennium of tropical forest growth, the wealth of the once-thriving Maya city of Xultun in Guatemala is only now being brought to light.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University presents the free lecture "Unearthing Xultun: New Discoveries in Maya Science and Art" on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge) at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Avenue).

Recent archaeological investigations are providing a first glimpse of the city’s scholarly and artistic traditions, from its astronomical tables charting the cosmos to its completely preserved ceremonial complex dedicated to ancestry, creation and sacrifice. These finds and others offer clues to the site’s dynamic history of interaction in the region and help to establish it among its better known Classic Period peers.

Xultun made headlines earlier this year: it is the site of the earliest known Maya calendar. The exciting story of how William Saturno discovered the earliest known Maya murals in San Bartolo—only a few kilometers from Xultun—is told in the exhibition Storied Walls: Murals of the Americas. Dr. Saturno is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Boston University.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: www.peabody.harvard.edu. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397


Xultun photo by Jorge Perez de Lara, courtesy Proyecto San Bartolo-Xultun

High resolution image available on request.

"Unearthing Xultun: New Discoveries in Maya Science and Art" is Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

William Saturno, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Boston University

A public reception follows at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

Public information: 617-496-1027