When people think about ancient civilizations they usually conjure up images of ancient Greece or Egypt.  But there were civilizations in South America, like the Mayans (2000 BCE – 1500 CE), the Olmec (1500 BCE – 400 BCE) and others who had calendars, writing, arts and built temples and ball courts and astrological observatories.  They were an advanced people that we don’t hear much about, except for end of the world prophesies.

Here are a few significant South American archeological finds from the last couple of years.

  • Tak’alik Ab’aj is a major archealogical site in southwest Guatemala, not too far from the Mexican border.  It has both Mayan and Olmec influences and is one of the largest archeological sites in Central America and was probably occupied from 1000 BCE to about 1500 CE.  It has (as far as I can tell):
    • 9 terraces
    • a water system of channels bringing water to the residential areas of the city 
    • ball courts
    • pyramids
    • at least 48 altars
    • 239 monuments
    • 74 stellae
    • has been nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site

           Recently, an acient Mayan kings grave has been unearthed from Tak’alik Ab’aj that dates to       approximately 600 BCE and contains an impressive amount of artifacts like the ones pictured below.

 In Mexico we will visit the Museo Nacional de AntropologĂ­a where you will get a chance to see first hand some of the oldest artifacts from the pre-Columbian “New World”.