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“Oaxaca: Crossroads of a Continent” – Smithsonian Event

September 10, 6:45 PM-9:00 PM – S. Dillon Ripley Center

The state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and its Spanish colonial capital city of the same name, have been important cultural crossroads from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Scholar George Scheper surveys Oaxaca’s rich cultural history over the centuries: the domestication of maize corn more than 10,000 years ago; the rise of the ancient Zapotec ceremonial centers of Monte Alban and Mitla; the ascendency of powerful Mixtec dynasties in the highlands of the Mixteca Alta; the coming of the Spanish and the arts of colonial New Spain; and the emergence of Oaxaca as a contemporary international art center.

6:45 to 7:50 p.m.

The Pre-Columbian Cultures: Zapotecs and Mixtecs

The pyramids, ball courts, and enigmatic carvings of Monte Alban (600-800 A.D.), and the mosaic stonework of the palaces of Mitla were built by the Zapotecs. Subsequent Mixtec re-occupation has yielded the richest tomb ever excavated in North America. The Mixtec also produced the most lavishly illustrated manuscripts of any pre-Columbian people (11th to 15th centuries A.D.), which read like ancient graphic novels telling of the lives of Mixtec kings and queens.

8 to 9 p.m.

Oaxaca: Spanish Colonial Capital and Contemporary Arts Center

Now a World Heritage site, Oaxaca and its hinterland are home to an array of Spanish colonial churches and palaces, making it one of the best preserved capitals of New Spain. Today, its vibrant contemporary art scene extends from the fine arts to folk and street art.

Scheper, senior lecturer in advanced academic programs, Johns Hopkins University, has directed National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes in Oaxaca.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
More Here

Teotihuacan and its Countryside: the Rural-Urban Dynamics of an Ancient Metropolis

Sunday, February 22, 3:00 PM – Dr. Sarah C. Clayton, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The first century BC in central Mexico witnessed the emergence of Teotihuacan, a city that rapidly developed into the capital of an urban state of unprecedented size, monumentality, ethnic diversity, and political power in North America. Teotihuacan’s monumental center has benefited from more than a century of archaeological study.

Investigations of Teotihuacan’s rural communities are rare by comparison, partly due to the rapid destruction of archaeological sites as Mexico City continues to grow. To understand Teotihuacan’s growth and organization as one of the earliest and largest indigenous states in the Americas, archaeologists are looking beyond the ancient city to study its regional environmental and social landscape. This talk will focus on reconstructing everyday life in Teotihuacan’s countryside, the regional process of state collapse, and the challenges of excavating Mexico City’s vanishing archaeological landscape.

Dr. Sarah C. Clayton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies the development, organization, and dissolution of early urban states in Mesoamerica. Her recent work explores rural-urban dynamics, intrasocietal diversity, and processes of political collapse and reorganization in the Basin of Mexico. She currently directs an archaeological field project at Chicoloapan Viejo, a settlement that grew in association with the decline of the ancient metropolis of Teotihuacan. This research represents a multiscalar approach in which regional political changes are examined from the perspective of the everyday practices of local households.

Sabin Hall Room G90 on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Campus
3413 North Downer, corner of Newport and Downer Avenues
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

British Museum Gallery Talk “The Mysteries of the Crystal Skull”

September 17, 1:15 PM – British Museum Gallery

A gallery talk by Claudia Zehrt and Gail Hammond, University College London.

Room 24
British Museum
London, England
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British Museum Gallery Talk “Maya Art: The Rulers of Yaxchilán”

September 13, 1:15 PM – British Museum

A gallery talk by Elizabeth Baquedano and Amy Maitland Gardner, University College London.
Room 27
British Museum
London, England
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British Museum Gallery Talk “Maya writing at Copán: The Fate of 18-Rabbit”

September 10, 1:15 PM – British Museum

A Gallery Talk by Claudia Zehrt and Eva Jobbová, University College London.
Room 27
British Museum
London, England
More Info