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Penn Museum holds exhibit on Mayan civilization

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Penn Museum takes on the apocalypse with a new exhibit of the ancient Mayan civilization.

Called Maya 2012: Lords of Time, the exhibit explores the structure of the Mayan calendar and tackles the pop culture legend that the world is coming to an end this year.

The exhibit opens with a countdown to the end clock and a montage of apocalyptic movies, all intended to debunk the myth that ancient Mayans predicted Armageddon in December of 2012.

Simon Martin, Associate Curator of the American Section at Penn Museum said, "The Mayan calendar started trillions of years in the past and will continue for trillions of years more. It's a really unbelievable imagination on their part because they imagine time on a scale bigger than we do in our own universe."

The exhibit features more than 70 Mayan artifacts, including writings and carvings from the kingdom Copán in Honduras where the Penn Museum worked for ten years digging tunnels more than a mile down, unraveling the mysteries of ancient Mayan civilization.

"Many of the objects were directly discovered deep down and that's great because it really gives you great preservation. These things haven't been exposed to the elements for a thousand years," said Martin.

The show also features high-tech replicas of the Honduran tunnels designed to recreate the experience of journeying on an archaeological quest.

Martin added, "By using laser scanning and these very high-tech reproduction methodologies, we can present those in the show and make big, dramatic things so people can see the scale of Maya architecture."

Assuming the world does not end in December, Maya 2012: Lords of Time will be on display through January 2013.

Visit Penn Museum for ticketing information.

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