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Penn Museum Curator Examines Past and Future of the Ancient Maya Civilization

leventhalOn Tue., Mar 10, join Richard M. Leventhal, Ph.D., professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and curator of the American Section at Penn Museum, as he offers insights into the collapse of the major cities of the Maya as well as interprets the past and future of the ancient Maya. The talk will take place from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the first floor lounge of Falvey.

Dr. Leventhal’s presentation, “The Collapse of the Ancient Maya: Interpretations of the Past and Preserving the Future” is the second installment of the 4th annual Anthropology Lecture Series hosted by Falvey this semester and complements the theme of the series, “The Science of Humanity: Tongues, Stones, and Bones” very well as it offers a new perspective through which to learn about the Maya civilization.

The ancient Maya are one of the great cultures of the ancient and modern worlds. Around A.D. 800, the major cities of the Mayan world were rapidly abandoned in one of the largest demographic shifts ever. Recent excavations at the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich in Belize shed new light on this ‘collapse.’ Dr. Leventhal will discuss how the excavation and preservation of Maya cities as modern centers of economic development force a re-examination of the position of the ancient and modern Maya in today’s world.

Dr. Leventhal is also the director and founder of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center. The Center works to broaden scholarly and public awareness, as well as discussion and debate revolving around crucial issues that can potentially affect the world’s endangered cultural heritage. The Center is established at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia.

Dr. Leventhal’s research focuses on ancient Mayan civilization and culture, Mesoamerica, complex societies, archaeological theory and method and the intellectual history of archaeology in America. He is the author of several monographs, books, reports and articles, and has also served as co-editor of Archaeology in the Mediterranean: The Present State and Future Scope of a Discipline.

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Last Modified: February 18, 2009