Title: Brief guide to the Musuem Sylvanus Morley
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Title: Brief guide to the Musuem Sylvanus Morley
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Creator: Parque Nacional Tikal
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Bibliographic ID: UF00003951
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Full Text




A BRIEF GUIDE OF THE


MUSEUM SYLVANUS MORLEY


PARQUE NATIONAL TIKAL

ENSTITUTO DE ANTROPOLOGIA E HISTORIC

MINISTERIO DE CULTURAL Y DEPORTES


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According to the first investigations it
seems that the first areas settled are the
sectors known to us "MUNDO PERDIDO" and
"NORTH ACROPOLIS" around 800 B.C. later on
the mayan society became more stratified and
a more complex society, which brought them to
achieve a high cultural level during the
classic period. However due to internal
social political and external processes that
took place between 850 and 1000 A.D. the
principal mayan cities were abandoned one
after an other and therefore covered by the
jungle.
The maya civilization has maintained
through time a special history which has
wrapped it in romanticism and mistery. This
is due to the majority of the sites which
have been submerged in the dense tropical
forest, unknown to modern man until recently
in 1840, when Stephens and Catherwood
published their notes and drawings "which led
to the rediscovery of these lost cities".
Many years have passed since then, in
which diverse groups of archaeologists have
been working with great enthusiasm to
understand the way of life of the mayas and
the function of the excavated objects. Just
a portion of the escavated artifacts are in
exhibition in the museum, so that the public
may view them and understand the inhabitants
of Tikal.
The architecture and sculptured
monuments are complemented by the artifacts
which you observe in the museum, bringing us
much closer to a better understanding of the
social and ceremonial life of the mayas who
lived in Tikal centuries ago.





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MUSEUM SYLVANUS G. MORLEY


This museum was founded in 1964, it has
the valuable collections obtained during the
excavations in Tikal after 1956. Recently
we have reincorporated artifacts that have
been confiscated from looters by the
Guatemalan authorities.
Among this material exhibited we can
find objects such as incised bones, stone
instruments,. stone carved monuments, painted
ceramic vases with beautiful polichrome
colors, as well as an architectural
reproduction of the tomb 116 which pertains
to a out standing king of Tikal.
As you enter the museum you will find to
the left the oldest mayan artifacts and to
your right the modern artifacts from the
classic period.

CERAMIC VESSELS

In Tikal we have ceramics that date back
to 800 B.C. which is the earliest date for
Tikal, later on they refined their techniques
which is apparent in the later precclasic
period, it can be seen in the cases to the
left dating (1,250 B.C. to 250 A.D.) moving
along into the Classic period (250-900 A.D.).
The collection is composed of primary
forms such as plated, glasess and bowls, some
of them are monochrome an others are
polichrome which are composed of several
colors an decorations, this pertaining to the
classic period. The designs executed by
mayan artists included motives such as
natural elements, animals, human figures and
supernatural beings in which they included
gods.


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BONE MATERIAL


Bones were another artistic material
used by the mayas in which they express their
ideology. In this museum we exhibit a few
inscised bones which were foun inside burial
166. Three bones illustrate the passage from
this world to the other in the canoe scenes,
commemorating Ruler "A" they also contain
mithological beings related to the
underworld.

JADE MATERIAL

The jade materials were brought to Tikal
by merchants through trade routes, since the
raw material had to be brought from the
Motagua Valley. It was one of the most
highly valued materials by the mayas. It was
only used by great dignitaries being a mark
of social status. They created earplugs,
necklaces with rounded bits and tubular,
bracelets, figurines and inscised plates with
hieroglyphs and human figures.


Maya nobles por portrayed
on classics maya vase. Burial 196, Tikal, 700 A.C.


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LITHICS


Obsidian, basalt and flint were the
stones most commonly used to make instruments.
The first two mentioned have their origins in
the highlands of Guatemala, they were used to
make knives, spears, manos and metates to
grind corn, morters, scrapers etc. "excentric
obsidian blades" strange forms usually found
as offerings associated with buildings and
stelae.

SCULPURED MONUMENTS

The stelas 29 and 31 are the two most
important monuments of Tikal. The first one
mentioned has the oldest date for this site,
it also commemorates what we believe to be
the founder of the lineage for Tikal it's
date corresponding to the year 292 A.D.
The second one mentioned is a good
example of the high technology achieved in
stone carving by the mayas. The front of
the stela illustrars an image the governor or
king of Tikal known to us by the name of
"Stormy Sky". The hieroglyphic text on the
back portrays the dynastic sequence if this
site and explains his genealogy giving his
ancestral names and the protector gods. The
erection date is 445 A.D.
Flint is a raw material extracted
locally it can be found in all Peten, Belize
and Yucatan; it mainly serves a utilitarian
function to elaborate knives, axes, and other
artifacts of daily use. This material has a
variation in color, black tones, brown,
reddish, apparently it is abundant in the
excavations of Tikal.




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ARCHITECTURAL REPRODUCTION OF THE TOMB
116

This is a reproduction of the burial
found in Temple I, the skeleton belong to
ruler "AH CACAU" who is one of the most
famous and powerful rulers to govern Tikal,
he is responsible for the glory and splendor
achieved during 700 A.D. The offerings that
accompany him are worthy of such a high
dignitary who represents the highest socio
political level to be achieved. He is
presented with a great quantity of ceramic
artifacts: jade, sea shells, inscised bones,
alabaster and others.
The majority of these artifacts are of
foreign origin, the jade comes from the
Motagua river, the pearls and spondylus sea
shells are transported from the Pacific
Ocean, which clearly demonstrated a commercial
interchange that existed during this time.

OTHER MATERIALS

The mayans also worked wood, we have
found evidence of platforms where they
deposited their dead, a yoke made out of
wood, bowls, figurines and gods.
You can actually see four Chacs or rain
gods that were found in wood but rotted
during the passage of centuries, the
archaeologist infected plaster which enabled
thea to recover the form of these deities
along with their true blue stucco colors,
which originally covered them.







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Texto:
Dr. Juan Antonio Valdfs.
Translation:
Roxy Ortis, E. Toralla y P. Solis.
Edition:
Lic. MIrcedes E. Flores G.


Printed:
Institute of Anthropology and History of Guatemla
Published by Goverment of Ing. Jorge Serrano Elias.
1992.


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