Temples of the Ancients

For anyone who fell in love with the history of ancient Mayan culture as a kid, half the attraction was in learning about its discovery by archaeologists in the 19th century. That's one reason why Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, opening today at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, sets audiences up for 20,000 square feet of artifacts and immersive displays by having them walk first into a replica of an archaeological camp where, as DMNS curator of archaeology Michele Koons enthusiastically notes, they'll get a real feel for what it's like for a scientist to discover the artifacts of an ancient civilization for the first time. "I'm an archaeologist, and I love how it really highlights the science of archeology and how we came to know what we know about Mesoamerica."

Beyond that introduction, visitors will find a "comprehensive exhibit of all aspects of Mayan life, from the lives of the elites and noblemen to the everyday lives of the people and artisans," Koons adds. "It tries to touch on many different aspects of the culture: the Mayan calendar, the astronomy, the hieroglyphics. Most of the exhibit focuses on the classic period, from about 250 A.D. to 900 A.D., but at the end, it brings us right up to the modern Mayan people still living today in Mesoamerica."

Featuring more than 250 artifacts, many of them never seen in exhibition before, and replicas of massive stone wall carvings and murals in Chiapas, Mexico, Maya runs through August 24 in the DMNS's new Anschutz Gallery, located in the complex at 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Exhibit admission ranges from $5 to $22; for more information about the show and ticket packages visit dmns.org or call 303-370-6000.
Feb. 14-Aug. 24, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd