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The Ancient Maya
*Minimum $100 level
In Belize and Guatemala, ancient cities and sacred geometry
December 7–16, 2014
In the jungles of Belize and Guatemala, the story of the Maya is told in complex glyphs etched into stone and in the ruins of grand cities—centers of power in an ancient world. The Maya world began as early as 1500 B.C. and reached its pinnacle during the seventh and eighth centuries A.D. On this extraordinary tour, we join scholar Christopher Powell to explore both iconic and seldom-seen ruins. Be part of the conversation as we investigate the sacred geometry of Maya architecture—the focus of Chris's pathbreaking research—as well as Maya astronomy, agriculture, engineering, and communications, the remarkable achievements of a people whose descendants still live in this region today.
The rise and fall of Maya civilization, with an emphasis on the Preclassic (1500 B.C.–A.D. 250), Classic (A.D. 250–900), and Postclassic (A.D. 900–1500) periods
The sacred geometry of Maya art and architecture—its origins, expression, and meaning
Dr. Christopher Powell has conducted archaeological research throughout the Maya world for 20 years, including excavations at Copan, Honduras, featured in National Geographic. Chris has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin Institute of Latin American Studies. He is a Maya Exploration Center associate.
Sunday, December 7: Arrive at Belize City Municipal Airport by 4 p.m. for transfer to Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio (about 70 miles). Dinner and introductory program. Overnight, Cahal Pech Village Resort. (D)
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Monday, December 8: Stroll to the ceremonial center of Cahal Pech (founded about 1200 B.C.), one of the earliest known Maya settlements in western Belize; temples, elite residences, and carved stelae date to the Classic period. Travel north to the jungle ruin of El Pilar, the largest ancient city in the Belize River valley; explore the ruins on marked trails and take in the diverse plant and animal life. Midafternoon: drive to Tikal, Guatemala. Dinner and lecture. Overnight, Jungle Lodge, Tikal National Park. (B, L, D)
Tuesday, December 9: Tour magnificent Tikal, center of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the Classic period. Explore temples, palaces, ballcourts, and plazas, as well as museums housing stelae and other artifacts. Dinner and lecture about Maya astronomy. Overnight, Jungle Lodge. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, December 10: A day at Uaxactun, 12 miles north of Tikal. Like its powerful neighbor, Uaxactun reached its peak during the Classic period. The ancient city includes a pyramid believed to have been an astronomical observatory. Then head south to the quaint island town of Flores on Lake Peten. Overnight, Hotel Santana, Flores. (B, L, D)
Thursday, December 11: Tour Lake Peten via Guatemalan-style motorboat. Visit the Santa Barbara Island Museum; the Postclassic site of Tayasal and its astronomically significant architecture; and the Petencito Zoo, which will inform our discussions of Maya animal iconography. Afternoon: explore Flores and its sister town, Santa Elena, on your own. Dinner and lecture about the collapse of ancient Maya civilization. Overnight, Hotel Santana. (B, L, D)
Friday, December 12: Travel 3 hours (mostly by van, with a short boat ride) to the remote, recently excavated trade center of El Ceibal on the Rio Passion. See some of the finest, best-preserved sculptures of the Late Classic period, the Ceibal stelae ("the Mayan Art Gallery"). This afternoon, visit a contemporary Maya village before returning to Flores. Dinner on your own. Overnight, Hotel Santana. (B, L)
Saturday, December 13: Visit the Early Classic site of Yaxha, including altars, ballcourts, and the only twin pyramid complex known outside Tikal. Stelae vividly document the history of the site. Cross the border back into Belize in time for dinner and a lecture about the history of Caracol. Overnight, Cahal Pech Village Resort, San Ignacio. (B, L, D)
Sunday, December 14: Drive 3 hours south to Caracol, the largest archaeological site in Belize. Capped by three temples, the 150-foot-high Caana ("Sky Palace") pyramid is still one of the largest structures in Belize. Return to San Ignacio for a leisurely evening; dine on your own. Overnight, Cahal Pech Village Resort. (B, L)
Monday, December 15: Visit the ancient city of Altun Ha, famous for its Classic-period monumental architecture, including the Temple of the Masonry Altars. This afternoon, return to Belize City. Explore the Fort George District, which preserves traces of the city's colonial past, or relax before the farewell dinner. Overnight, Fort George District, Belize City. (B, L, D)
Tuesday, December 16: Depart from Belize City Municipal Airport any time after 10 a.m. (B)
Itinerary subject to change
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
Tuition: Tuition is per person, based on shared accommodations, and includes accommodations, meals listed, entry fees and permits, group gratuities, and group transportation from arrival in Belize City, Belize, on Dec. 7, 2014, until departure from Belize City on Dec. 16, 2014. Transportation to and from Belize City is your responsibility. Airport departure taxes and visa fees not included. Program prices are based on current tariffs and currency exchange rates and are subject to change. Crow Canyon reserves the right to levy a surcharge, if necessary, prior to the final payment date.
International Air: International flights not included. When making travel arrangements, plan to arrive in Belize City no later than 4 p.m. on Dec. 7, 2014. Schedule departure from Belize City for after 10 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2014.
Accommodations: First-class or boutique hotels (double occupancy); single accommodations available for additional fee of $500.
What to Expect: All road travel is by modern coach. No drive is more than 3 hours, one-way; expect drives over rough roads. Several short boat rides are also included. This program does not involve strenuous activity, but access to and exploration of some sites requires moderate walks on uneven surfaces, climbing and descending steep steps, and standing for an hour or more at a time.
The following penalty schedule applies: On or before September 3, 2014: $500 handling fee; after September 3, 2014: forfeiture of all payments. For complete cancellation and refund policy, see Terms and Conditions.
The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.
Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California
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