The Mayans were one of the most advanced civilisations of their age. At the height of their power they created vast cities from stone, including temples and observatories for studying the night skies. They designed complex mathematical and writing systems and organised their lives around a sophisticated calendar.
Meet the Creators of Chocolate!
In this Topic Day, explore the world of the Maya, using the skills of an archaeologist.
Discover the sophisticated society that developed in Maya communities. Have a go at facial reconstructions, and see what the Maya would have looked like, try your hand at experimental archaeology to better understand Maya daily life, or sample a favourite chocolate drink.
Who’s Who in the Maya World?
Discover the People of Maya Society
During this session, students will come face to face with artefacts of the ancient Mayan world.
Using archaeological techniques they will discover the depth and complexity of the Mayan social structure, from the farmers who worked in the fields and harvested the chocolate pods, to the kings who ruled from their temple cities.
Together they will discover what life was like for those living in cities, such as Chichen Itza, or out in the rural communities.
This session, includes artefact handling opportunities, along with chances to explore a range historical and archaeological sources. The activities will encourage students to use the evidence of history to construct ideas and interpretations about the past.
Maya Facial Reconstruction
Come Face to Face with the Maya
The Maya had very different ideas of what made a person beautiful to our modern standards.
During this session, students will discover the physical traits that the Maya valued most, including crossed eyes and jewelled teeth.
They will then find out more about the process of facial reconstruction, how it works and the advantages it gives to archaeologists, before creating their own facial reconstruction model of a Maya individual.
There is an extra charge of 50p per child for this activity.
Design Your Own Maya Pot
Pottery was a major form of art in the world of the Maya, as well as a practical object. It would have been used in both homes and palaces, as well as for religious ceremonies and to decorate public spaces.
In this session, students will discover how pottery styles developed throughout the main phases of Maya history. They will find out more about the pattens and techniques used to decorate the pots, along with how they were made and the materials that were used in their construction.
Finally, they will have a go at experimental archaeology and create their own Maya pottery.
There is an extra charge of £1 per child for this activity. The children will be able to keep any pottery that they make in the session.
Maya Food and Hot Chocolate
Experience the taste of the Maya world
In this session, students will be able to investigate the past using all five of their senses.
They will explore the types of foods eaten by the Maya and find out how they were farmed and prepared in Maya cooking.
They will then be able to follow a Maya recipe for the famous chocolate drink and experience a taste of the past.
Be warned Maya chocolate is not the same as our hot chocolate!
There is a 50p resources cost for this session.
Compete for the Pot-a-Tok prize
Pok-A-Tok was one of the most popular games in the Maya world. Ball players were idolised, like our modern footballers, and they were even included in Maya mythology.
It was a fierce game, and for some could have deadly consequences.
In this session, learn the rules of the game and hear about great Maya players. Then set out your own Maya court and select your teams, for a game of Pok-a-Tok.
There is no extra charge for this session.