Synopses of Lectures

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These are the main lectures I give to the Arts Society. Click to download a pdf version of the lectures below.   1. The Magnificent Maya – Fact & Fantasy The Maya created one of the most sophisticated civilizations in the ancient world. Their achievements in the arts and sciences, along with their complex social, […]

Press Kit

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Dr Diane Davies is a Maya archaeologist and honorary research associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She completed her PhD in Anthropology, specialising in Central America, in particular, the Maya, at Tulane University, New Orleans.  Diane also has a Masters in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL and a BA Joint […]

Maya Timeline

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An interactive timeline of the Maya including 11 timeline cards highlighting key events in their history, additional questions filled with interesting facts and a 2-piece blank timeline for display. This product is suited for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) Curriculum     Created with Wildgoose Education, the timeline can be used as a basis […]

How did the Maya tell the Time?

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  How did the Maya tell the time?     Time was extremely important to the Maya, every inscription began with the date and their precise calendars greatly aided their astronomical record keeping. The Maya calendar round of 52 years, consisted of two calendars. The first is of 260 days (Tzolk’in – the sacred year), […]

Did the Maya really have Chocolate?

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Did the Maya really have chocolate?     Cacao, bean-like seeds from which chocolate is made, originates in the Maya area and was grown mainly in Guatemala. A highly valued commodity, the bean of the cacao tree when processed, became the chocolate used in chocolate drinks. Like us, the Maya loved chocolate, but rather than […]

What was Maya Writing Like?

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What was Maya writing like?     The Maya were the only civilization in the Americas to develop a fully-fledged writing system just like ours. Glyphs were read from left to right and top to bottom in paired columns. Their hieroglyphic script can be seen on carved stone stelae, door lintels and on painted murals […]

Did the Maya have Music?

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Did the Maya have Music?   There are many depictions on painted vases and murals of the ancient Maya playing musical instruments. We also have been lucky enough to find remains of these instruments too. Instruments could be made out of clay, wood, bone, shell and even reeds such as trumpets, drums, flutes, whistles and […]

How did the Maya Add and Subtract?

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How did the Maya add and Subtract?       Instead of using a decimal system like ours, from 1-9, then 10, 20 etc., the Maya choose something very different, using a system of 20’s, having only 3 numbers, the dot = 1, the bar = 5, and a shell shape = 0. They then […]

Did the Maya Play Football?

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Did the Maya Play football?       The Maya ballgame (pok-ta-pok or pitz) was only one type of several played throughout Mesoamerica. Ballcourts were often located within ceremonial centres and usually each important site had a ballcourt. How to play the Maya ballgame The court was divided into two halves by a line perpendicular […]

Are there still Maya People living Today?

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    Yes, there are Maya living today, around 8 million of them! Half the population of Guatemala are Maya and did you know that there are around 28 different Mayan languages spoken today? Maya women, traditionally wear a blouse, called a huipil made of cotton with beautiful designs, that are distinct to the community […]

Where did the Maya Live?

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Where did the Ancient Maya live?   The ancient Maya lived in a region that today includes Guatemala, Belize, the Yucatan peninsula (Mexico) and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. The area was diverse including the coast, mountains (highlands) and the rainforest (lowlands). The rainforest area is where we see the beginnings of […]

Maya Hieroglyphic Writing – Activities

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Having fun with activities is the best way to understand Maya Hieroglyphs and their meaning. This resource can be use for the Maya Writing KS2 History Key Stage 2 curriculum. Creating your own Emblem-Glyph The Maya had emblem glyphs for their cities, much as football teams have insignia. Emblem Glyphs are ubiquitous on Maya monuments. […]

Activities you can do at home

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Some of these activities were created as a result of my annual teacher trip to the Maya area by Abigail Griffiths (St. Margaret’s Preparatory School, Essex) and Tizzy McManus (Doddiscombsleigh Primary School, Devon). Make your own: Worry Doll Chatterbox Snakes and Ladders Board Game Maya Mask Maya Headdress Maya Chocolate Pot Emblem Glyphs Stela Find […]

Testimonials – Pupil Workshops

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Responses from Teachers 2019 “My daughter is a pupil at Birkdale Primary School which I believe you have recently visited.  I’d like to thank you, I can’t remember seeing her this excited about a subject before and I’ve definitely never seen her so keen to learn more about something.” Matt, parent “Just wanted to say […]

Testimonials – Teacher Workshops

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Responses from Teachers I attended your workshop at the HA conference in May and just wanted to say thank you so much for inspiring me to choose the Maya for my non-European society unit. It was great to meet someone who is so passionate about their subject and who understands what teachers need to bring […]

Maya calendar activity and quizzes (KS2)

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In this post, you’ll find activities for kids around the Maya calendar. This resource can be used for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum. To learn how the Maya calendar works please see our article: The Maya Calendar Explained   1. Make your own Maya Calendar To make your own Maya calendar, you can […]

Thinking Cards on the Maya

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These 20 A5 Maya Fact Cards feature a photograph on one side and five questions or activity suggestions on the reverse. The variety of questions and activities means that work can be pitched at an appropriate level for most abilities. This product is suited for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum.  

The Abandonment of Maya Cities and the Classic Maya Collapse

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Objective: To debate and consider a range of theories for why many Maya cities were abandoned around AD 900 Abandonment of Maya cities from dianeelizdavies Lesson Starter: Check students have the correct terminology. What do the following terms mean: End- change- decline- move- hiatus- collapse?  Explain to students that the Maya did not disappear or die […]

Maya Cities and Architecture

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Objective: To understand the design of Maya cities and social order within. Maya Cities and Architecture – Lesson Plan from dianeelizdavies  Lesson Starter – Students to spend a short time to imagine they are a King designing a city from scratch. They should consider who will live in their city, what jobs people would need […]

Maya Arts and Craft

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Objective To explore how the Maya expressed their culture through the arts. Ancient and Modern Maya culture expressed through the Arts from dianeelizdavies Slideshow to accompany lesson plan. Lesson Rather than generating a specific lesson we have suggested a range of activities that could take place at any point in the topic. They could act […]

Lesson Plan: What does an Archaeologist do?

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An archaeologist is someone who studies ancient remains to try and understand how people lived in the past, for example, Dr Diane Davies below. Objectives:  To understand the role of an archaeologist and what happens at an archaeological dig.   What does an archaeologist do  Slideshow to accompany lesson plan. Lesson Starter Activity: IWB- picture […]

The Value of Egyptian Written Sources Concerning Egyptian Magic

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Egyptian magic in contrast to our Western conception of magic, was a legitimate activity, being part of the natural order, and formed part of religion and medicine.  Our main source material for Egyptian magic is written, including actual magical texts, funerary texts and medical papyri, to narratives and inscriptions on stelae.  However, the written spell […]

Running for Maya Children!

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I ran the New Forest Half-Marathon (10th September 2017) to raise donations for Melody School. Melody School has been set up by Igor Xoyon to provide equality schooling to underprivileged Maya children in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. It is run purely by donations.  Through sponsorship (around £40 a month) a child is not only able to receive a solid […]

Who owns the Past?

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“Because men really respect only that which was founded of old and has developed slowly, he who wants to live on after his death must take care not only of his posterity but even more of his past: which is why tyrants of every kind (including tyrannical artists and politicians) like to do violence to […]

Make your own Maya Calendar (KS2)!

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  Understanding how the Maya calendar works can be difficult for both young and old alike. Therefore, I have created a wonderful teaching aid that you can print out and make for free! In this tutorial, you will learn to make the Maya calendar wheels and how to use them (you can use it as […]

Cultural Activism in Mesoamerica: An Assessment of Recent Movements

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Introduction Since 1521 the Indians in Mesoamerica have been oppressed by Europeans and later by their ladino/mestizo governments.  Cultural resistance in Mesoamerica has varied in extent and force over time and between countries.  There were sporadic but unsuccessful revolts during the colonial period in Mesoamerica.  Resistance continued into the 19th century, the Caste War among […]

Late Preclassic Abandonment in the Maya Area: Scale and Causality

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Abstract During the Late Preclassic Period, particularly from A.D. 200-250, widespread abandonment and/or hiatus in construction occurs across sites in the Maya area. Regions most affected were Chiapas, El Petén and the Yucatán peninsula.  A preliminary discussion of the causal factors behind site abandonment is given.  In reviewing existing data, it appears that a combination […]

Tomorrow’s Achievers – Masterclass

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Learn about the Ancient Maya and Archaeology! Date: Upcoming dates will be added shortly The ancient Maya, who lived in Central America, brought us an intricate calendar system, complex hieroglyphic writing, some of the largest pyramids in the world, a form of ballgame that is like no other and most importantly chocolate! Learn about their […]

Ancient Maya Scheme of Work

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As a result of the teacher trip tin 2016 to the Maya area, a detailed scheme of work has been written on the Maya, which includes lesson plans, teacher notes, slides, images and videos for teachers to download and use in their class.