Mayan exhibit opens

By Julie Listek

After a year in the making, the new archeological exhibit of the Mayan culture is complete and can be viewed at NIU’s Archeological Musuem.

The three-part display of findings from the ancient Mayan city of Copan in Honduras was founded by associate Anthropology Professor William Fash.

Since Fash has joined NIU as a faculty member, he has been traveling to Maya for seven years. Fash said it was not until last year that NIU decided to create an exhibit.

“The exhibit is trying to give people an idea of what Copan is all about,” said Archeology Museum Director Milton Deemer. “It is also trying to show how the Mayan culture is different from the American society.”

The first portion of the display deals with the Mayan culture, environment, religion and economy. Deemer said this portion of the display is mainly to give the viewers some background about the Mayas.

The second part of the display is a model of the ancient city. This consists of drawings, paintings and photographs of the remains of the city.

The third portion deals with the archeological technique used and includes a videotape about how the material was excavated from Maya.

Fash also has made discoveries in Arizona and Mexico. The discoveries have been featured on news talk shows and magazines, such as National Geographic.

The finding of a perfectly-intact temple at the “acropolis” of Copan was an important discovery featured in National Geographic.

“This was one of my most significant findings because it was found in the oldest and most sacred part of the town and all the artifacts were intact, which is unusual to find,” Fash said.

Fash said this is the most important time for him because he is “putting over 30 thousand pieces of history together” to find out about the ancient city and the Mayan way of life.

“I am looking forward to going back to Copan and having the opportunity to piece together the new world’s archeological jigsaw puzzle,” he said.

The Archeology Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in Stevens Hall.