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Mathematical Study Tour 2011 - Guatemala

MAA 2011 Study Tour

Mathematics Among the Ancient and Modern Maya

Copan, Tikal, and the Guatemalan Highlands

May 25 - June 3, 2011

An Educational Tour Organized in Conjunction with

Cost: $2995 (MAA Members, Double Occupancy)
$3295 (Non-members, Double Occupancy)
$400 Single-lodging Supplement

We're sorry, registration for this trip is closed. Check our website soon for updates on our 2012 Study Tour!

May 25, Wednesday: Arrival
Afternoon flights in Guatemala City
Evening orientation at the hotel (lecture if flight times allow)
Overnight in Guatemala City
Participants will fly into Guatemala City and take the hotel shuttle bus to the Holiday Inn. There they will meet MEC archaeologists and attend an orientation meeting. The rest of the evening is free to rest and get ready for the tourâ??s first day.

May 26, Thursday: Guatemala City
Morning: National Anthropology Museum
Afternoon: The ruins of Kaminaljuyu (in the city center)
Evening: Lecture - Ancient Maya Calendar Systems
Overnight in Guatemala City
This day will begin with a tour of the archaeological treasures housed in the National Anthropology Museum. After lunch, the day will continue with a tour of whatâ??s left of the once great city of Kaminaljuyu, one of the first truly great Maya cities dating back to 1000 BC. That evening, a lecture on calendar systems will explain the many different cycles of time developed by the Maya and how they wove them all together into the most elaborate calendar of the ancient world.

May 27, Friday: Quirigua
Morning: Transport to Quirigua and tour
Afternoon: Transport into Honduras and the town of Copan
Evening: Lecture - The Ancient City of Copan
Overnight in Copan
An early-morning departure will start the group towards Quirigua, an ancient city boasting the tallest monuments in the entire Maya world. Next itâ??s off to the border and crossing into Honduras. Just 18 kms into Honduras lies the city of Copan. This eveningâ??s lecture will go through the occupation history, dynastic line, and dramatic demise of Copan.

May 28, Saturday: Copan
Morning: Tour of Copan ruins
Afternoon: Tour of Copanâ??s onsite sculpture museum
Evening: Lecture - Maya Geometry
Overnight in Copan
An entire day dedicated to Copanâ??s ruins. Starting with a tour of the ruins and the archaeological tunnels underneath, lunch will be eaten at a small restaurant on site. The afternoonâ??s tour will move into Copanâ??s incredible sculpture museum, where all of the siteâ??s volcanic tuft carved monuments and stone mosaics are protected from the elements. Back at the Hotel Marina Copan, participants will attend a lecture on Maya geometry. Unknown until the recent dissertation of MEC archaeologist Dr. Christopher Powell, this lecture will reveal the hidden code of geometric proportions that underpins virtually all Maya art and architecture.

May 29, Sunday: Copan to Antigua
Morning: Transport to Antigua
Afternoon: Free time in Antigua
Evening: Lecture - Maya Astronomy
Overnight in Antigua
An early morningâ??s start will bring the tour back into Guatemala, up into the highlands, and to the beautiful colonial city of Antigua. Once the capital of Guatemala, repeated earthquakes toppled its churches and eventually convinced the government to move their headquarters to Guatemala Cityâ??s more insulated valley. Once the group settles in and has a chance to look around, an evening lecture will relate the ways in which ancient Maya used their mathematical skills to understand celestial mechanics and how temples were built to honor that knowledge.

May 30, Monday: Antigua
Morning: Tour of Antiguaâ??s churches
Afternoon: Jades SA factory and showroom tour
Evening: Lecture - 2012, the End of the Maya Calendar?
Overnight in Antigua
This day will be a casual day of touring Antiguaâ??s churches, plazas, and markets. A visit to Jades SA will teach the group about the Mayaâ??s most treasured precious stone. The eveningâ??s lecture will cover a Maya topic that cannot be overlooked in these times - 2012. After going through the various pseudo-science theories of how the world will end, and explaining that the Maya said no such thing, reasons why weâ??ve misunderstood the Maya â??long countâ? calendar will be presented. The modern Maya opinion on the nature of 2012 will also be discussed.

May 31, Tuesday: Volcano Pacaya
Morning: Horseback and hiking up Volcano Pacaya
Afternoon: Rest and free time in Panajachel
Evening: Lecture - Modern Maya Day Keepers
Overnight in Panajachel
To the south of Antigua is Volcano Pacaya, which dramatically erupted in May of 2010. One year later, tour participants will ascend by horseback and then by foot to see the lava fields. From there, itâ??s off to Lake Atitlan, considered by many to be the heart of Guatemalan highlands. There, where Maya culture still thrives, an evening lecture will explain how modern Maya religion centers on the worship of their sacred calendar. A priestly class called Day Keepers will be described, as well as how they count through the days of the Tzolkâ??in calendar in order to divine the causes of illness, the intent of supernatural forces, and even the future.

June 1, Wednesday: Lake Atitlan
Morning: Boat trip to Santiago Atitlan
Afternoon: Rest and travel to Chichicastenango
Evening: Story time - The Popol Vuh
Overnight in Chichicastenango
After crossing the lake by boat, participants will visit the town of Santiago Atitlan. Winding their way through cobblestone streets, they will find and visit the shrine of Maximon, an ancient and powerful Maya spirit. Back in Panajachel, the group will have lunch and then move on to Chichicastenango. That evening, in the comfortable lounge of the Hotel Santo Tomas, participants will gather for a retelling of the Maya story of creation-- the Popol Vuh. Given that Chichicastenango was the place where the written form on the Popol Vuh was discovered in the 16th century, hearing it here has special meaning.

June 2, Thursday: Chichicastenango
Morning: Hike to the Shrine of Pascual Abaj
Afternoon: Market day and return to Guatemala City
Evening: Final dinner and closing ceremonies
Overnight in Guatemala City
Early in the morning, a walk across the bustling town and up a hillside will bring the group to the shrine of Pascual Abaj. In place since pre-Columbian times, Maya Day Keepers and families still visit here to ask the Mam (the spirit of the world) for blessings and knowledge. Returning to town, the group will find the Thursday market in full swing and ready to explore. After a few hours of shopping and haggling, the group will return to Guatemala City and attend the adventureâ??s farewell dinner.

June 3, Friday: Departure
Morning flights out of Guatemala City and back to the USA


Extension Option ($450 Double Occupancy, $500 Single Occupancy):

June 3, Friday: Lake Peten Itza
Morning: Transport to Guatemala Cityâ??s airport and flights to Flores
Afternoon: Boat tour of Lake Peten Itza and the island of Flores
Evening: Lecture - Tikal, Rome of the Maya World
Overnight in Flores
A flight over the mountains into the northern jungles of Guatemala will land at the Floresâ?? airport along the shores of Lake Peten Itza. An afternoon boat trip will visit the local zoo and a bizarre island museum of Maya artifacts and 1940s communication equipment. An evening lecture on the dynastic history of Tikal and the wars they fought will prepare the group for the next dayâ??s big tour.

June 4, Saturday: Tikal
All Day: Transport to and tour of Tikal
Evening: Final dinner in Flores
Overnight in Flores
Striking out around 7a.m., the group will head north to the remote ruins of Tikal. Exploring the Maya worldâ??s most massive metropolis will take all day. Stopping for a late lunch, the group will then cool off (a little!) with visits to the onsite lithics and ceramics museums. Driving back to Flores, a final evening will be spent enjoying a relaxing dinner on the island.

June 5, Sunday: Departure
Morning flights out of Flores to Guatemala City and back to the USA

Hotels During the Trip:
Guatemala City - Holiday Inn
Copan - Hotel Marina
Antigua - Hotel Meson de Maria or Hotel Convento
Panajachel - Hotel Kakchiquel
Chichicastenango - Hotel Santo Tomas
Flores - Hotel Santana

All hotel lodging, private ground transportation, private water transportation, all entry fees, professional archaeologist guide, lectures, resource packet, breakfasts, and the final dinner

Extension option also includes round-trip flights from Guatemala City to Flores

Not Included:
Flights to/from Guatemala City, lunches, gratuities for maids, drivers and guides, travel insurance


Email with questions.