Rethinking Maya Heritage: Past and Present


Thursday, October 20, 2022, 6:00pm to 7:15pm


Hybrid Event: Virtual or In-Person, Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street

2022 Gordon R. Willey Lecture

indigenous maya people in traditional garb gathered to talk about their history.

The story of Maya culture as a once-great civilization that built towering pyramids in the jungles of Central America was developed and popularized by national governments, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Previously unable to control the story of their own culture, Maya communities today are actively reframing their heritage and centering their most recent history—not the distant past—to regain power and self-determination. Richard Leventhal will discuss the importance and role that the nineteenth-century Caste War—one of the largest and most successful Indigenous rebellions—is playing in the Maya’s contested heritage.

Free parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage
Watch on Zoom or attend in person: Geological Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge
Advance registration required for both


Presented by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and Harvard Museums of Science & Culture in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

About the Speaker

Richard M. Leventhal, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Executive Director, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania

Richard M. Leventhal is Executive Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum as well as Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Curator in the American Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology where he formerly served as the Williams Director. Prior to coming to Penn, he was the President of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Leventhal received his PhD from Harvard University. He is one of the Directors of the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project focused upon the nineteenth-century Caste War rebellion in the Yucatan. He has written extensively about the Maya and about cultural heritage preservation.