The Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) is offering a presentation on “Caves and Climate Change: Lessons from the Ancient Maya” by Holley Moyes, Ph.D., associate professor of archeology at University of California, Merced. The presentation is scheduled on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Sierra Hall 132 on Modesto Junior College’s West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto. Both the program and parking are free.
Moyes is an anthropological archaeologist that specializes in the archaeology of religion and in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Her interests are in how ideologies are created, maintained and changed over time and how they affect social processes and human decision-making.
During her presentation, Moyes looks at ritual responses as a type of crisis management for a crumbling society. About 820AD a mega drought that lasted hundreds of years descended on the ancient Maya people. This brought about political turmoil and the eventual collapse of their political structure.
As the drought worsened, how did the ancient people face the crises and how did they react to worsening conditions? Ancient Maya sacred caves became the focus of religious practice during these desperate times in what Moyes has termed the Late Classic period “Drought Cult.” She argues that rituals helped to reduce tensions and stave off warfare during this tumultuous period in Maya history.
This MAPS event is intended for ages 12 years and older. MAPS programs are made possible by contributions from Modesto Junior College, Associated Students of MJC, MJC Foundation, Great Valley Museum, Stanislaus County Office of Education and Modesto Teachers Association.
For more information about the MAPS program visit the website http://maps.events.mjc.edu/.