Maya expert coming to TTU to discuss ancient Peruvian art

Posted by Lori Shull - Friday, September 20 2013
lshull@tntech.edu

 

thumb AndrzejEdMonteAlbanArcheologist and leading expert on ancient Maya culture Edwin Barnhart will be at Tennessee Tech University Oct. 1 to give a lecture entitled “Shamanism in the Art of Ancient Peru.”

Barnhart is the director of the Maya Exploration Center, which is dedicated to the study of Mayan civilization through travel, lecture and educational programs. Barnhart came to TTU several years ago to discuss the Mayan calendar.

“I enjoy the way he educates people,” said Andrzej Gutek, TTU math professor. “To me, we live to learn. You have to make a conscious effort to surround yourself and expose yourself to history, art and architecture.”

Barnhart’s lecture will discuss the role Shamanism, the belief that people can connect with the supernatural world, plays in the ancient art of pre-Columbian Peru. The meanings behind ancient Peruvian art remain a mystery. Barnhart will discuss his research and work to bring to light the hidden spiritual messages in the pieces.

In 2012, he completed a 24-lecture video series for the Teaching Company’s Great Courses entitled “Lost Worlds of Ancient South America.” In the series, Barnhart covers the entirety of the pre-Columbian history of the region and explains his own theories regarding the achievements of the period.

“To them, shamans or people who acted like shamans were a part of life,” Gutek said. “In their world, unseen forces were and are essential part of their culture.”

Barnhart has more than 20 years of experience working in countries such as Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In addition to his work as an archeologist, explorer and instructor, Barnhart studies art, iconography and epigraphy.

Sponsored by TTU’s Center Stage, the lecture will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Clement Hall 212. It is free and open to the public.