The grounds of the NICH Museum Building was animated Friday morning with primary school kids perusing the stalls set up for their eager eyes. This was done in celebration of the International Archaeology Day. We spoke with Archaeology Technician for the Institute of Archaeology and the coordinator of the event Antonio Beardall tells us more
“Tomorrow is actually World Archaeology Day. But since it was a Saturday, we decided to move ours to today. In that way, we can invite schools to come out and participate. We think it’s important that especially younger people, what archaeology is all about. So, we’ve figured this great to educate with display panels of what archaeology is, the different time periods that we recognize in archaeology, and we figure…we also bring out some artifacts that are…they may not have seen before, not seen it in the museums”.
Reporter: “Now I see a lot of kids with their notebooks out and chatting . Tell me what this is”.
Antonio Beardall: “Well, normally when they know that they are coming to a place like this they get a lot of questions that teachers ask them. Right now we know that many schools the topic happens to be about the ancient Maya…the history of Belize. So, they come here hopefully looking for some of the answers in our displays, for example, the tallest Maya site, the largest Maya site, what kind of items the Mayas may have used and what for. So, for them is almost like a scavenger hunt also trying to find the answers”.
The exhibition was predominantly characterized by Belize’s ancient dwellers, the Maya. We got to speak with a couple of students from El Shaddai Primary School who shared with us one of the things that they picked up while at the event.
“They go into temples and cut their hands and then they burn it on paper to, let’s say, to invite or worship the gods. How they communicate to each other, the leaders are in the higher part of the whole area of the temple and while everyone else are scattered about in the woods, and when it’s time to praise of gods, communicate to each other and talk”.
“One thing that really stood out form this experience is to know that the Maya actually were great artists and really very smart mathematicians and astronomers. One thing that really amused me was their way of cutting obsidian to making weapons. For me, I tried that once and it was really hard. I even cut myself with the rock!”
The event organizers also hosted a poster competition, where primary school students displayed their artistic capabilities in the theme of surrounding the exhibition. The top three were awarded this morning, and on an additional all three were schools of Orange Walk. We spoke to the first place winner, a standard five student of New Life Presbyterian Primary School, who explained to us the meaning behind his poster.
“Step 1 is when they are making it carving it with an axe and a needle…a big one; step 2 is when they are putting the traditional clothes and adornment; Step 3 is when they die in Altun Ha; Step 4 is when it’s in the museum and all the children are watching it.”