The Ancient Maya
The Classic Period of Maya art and architecture was between 250 – 900 AD. This includes Copan’s Golden Age: 420 – 820 AD. Sixteen rulers guided the fortunes of Copan’s citizens for those 400 years. The massive architecture and refined beauty of the carved stone monuments leaves us a reminder of the greatness of these ancient Americans.
• Hundreds of beautifully carved glyphs, a testament to one of the first five writing systems ever developed by humankind
• Over 3 km of archaeologists’ tunnels representing the largest example of “arthroscopic archaeology” in the Maya world
• The most deeply and realistically carved portraits of Maya rulers
• The best-preserved Maya temple – “Rosalila”
• The longest text in the pre-Contact Americas – the Hieroglyphic Stairway
• The most renowned history of modern archaeology in the Maya world
• UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1980.
Rich Culture in a Poor Land: The extensive ancient city moved renowned 19th Century English archaeologist Sylvanus Morley to describe Copan as “the Athens of the New World”, but in a modern country where per capita income is $810 a year, it is difficult to find the resources to protect and research Copan’s unique architecture, sculpture, and artifacts.