Campus: CSU Long Beach -- June 05, 2002

Research by Cal State L.A.'s Anthropology Team is Featured on the Cover of Science News Magazine

Cal State L.A. faculty members-cave archaeologist James Brady and art historian Manuel Aguilar-along with undergraduate Sergio Garza and graduate student Shankari Patel, made the front page of Science News (May 18, 2002, vol. 161, no. 20). Their research of Mayan caves was the source of a cover story by Bruce Bower, entitled "Openings to the Underworld: The ancient Maya may have dug caves with spiritual abandon."

The article makes reference to the following research presentations made by Cal State L.A.'s anthropology team at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology: "Origin caves and cosmology: A man-made Chicomoztoc complex at Acatzingo Viejo," "The implications of artificial caves for our understanding of cave function," "Caves and pilgrimage on Cozumal Island," and "Balam Na Cave 4: Its implications for understanding preclassic cave mortuary practice."

Professor Brady heads the group of researchers who are probing the ancient Maya's sacred landscape. Through their fieldwork, Brady has come to realize that this group's belief system invested "immense supernatural power in caves and the mountains that surround them."
According to Science News, "In their view, a supernatural terrain permeated pre-Columbian religious life from central Mexico through much of Central America and still inspires faith in many native groups…Caves occupy the focal point of this archaeological project. In initial research, Brady discovered that some of the largest Maya outposts of the Classic period, which lasted from A.D. 200 to A.D. 900, were strategically oriented on and around natural and humanmade caves."

Published since 1922, Science News, an award-winning weekly newsmagazine, presents significant research in all science fields for general readers and scientists.

Contact: Margie Yu, Public Affairs Specialist (323) 343-3047.


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