This symposium, presented by the Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), celebrates the landmark exhibition Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed, as well as the Smithsonian publication, Revealing Ancestral Central America, edited by Rosemary A. Joyce. This program features leading voices in the interpretation and recovery of the region’s rich indigenous heritage.
Part 4 features a panel discussion on Preserving Central America’s Patrimony. The panelists include Christina Luke (Boston University), Fabio Amador (National Geographic), and Francisco Ulloa-Corrales (National Museum of Costa Rica). Moderated by Rosemary A. Joyce (University of California, Berkeley). Eduardo Díaz, (Director, Smithsonian Latino Center) gives the closing remarks of the symposium.
The symposium, exhibition, and book have their genesis in the Central American Ceramics Research Project, an initiative launched when visiting researchers from the Smithsonian Latino Center realized that the NMAI was quietly caring for one of the largest and most significant collections of Central American archaeology in existence, with approximately 17,000 objects from the region. Astonishingly, this includes more than 10,000 intact vessels, embodying countless untold stories. From figurines depicting powerful women in the Greater Nicoya region to finely decorated vessels of wealthy farming hamlets of the Ulúa Valley and the fantastical designs on Coclé, we can see that the peoples of pre-Hispanic Central America developed uniquely local identities and cultural traditions while also engaging in vital exchanges of ideas, goods, and technologies with their neighbors in all directions.
This program was webcast from the National Museum of the American Indian Rasmuson Theater on September 8, 2013.