Mystery of the Maya: Early World History from the Maya Perspective

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Dr. Gregory Hammond is an Associate Professor of History at Austin Peay State University who knows from personal experience how enriching international travel can be. As an undergraduate at Williams college he first experienced study abroad as a Junior in Madrid, Spain. Since then, his research on women’s suffrage in Latin America has taken him to conferences and archives in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Honduras, and Russia. His courses have ranged from focused looks at the culture and history of these nations to survey courses on world and U.S. history. Over the course of his career, Dr. Hammond has taught at a variety of Universities, ranging from large public institutions such as Arizona State and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his doctorate in 2004, to small private colleges such as Oberlin and Colgate. At all of these universities, Dr. Hammond has had the opportunity to work with bright, motivated students and has worked to help them all achieve their goals in school and beyond.

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Mystery of the Maya: Early World History from the Maya Perspective


Program Dates:

Honors Credit:

WKU Course:


Course Description:
The re-discovery of Mayan cities in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico has prompted many theories about the civilization that built them. In this introductory-level course, we will consider and challenge conflicting explanations by examining the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, leading up the moment that brought sustained contact between the eastern and western hemispheres in 1492. Visits to the Belize Zoo, Blue Creek field station, and South Water Caye will help illustrate the conditions of early societies, while trips to Tikal (Guatemala) and Caracol or Altun Ha (Belize) will allow us to examine the growth of complex societies.

Writing skills commensurate with an introductory-level undergraduate course. Students will be expected to read assigned material prior to the start of the program, write daily reflections on material covered, and complete an essay assignment due after our return from Belize.

Physical Activity Requirements:
Expect to walk 4-6 miles on most days. Activities will take place in the summer in a tropical climate- students should be prepared for this environment. Closed toed hiking shoes that breathe are a required.

Course Highlights:
Students will engage in a comprehensive overview of world history from the origins of complex societies through 1500 C.E. Visits to important historical sites in Belize and Guatemala and to natural sites in Belize will illustrate the important themes of world history and allow students to interact with the forces that shaped that history Students will develop research and communication skills that focus on analysis of historical information and comparing historical events. Ideal for any undergraduate student, but especially helpful to those with an interest in the humanities or social sciences. 3 credit hours earned over two weeks- undergraduates only.