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The Field Museum Public Relations Department
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The Ancient Americas
A Journey Back in Time to the Roots of Civilization
Step into the world of Ice Age mammoth hunters. Walk through a replica of an
800-year old pueblo dwelling and imagine your entire family cooking, eating and
sleeping in one small room. Explore the Aztec Empire and its island capital Tenochtitlan,
a city of more that 200,000 people and an extraordinary feat of engineering for any era.
Do all this and more at The Ancient Americas exhibition at The Field Museum.
The Ancient Americas is an exploration of the challenges that human beings
everywhere have faced for millennia. It’s a journey through 13,000 years of cultural
evolution in the Western Hemisphere, where hundreds of diverse societies thrived long
before the arrival of Europeans. Telling the epic story of human life on the American
continents, the exhibition covers the arrival of small groups of hunter-gatherers, to the
great – but fragile – empires of the Aztecs and Incas.
Based on ground-breaking research by Field Museum scientists and others, The
Ancient Americas shatters long-held preconceptions. Visitors discover the intelligence,
creativity, and innovations that allowed groups to diversify and populate the hemisphere.
The stories of The Ancient Americas are told through captivating displays and
activities, with something for visitors of all ages and levels of interest. Visitors begin
their journey in the world of Ice Age mammoth hunters in Chicago circa 11,000 BC,
survey the monumental earthworks of mound-building peoples, and explore the great
cities of Tenochtitlan and Cuzco, capitals of the Aztec and Inca empires. Interactive
maps, dioramas, videos and computer activities specially created for the exhibition allow
visitors to follow Field Museum archaeologists into the field. Each major gallery of The
Ancient Americas also has a special section to excite the imagination of children and
spark conversation among family members by prompting them to place themselves
within the ancient cultures.
The heart of The Ancient Americas exhibition is built on The Field Museum’s
unsurpassed archaeological collections. On display are more than 200 ceramic vessels
-more-
from the Museum’s world-famous Peruvian collections, hundreds of luxury and spiritual
items from our comprehensive Hopewell collection, 200 of the scarce gold objects left
after conquistadores raided Colombia of its treasures, and much more.
In the final gallery, today’s native peoples tell their own stories on large video
screens. The videos show contemporary communities and their connections to the past,
the new traditions they’re bringing into the future, and the diverse lives they live in every
corner of the Western Hemisphere.
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The Ancient Americas is made possible by the McCormick Foundation.
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