Deep in the jungles of Yucatán, Millsaps students are exploring the ancient Maya city of Kiuic. The city, which had a population of between 5,000 and 8,000 people, was inhabited from approximately 900 B.C. to 1000 A.D. and is the oldest known settlement located in the Puuc region of Mexico's Yucatán peninsula.
Kiuic is located in a 4500-acre bio-cultural reserve owned and developed by Millsaps College. The reserve, which supports and sustains rich flora and fauna, is home to a number of Maya ruins. The forest and the ruins provide a unique setting for study in the fields of anthropology, culture, biology, archaeology, chemistry, ecology, and history.
Under the direction of Millsaps professor, Dr. George Bey, the work at Kiuic has rewritten Maya history, demonstrating that advanced civilization flourished in the northern Yucatán long before scholars had previously estimated. This year, these achievements are documented in the National Geographic television special, "Quest for the Lost Maya," which premiered on March 28th.
Students are active participants at Kiuic, where they gain hands-on experience in excavation and the analysis of Maya artifacts, some of which are returned to the Keck Lab, located on the Millsaps College campus. The Keck Lab offers state of the art scientific equipment and is one of the few laboratories in the country where an undergraduate student can gain extensive experience analyzing ancient artifacts.