Mayan civilization and culture will be the focus of this year’s Imagine Lecture presented by the Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Sept. 7) in the Auditorium at 1221 Whipple St., Eau Claire.
Richard Hansen (shown in photo on home page), a specialist in the study of early Maya, will be the speaker.
Hansen, who holds a Ph.D. degree from UCLA, has led archaeological research and scientific studies in northern Guatemala for 33 years. His studies have identified some of the largest and earliest ancient cities in Central America.
Hansen’s work has been featured in film documentaries on the Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, ABC’s “20/20,” the British Broadcasting Corporation, “Good Morning America,” The History Channel, “Primetime Live” and in several programs on the National Geographic channel. He was the historical consultant on the 2006 Mel Gibson film “Apocalyto.”
Discoveries by Hansen and his colleagues in 1989 established the idea that ancient Maya societies had centralized governments as early as 1000-600 B.C., which was far earlier than first supposed. Classic Maya cultural history ended sometime around 850 A.D., with the collapse of the use of ceremonial centers in what are now parts of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend an evening with Dr. Hansen and are looking forward to him sharing the knowledge acquired from his extensive research on the Mayan people,” said Dr. Terrance Borman, the Imagine Lecture committee chair.
The Imagine Lecture was inspired by the late Dr. David Winter, who pursued knowledge and innovation and was unafraid to envision something more, different or better, according to a press release from the MCHS. He was a specialist in diagnostic radiology.
“David inspired us with his keen interest in learning new skills and his intellectual curiosity, Borman said. “The Imagine Lecture keeps David’s memory alive by stimulating us with new knowledge and perspectives.”
Light refreshments will be served following Hansen’s presentation. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 715-464-3017.
Parking is available in Mayo’s free ramp at the corner of Fulton and Whipple Streets. The Auditorium is located on the lower level of the hospital.