Chip Taylor Communications



Subject: So. Studies/Sciences: Geography/Cultures

Latin American Studies Series

A series of documentaries that offers in-depth studies on the geography, history, culture and people of various Latin American countries; also informative perspectives on significant contemporary issues are addressed. Programs available on 23 individual DVDs, Digital Streaming Files or Videos; also in a 23-Disc Set. Click for more

Beneath the Jungle and Beyond (MesoAmerica)

Beneath the Jungle and Beyond (MesoAmerica)

Mesoamerica. About 13000 years before the time of Christ a consortium of autonomous city/kingdoms developed and flourished in a region now mapped as southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. They thrived until around the fifteenth century AD, leaving behind astounding monuments to the energy, industry, and ingenuity of their populations. They built temples rivaling those of Egypt, not as large, but more extensive; and they used a calendar more accurate than our own. Today, the descendants of those ancient Maya still populate this same region of Central America; many are still farmers and ranchers. In some areas, Mennonite farmers have laid claim to the land and are making it productive in their own way. In Belize, which is an English-speaking country, only German is spoken in one Mennonite colony. They are cool to outsiders, and also seem to have preserved some sense of still being in the nineteenth century; they travel by horse and buggy or carriage - or walk. A bride and groom may receive a new handmade buggy as a cherished wedding gift. In the highlands of Guatemala, ancient rituals are still practiced, where chickens are sacrificed, rather than humans, to old Mayan deities. Christian beliefs are often mixed with those ancient and obscure practices in quixotic ways; sometimes on mountaintops, sometimes on the steps of a cathedral. Copán, in Honduras, was found buried in the jungle in the 1830's; it is a magnificent complex of temples underlain by recently discovered tunnels. Here we find the great Hieroglyphic Stairway of Copán, which is perhaps the largest single text in the world, certainly the longest text from pre-Columbian America. The Barrier Reef of the Caribbean, along the eastern shore of Belize, is a contrast to the ancient Mayan world. Submerged with the fish, we get a chance to see a surprising variety of underwater life that thrives here, even though the reef itself faces a list of threats to its very existence. Lastly, modern cities contrast with remote villages, and both are part of this thriving world today that has emerged from a jungle beginning. Produced by Trailwood Films. 2010 JSCA 80 min. 16:9





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