Aztec, Inca and Maya Collections

Ceramic, flute whistle.

FMNH Cat #: 241014

© The Field Museum, A114598_04Ad, Photographer John Weinstein.

The Museum is rich in collections from three of the ancient Middle and South American cultures whose conflicts with European societies were among the most dramatic and far-reaching. These collections are particularly strong in ceramics:

Aztec pottery from Late Post-Classic Mexico (ca. A.D. 1450-1521)--one of the finest collections of Aztec ceramics outside Mexico. Through analysis of clay samples from a series of vessels, a Museum research associate uncovered pathways of economic exchange during this period on the brink of European contact.

Maya pottery excavated by Field Museum archaeologist J. Eric Thompson on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and in Belize. Because these pieces were systematically collected and documented, they are an unusually telling record of early twentieth-century archaeological methods.

Inca vessels from the Montez Collection, purchased from a private Peruvian collector in the nineteenth century. This collection contributes insights into the economy, technology, and symbolism of this highland empire.