A gallery is dedicated to carved ivory and a collection of royal crowns. There are finely decorated bowls made from a round, pumpkin-like vegetable called a calabash. A crafts market sells batik cloth, wood carvings, textiles, and other handicrafts. But one of the oldest and most important pieces in the museum is the Jemaa Head. This terracotta clay sculpture was made by someone who lived during the ancient Nok civilization around 500 B.C.E. How did it come to live here? Why is it so important?
The mystery began in 1943. A visitor brought alife-sized clay head to British archaeologist Bernard Fagg. The visitor said it was being used as a scarecrow head in a yam field. Fagg was curious. This head looked very old, but did not match objects made by any known ancient civilization. He began investigating. He learned that local people had found terracotta sculptures in odd places. Some were found under sports fields. Others were found on hilltops or sticking out of gravel piles in tin mines. Soon Fagg had collected nearly 200 of these objects.
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From golden frogs to big cats to colorful birds, the national animals of Central America represent the geography and cultures of the region. For a quick sampling of creatures plain and beautiful, common and rare, read on.
31 Countries Biosphere
The Trifinio Fraternidad Biosphere Reserve is located at a spot where El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras converge. A biosphere is the layer of planet Earth where life exists.
THE LEGEND OF THE QUETZAL BIRD
A Mayan Tale retold by Pat Betteley illustrated by Amanda Shepherd
Semana Santa GUATEMALA'S HOLY WEEK
What if Easter preparations meant dyeing sand, collecting pine needles, and staying up all night to work on an art project that you knew would be ruined the very next day? Well, welcome to Guatemala’s Semana Santa, or Holy Week.
The Maya are groups of people who live in parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Their ancestors created a great society. At its peak, from 600-900 C.E., the Maya civilization was more advanced than its neighbors in the Americas.
Playing Games Honduras-style
Would you play the same games in Honduras that you do in the United States? You might. Children in Honduras enjoy many of the same games North Americans do. They go fishing and shoot baskets. They play sandlot baseball—called bate (BAH tay). They fly kites and ride bikes. Their parents may go horseback riding or play golf or tennis.
LIVING A LONG LIFE IN THE Blue Zone
Most people would like to live as long a life as possible. No one really knows why some people live longer than others, but did you know that where you live can play a big part in how many years you’ll be alive? If you live in a Blue Zone, chances are that you will live much longer than people in other parts of the world.
ATTENTION WORLD: Belize Saves Their Coral Reef
Sea turtles float in clear waters, colorful corals hug the ocean floor, and aquatic animals glide among the mangrove roots. Welcome to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second-largest coral reef in the world (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is number one). Several years ago, this reef was in crisis, heading toward destruction. But the people of Belize fought back to save their reef’s health.
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a 51-mile long canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This is Central America!
It’s time to visit Central America. But first, it helps to know exactly where Central America is. Despite its name, it is the southernmost part of North America, which can seem a little confusing. It makes up most of the isthmus dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and has water on both sides.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
HOW TO SAIL AWAY WITHOUT QUITTING YOUR LIFE: ADVICE FROM A COUPLE WHO’VE DONE IT. PATRICK AND SHEILA DIXON EXPLAIN HOW TO MAKE ‘HYBRID CRUISING’ WORK
Startups With an Unusual Fight
Often targeted by police, Nigeria’s tech industry works on ways to help protesters
ABC to XYZ
Lagos Is Facing Its Bottle Problem
With plastic beverage container use doubling in three years, pressure to recycle is building
Los pumas de Patagonia
Proteger estos felinos de Chile ha tenido graves consecuencias para los ganaderos. ¿El turismo es la solución?
Is Lagos the Most Dangerous Party City On the Planet?
With Nigerian music influencing America hip-hop and EDM, Adam Skolnick travels to the world capital of Afropop and finds a city that's both captivating and conflicted.
The Netflix of Africa Doesn’t Need Hollywood to Win
Does the low-budget, DIY, Nollywood-movie-streaming, "Netflix of Africa" have enough of a lead to hold off the real Netflix?
THE KING OF AFROPOP
He’s the guy Drake and Beyoncé call up whenever they need a continent-spanning smash hit and now, Lagos’s own Wizkid is taking over speakers everywhere with the sounds of home.
Terruño antiguo, nueva raíces
El espectacular Valle de Okanagan, en Canadá, emerge como un diverso y emocionante destino vinícola.
BUILT ON WATER, OIL AND ISLANDS, LAGOS IS NIGERIA'S GETRICH LOUD-AND-PROUD CITY, WHERE DRAMA UNFOLDS ON EVERY CORNER AND SIMPLY OBSERVING IS NOT AN OPTION
Switching from the slumber of middle England to the sensory explosion that is Lagos was a transition I had to make during childhood summers.