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The Maya

Discover the fascinating connection that Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm has to the rainforests of Belize and the ancient Maya civilisation. Throughout the Butterfly Farm there are over 30 replicated ancient Maya artefacts!
The Maya and the Butterfly Farm
  • Blue Morpho from Belize on display at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly FarmBlue Morpho from Belize on display at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm
  • Blue Morpho PupaBlue Morpho Pupa

Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm is directly connected to the rainforests of Belize and the ancient Maya civilisation - Maya, pronounced My-a.

Many of the beautiful butterflies you see at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm are supplied by its sister farm the Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm located in the Maya Mountains of Belize. This area, where both the ancient Maya and the present-day Maya come from, is the perfect environment for the plants that are required for tropical butterflies to feed and breed upon.

Most of the people who work at the Fallen Stones Farm are Kekchi Maya and it is named after the Late Classic (AD 600-900) Maya site of Lubaantun - the place of the fallen stones, which is right on its doorstep!

Our friends at Hickatee Cottages help with the logistics of transporting the butterflies from Belize to Stratford-upon-Avon. If ever you are in the area it is the most unique and wonderful place to stay. The Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm is not open to the general public but guests staying at Hickatee Cottages can arrange a special visit to Fallen Stones.

Maya and Mesoamerican artefacts and statues have been replicated and are on display throughout the Butterfly Farm.
The Olmec Head
  • Olmec Head © ShortworkOlmec Head © Shortwork

The Olmec people were an advanced civilisation that predated the Maya by around 1500 years. They created colossal heads that the ancient Maya would have seen in their lifetime and can still be seen today.

You can find a replicated Olmec Head over looking the fish-filled pool within the rainforest flight area.

Halloucigenic Mushrooms!
  • Mushroom HeadsMushroom Heads

Stone sculptures with mushroom heads have been found in the Maya site of Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala, along with grinding implements. It may have been that the ancient Maya ground hallucinogenic mushrooms and used them in a beverage as part of a ritual ceremony!

You can find several examples of these mushroom stones throughout the butterfly farm.

An Incredible Civilisation
  • Replicated Maya ArtefactReplicated Maya Artefact

The Maya were an incredible civilisation that built spectacular pyramids within the harsh environment of the Mesoamerica rainforests.They achieved this without the use of metal tools, the wheel and pack animals!

They were the only civilisation in the Americas to develope a fully-fledged writing system. Their creation of the number zero allowed them to develop complex calendars, enabling them to become excellent astronomers, charting the movement of the sun, moon and stars.

Celestial Gods and the Great Ball Game
  • The Great Ball GameThe Great Ball Game

Dwarfs were thought of as a connection to the celestial Gods, and were givers of good advice to their rulers. They formed a link between ball games the underworld and the sky. Football was very important to the Maya, holding deep religious and ritual meaning.

Most cities had a ball court and the aim of the game was to hit a heavy rubber ball through a hoop using mainly your hips. If you won you were sacrificed to the Gods!

Lady K'abel
  • Maya Warrior QueenMaya Warrior Queen

Lady K’abel, also known as Lady Snake Lord or Lady Water Lily Hand, was the military ruler of the Wak kingdom.

She ruled as a supreme warrior between AD 672 and 692, having a higher authority than her husband, K’inich Bahlam, the King!

Maya Nobility
  • Maya NobilityMaya Nobility

This noble man from Jaina Island is showing his wealth and noble status with his ornate headdress and jewellery.

The bigger the headdress the more noble you were!

Fantastic Farmers
  • Chilli Peppers in the Discovery ZoneChilli Peppers in the Discovery Zone

The Maya were able to farm within the harsh constraints of the rainforests and grew crops such as maize, chilli pepper, avocado and pineapple.

More importantly they discovered the cacao pod, we have the Maya to thank for giving us the delight of delicious chocolate!

Download your own copy of the Discover the Maya interpretation to bring with you on your next visit to the Butterfly Farm.

If you want to know more about the artifacts and statues meanings then take a look at the Maya 'Find the Statues' interpretation board which can be found in the Rainforest Flight Area.

The interpretation board gives an explanation of what the statues are and an insight into the culture and beliefs of the Maya civilisation.

A downloadable copy is available below.

Discover the Maya interpretation