Live talk webinar: Meso-American ball games

FIFA Museum Seestrasse 27, 8002 Zurich English

The history of ball games in Meso-America stretches back millennia. Join us and our experts for a free one-hour webinar for a deep dive into the significance of ball games for Meso-American communities and their parallels with today’s football.

Meso-American ball games were fundamental for the political, social and ritual life of the communities and empires that flourished in the region. The playing of ball games is one of the traits that defined the Meso-American cultural tradition.

Long overlooked, Meso-American ball games are an important part of the cultural heritage of all modern ball sports, and some of the parallels with today’s football are striking. All modern ball sports have their own unique origin story that led to codification, so one that was played with the hip would seem to have limited relevance to the story of how association football was developed. It would be wrong, however, to assume that there are no connections.

Much of what we know today about the Meso-American ball games comes from the archaeological finds related to the ball courts. Join our live talk webinar with our experts and take a step back in time to witness a ball game in Meso-America. It might not be an entirely unfamiliar experience for the modern fan.

Our experts:

Dr. Manuel Aguilar-Moreno - California State University, USA

Dr. Manuel Aguilar-Moreno has been conducting research in diverse topics of Pre-Columbian and Colonial History and Art of Latin America, comparative studies of art, history and mythology of diverse ancient cultures of the world such as India, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Israel, Greece, and Rome. As a professor at California State University, Los Angeles, he is conducting research in diverse areas of the Art and History of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America with emphasis on Mexico, and specifically Aztec Art and ULAMA (survival of the Mesoamerican Ballgame).

Dr. Martin Berger - University of Leiden, Netherlands

Martin Berger is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Archaeology and a member of the interdisciplinary research group Museums, Collections, and Society. His research interests include (ethnographic) museums and collections histories, indigenous forms of representation, and the impact of globalization on indigenous cultures. He has explored these interests with specific attention to Mesoamerica and Surinam.


Learn more about Meso-American ball games in our digital exhibition “Origins: Pre-Histories of Football”


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