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Yupay: The Culture of Counting, Accounting, and Recounting in Ancient Peru

September 26-27 – Society for Andean and Amazonian Studies 2015 Conference

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Society for Andean and Amazonian Studies, a biennial Southeastern conference focused on a broad range of social scientists working in the Andes, the Amazon, and beyond!

Keynote lecture:

“Yupay: The Culture of Counting, Accounting, and Recounting in Ancient Peru”

Gary Urton, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies, Harvard University
For inquiries, please contact David Chicoine (
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
(More info coming)

9th Annual Maya at the Playa Conference

September 17-20 in Palm Coast, Florida

“Logwood, Liquor, and Luxury in 19th Century Yucatán” – Anthony P. Andrews – New College
“Cuando el Tecolote Canta: Owls in Mesoamerica” – Harri Kettunen
“The Incandescent Sunset: The Last Years of Classic Period Tikal” – Stanley Guenter
“Ancient Maya Cosmology and Pilgrimage at the Sacred Pools of Cara Blanca, Belize” – Lisa J. Lucero – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Debating Chichen Itza” – William M. Ringle
“Thrones of the Puuc Maya” – Tomás Gallareta Negrón
“From El Salvador to Copan by Way of Yucatan: A Half Century of Research on the Maya and Their Neighbors” – E. Wyllys Andrews – Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Tulane University
“Yes, Virginia, there is an Early Postclassic: What we can agree about Chichen Itza, what we argue about, and what we still want to know” – Geoffrey E. Braswell
“Why Maya Pottery Matters” – James Aimers
“Maya Roads And Engineering—Lessons From Sacbe One Of Yaxuna” – Traci Ardren
“History and archaeology at Holmul” – Francisco Estrada-Belli
“The Institute of Maya Studies and the First Loan of a Stela to a Foreign Museum” – Keith Merwin – Institute of Maya Studies
“The Glyphs of Comalcalco: Conquest and Culture Change on the Northwest Maya Frontier” – Marc Zender
“Social Memory Graven in Stone: Changes in political discourse in the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period” – Marcello Canuto
“In the beginning: Early pottery and the origins of Maya iconography” – George J. Bey III (Millsaps College)
“Seismicity and Volcanism in Central America, its effect on Maya Cities” – Joaquin J. Rodriguez III PE, SECB
“MAYA TO MODERN; INFORMED BY THE LAND” – Carl AbbottAbbott’s fascination with ancient design began at Yale as a student of Vincent Scully ( author of The Earth, the Temples, and the Gods ). Carl is strongly informed by his experience of the sacred architecture of the Maya — the manner in which their buildings respond to the land and the movement of the sun and stars. Carl shows connections in his Architecture along with images from his recent studies with National Geographic archaeologists to reveal the exotic, sophisticated world of the Maya.

2015 Maya at the Lago Conference

Davidson Day School – Davidson, North Carolina

Thursday – April 30,2015
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Introductory Glyph Workshop Pt 1
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Intermediate Glyph Workshop Pt 1
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Introductory Glyph Workshop Pt 2
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Intermediate Glyph Workshop Pt 2
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM Welcome to the Conference and AFAR 2014 Review
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Opening Night Barbecue by the Lake

The Thursday Opening Night Barbecue will be held down the street from the conference venue on a serene piece of undeveloped land on the lake. The meal will be catered by local favorite, Lancaster’s Barbecue. The menu will consist of pulled pork, fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, hush puppies, and southern banana pudding. The meal will be served with all the tea, lemonade, beer, and wine you care to drink. This event will be a nice relaxing way to kick off the weekend. The event will cost $25 per person.

Friday – May 1, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Drought and the Collapse of Ancient Civilizations: A Comparative Analysis – Guenter
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM The Climatic Context of Cultural Change in Classic to Colonial Yucatan. – Hoggarth
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM The Rediscovery of Two Cylinder Vases – Stone
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch – I Bambini catering lunch in DDS Commons
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM The Chilanes of Yucatán and Their Words: New Translations of the Chilam Balam Prophecies – Love
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Frozen in Time and Letting it Go: Analysis of contexts at a Puuc Maya hilltop site – Bey
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Invitation to a Masked Hall: Architectural Patterning in the Puuc Hills – Ringle
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Oyohuallis and Intergender Identity among the Toltec-Maya – Coe
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Lakeside Dinner at the Home of Steve and Deb Strachan

The Friday Night Lakeside Dinner will be held at the beautiful lakeside home of Steve and Deb Strachan. The house is located roughly 15 minutes from the venue so guests are welcome to drive or ride in our complementary shuttle to and from the event. The menu will include a buffet of pita and hummus, Greek salad, fresh fruit salad, chicken, steak and shrimp kabobs, orzo tabouli, and pasta salad w/ feta. We will be serving bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes for desert. An open bar of beer, wine, tea, and soft drinks is included in the price of $35 per person.

Saturday – May 2, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Industrial Production of the Ancient Maya: Mold-Made Figurines from the Ruta Maya Collection, Guatemala – Van Stone and Johnson
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Undressing the Painted Past: A Closer Look at Ancient Maya Iconography – Tremain
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Abbreviational Conventions of Classic Maya Writing – Zender
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch Rice Fun catering lunch in DDS Commons
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM The Murals of San Bartolo, Guatemala: Recent Investigations and Interpretations – Taube
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Afternoon Break
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Maya Exploration and Publication: Unlocking the Mystery – Garrett
5:30 PM – 5:45 PM Break
5:45 PM – 6:45 PM Remembering George Stuart – Presenters
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM Lifetime Achievement Dinner Honoring George Stuart
Sunday – May 3, 2015
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Maya Textile Dying Workshop – Tremain
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Maya Mold-Made Figurines Workshop – Van Stone and Thomas
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Closing Lunch at North Harbor Club

20th European Maya Conference – “The Maya in a Digital World”

December 8th to 13th, 2015 – University of Bonn, Germany

The 20th European Maya Conference is hosted by the Department for the Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn, Germany, from December 8th to 13th, 2015. The conference combines three and a half days of workshops (December 8th-11th) and a two-day symposium (December 12th-13th).

The Wayeb Conference Board invites the submission of abstracts concerning the conference topic “The Maya in a Digital World”. Papers will be selected from all subdisciplines of Maya Studies to cover the topic in all dimensions and from various perspectives. We will try to create a thematic balance and accordingly will prioritise papers that complement the topics covered by invited speakers.

Presentations will be accepted in English and Spanish. Abstracts may not exceed 250 words. Contributions of authors who submit more than one abstract (including co-authored papers) will not be considered. Co-authorship needs to be indicated upon submission. It will not be possible to add co-authors on a presentation unless these have been explicitly included in the submitted abstract and approved as such.


The symposium will focus on the role and use of digital research methods in the field of Maya Studies. The Department for the Anthropology of the Americas currently hosts several projects with an emphasis in the Digital Humanities of Maya writing and linguistics. We would like to invite our colleagues to join us in Bonn to present and discuss recent developments of digital data collection and data analysis in Maya research. Topics that will be covered include theoretical and practical aspects of

– methods in computational archaeology including GIS, survey techniques (e.g. LiDAR), 3D-analysis etc.
– the development of applications that support corpus-building and analysis of Maya writing and Mayan languages
– the digitization of archival materials and harvesting of historical data, and
– the use of digital tools and methods in ethnographic and anthropological research

The debate will also touch upon ethical issues, including the questions who owns what data and in which way digital research methods can become tools of decolonialisation that can bridge dialogues — between foreign and local researchers, between researchers and their “research subjects”, and within Maya communities. In this context, we would also like to explore the impact of the digital age on contemporary Maya societies and discuss the role of digital media such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter in education, politics and identity building in the modern Maya world.

Invited speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Presentations will be accepted in English and Spanish. Abstracts may not exceed 250 words. Contributions of authors who submit more than one abstract (including co-authored papers) will not be considered. Co-authorship needs to be indicated upon submission. It will not be possible to add co-authors on a presentation unless these have been explicitly included in the submitted abstract and approved as such.

Please submit in electronic format (attached Word or RTF document) in the following order:

Author’s name and affiliation
Adress, phone number and email address
Title of paper

The abstracts will be forwarded without the author’s particulars to an anonymous Review Committee that will be selected by the Wayeb Conference Board. The call for papers will close on the 31 May 2015! All abstracts have to be sent in and confirmation of receipt received prior to this date.

Please submit your application to

Only abstracts sent to this address will be accepted. Please do not send your abstract to the organizers or the Conference Board! If you send your abstract to another email address than the above, your abstract will be immediately disqualified from further consideration.

For further information, please contact the Wayeb Conference Board or the local organizers at

2015 Northeastern Group of Nahuatl Studies Conference at Yale

May 8-9

There will be a $50 registration fee, payable by check or cash.

Tentative Schedule

Friday, May 8, 2015
12:00 PM – Registration opens
1 PM – Greetings
1:05 – Kenneth Ward (John Carter Brown Library), “Nahuatl Holdings of the John Carter Brown Library”
1:30 – Ben Leeming (University at Albany and The Rivers School), “Nican tlatoz in antecristo: Two newly-discovered neixcuitillished light on Nahua views of the Apocalypse”
2:00 – Stephanie Wood (University of Oregon), “A Gradually Widening Nahuatl Literacy in New Spain”
2:30 – 2:45 Break
2:45 – Document analysis
Benjamin D. Johnson, “Nezahualcoyotl and a tlaxilacalli, 170 years later: Tetzcoco, 1581”
3:30 – Gordon Whitaker (University of Gottingen), “The Hieroglyphs of Ixtlilxochitl”
4:00 – Szymon Gruda (University of Warsaw), “Nahuatl Catholic Lexis in the Vocabulario Trilingüe of the Newberry Library”
4:30 – Justyna Olko (University of Warsaw), “Uses of the Past in the Nahuatl Documents from San Juan Ixtenco, Tlaxcala”
5:00 – Document analysis
Ben Leeming, “Problem areas in Hispanic Society of America NS 3/1, ‘sermones y miscelánea de devoción.'”

Saturday, May 9
9:00 – John Sullivan (IDIEZ) and Justyna Olko, The Totlahtol monolingual publication series
Special Panel: Yancuic Tlahtolli
9:30 – Amos Megged (University of Haifa) “The Sixteenth-Century Nahuatl Titles from Matlahuacala, (Tlaxcala)”
10:00 – Lori Boornazian Diel (Texas Christian University), “The Codex Mexicanus re-Visited”
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – Natalio Hernández Xocoyotzin, (escritor Nahua), “La antigua y la nueva palabra en la poesía nahuatl”
11:15 –Victor Castillejos, “El lienzo de la palabra de la gente nube.”
11:45 – Document analysis
Louise Burkhart, “‘The Virgin Mary and the Pious Shepherdess’: A Miracle Narrative from Bancroft MS M-M 464″
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – Patrick Joahnsson (UNAM), ” “La palabra, la imagen y el manuscrito. Lecturas ind’genas de un texto pict—rico en el siglo XV”
2:00 – Amber Brian (University of Iowa), “Recalling the Native Past in the Colonial Present: don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitland the Representation of Collective Memory”
2:30 – 2:45 Break
2:45 – Andrew Laird (Warwick), “Nahuatl through 16th century Renaissance Latin eyes”
3:15 – Delia Camarena (UNAM) and Daniéle Dehouve (CNRS-Université Paris X Nanterre): “Difrasismos, metáforas y metonimias rituales en la larga duración”
3:45 – 4:00 Break
4:00 – Document analysis
Jerry Offner, “The Many Challenges of Translating Commercial and Economic Terms in Sahagun and Similar Texts: Some Examples”
4:45 – Barbara Mundy, Nicole Hughes, Gordon Whitaker, Cristobal Trujillo, “Digital edition of the Codex Aubin”

The organizers include:
Caterina Pizzigoni (cp2313 at
John Sullivan (idiez at
Louise Burkhart (burk at
John F. Schwaller (jfschwaller at

The meetings will be held at:
Yale University
Luce Hall, Room 203,
34 Hillhouse Avenue,
New Haven, Connecticut

“In the Realm of the Vision Serpent: Decipherments and Discoveries in Mesoamerica. A Symposium in Homage to Linda Schele”

The Art History Society of California State University, Los Angeles

Dr. Linda Schele was a pioneer in the decipherment of the Maya Hieroglyphic Writing and an extraordinary professor of Maya and Mesoamerican Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She was a very influential and passionate professor that mentored her students to excellence and inspired them to discover and interpret the diverse aspects of the Mesoamerican World eith a critical approach. Many of them are today among the leaders in the field of Mesoamerican Studies. On April 18, 1998, she passed away of pancreatic cancer at the age of 55. She was laid to rest on a hill top overlooking Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

On April 11, 2015 Linda Schele will be presented posthumously the Tlamatini Award at California State University, Los Angeles. David Schele, her widower, will be present to receive the award on her behalf as will be many of her former students.


“A Feathered Plate for the Afterlife” Dr. Mary Miller

Mary Miller, Sterling Professor of History of Art, served as dean of Yale College from December 2008 until June 2014. Before assuming the deanship, Miller served as master of Saybrook College for nearly a decade. Miller earned her A.B. from Princeton in 1975 and her Ph.D. from Yale in 1981, joining the faculty in that year. She has served as chair of the Department of History of Art, chair of the Council on Latin American Studies, director of Graduate Studies in Archeological Studies, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Women Faculty Forum at Yale. A specialist of the art of the ancient New World, Miller curated The Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2004. For that exhibition, she wrote the catalogue of the same title with Simon Martin, senior epigrapher at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Among her other books are The Murals of Bonampak, The Blood of Kings (with Linda Schele), The Art of Mesoamerica, Maya Art and Architecture, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (with Karl Taube), and A Pre-Columbian World (co-edited with Jeffrey Quilter). She has most recently completed Painting a Map of Mexico City (co-edited with Barbara Mundy; 2012, a study of the rare indigenous map in the Beinecke Library) and The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (with Claudia Brittenham; 2013).

ABSTRACT: From at least 600 onward, plates painted with geometric feather designs form a critical element of funerary offering, and nowhere more so than at Tikal and Uaxactun; Tikal’s famous “Tomb of the Jade Jaguar” had ten such vessels, almost certainly piled high with food for the dead lord. What do the feathers mean? How can we link this imagery with the other common subject painted inside plates, the dancing Maize God? In this talk, the feathered plates, Maize God plates, and muwan bird plates of Campeche and Yucatan will all be brought into one narrative frame.

“The Initial Series Group at Chichen Itza, Yucatan: Recent Studies and Interpretations” – Dr. Karl Taube

Dr. Karl Taube is a Mesoamericanist, archaeologist, epigrapher and ethno-historian, known for his publications and research into the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. In 2008 he was named the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences distinguished lecturer. Dr. Taube received his B .A. in Anthropology in 1980 from Berkeley. At Yale he received his M.A. in 1983 and Ph.D. in 1988. Dr. Taube studied under several notable Mayanist researchers, including Michael D. Coe, Floyd Lounsbury and art historian Mary Miller. Taube later co-authored with Miller a well-received encyclopedic work, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Field research undertaken during the course of his career include a number of assignments on archaeological, linguistic and ethnological projects conducted in the Chiapas highlands, Yucatán Peninsula, Central Mexico, Honduras and most recently, Guatemala. As of 2003, Taube has served as Project Iconographer for the Proyecto San Bartolo, co-directed by William Saturno and Monica Urquizu. His primary role is to interpret the murals of Pinturas Structure Sub-1, dating to the first century B.C. In 2004, Dr. Taube co-directed an archaeological project documenting previously unknown sources of “Olmec Blue” jadeite in eastern Guatemala. He has also investigated pre-Columbian sites in Ecuador and Peru.

ABSTRACT: Archaeological fieldwork performed by the Proyecto Chichen Itza under the direction of Peter Schmidt during 1999 to 2002 uncovered a remarkable series of bas-relief friezes from the upper portions of palace and temple structures. The focus of this study will be buildings featuring avian and floral imagery, including abundant representations of cacao. Many of the friezes contain scenes portraying an avian-headed figure playing music surrounded by floating elements pertaining to music and dance. The relation of music to precious birds is well known for Late Postclassic Central Mexico, as can be seen in the early colonial Nahuatl texts in the Cantares Mexicanos. In addition, these same songs as well other early colonial Nahuatl sources also relate music, flowers and birds to concepts of paradise. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that a very similar complex existed among the more ancient Classic Maya, including the wind deity — god of music and closely related to flowers as well as the embodiment of the breath soul. For the Classic Maya, there was also a duck-billed form of the wind god, forms of which can probably can be traced to much more ancient periods, probably even to the Early Formative of south coastal Chiapas. In contrast to southeastern Mesoamerica, duck-billed anthropomorphic figures are notably absent until the Late Postclassic period in Central Mexico, where he appears as the wind god Ehecatl, a being also closely related to music. In this study, I argue that the avian figure in the Initial Series at Chichen Itza constitutes an Early Postclassic form of the wind god and as such, can be considered as an ancestral form of Ehecatl. Moreover, the Initial Series Group has the most developed monumental program dedicated to the production of cacao in ancient Mesoamerica, with the immediate topography strongly indicating why.

“Abbreviational Conventions of Classic Maya Writing” – Dr. Marc Zender

Marc Zender received his PhD in archaeology from the University of Calgary in 2004. He has taught at the University of Calgary (2002-2004) and Harvard University (2005-2011), and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he has taught epigraphy, linguistics and Mesoamerican languages since September 2011. Marc’s research interests include anthropological and historical linguistics, comparative writing systems, and archaeological decipherment, with a regional focus on Mesoamerica (particularly Mayan and Nahuatl/Aztec). He is the author of several books and dozens of articles exploring these subjects. In addition to his research and writing, Marc is associate editor of The PARI Journal, and (with Joel Skidmore) co-maintainer of Mesoweb, a major internet resource for the study of Mesoamerican cultures.

ABSTRACT: Logosyllabic scripts frequently abbreviate phonemes and morphemes that are nonetheless critical to linguistic interpretation and translation. Abbreviational conventions therefore represent a particularly important field of study for those who propose to understand ancient texts. In the case of Maya writing, it is now well known that this script routinely elides word-final consonants and the first consonant of a cluster when they belong to a class of weak consonants: ʔ, h, j, l, m, n, w, and y (Lacadena and Zender 2001:2-3; Zender 1999:130-142). Another widespread abbreviational convention, shared with such diverse scripts as Egyptian hieroglyphic and Runic, has been termed haplography, whereby a given sign is recorded only once when it should be represented twice, as in ka-wa for ka[ka]w and AJAW-le for ajawle[l] (Zender 2010:4). We can recognize haplography in Maya writing because it alternates with double writing (e.g., ka-ka-wa and AJAW-le-le) and with a diacritical marker that apparently signals the presence of duplicate consonants (e.g., ²ka-wa and AJAW-²le), sometimes also appearing with logograms that are C₁VC₁ in shape (e.g., ²K’AHK’, ²TZUTZ). Finally, Maya writing also frequently elides essential morphological suffixes in the presence of logograms, such that BAJ alternates with ba-la-ja (bajlaj) and OCH with o-chi (och-i) (Zender 2010:4-5). These complex conventions now cast doubt on several previously accepted decipherments, but they also cast new light on others, and suggest procedures that will help to minimize their confounding influences in the future.

“The 8,000 Gods: An Examination of Sacred Beings and Categories in Classic Maya Theology” – Dr. David Stuart

Dr. David Stuart is the David and Linda Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1995, and taught at Harvard University for eleven years before arriving at UT Austin in 2004, where he now teaches in the Department of Art and Art History. His interests in the traditional cultures of Mesoamerica are wide-ranging, but his primary research focuses is the archaeology and epigraphy of ancient Maya civilization, and for the past three decades he has been very active in the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing. Over the past two decades his major research has centered on the art and epigraphy at Copan (Honduras), Palenque (Mexico), Piedras Negras, La Corona, and San Bartolo (Guatemala). Stuart’s early work on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs led to a MacArthur Fellowship (1984-1989). His books include Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya (Thames and Hudson), and most recently The Order of Days (Random House), a popular account of ancient Maya calendars and cosmology. Stuart is also currently the director of The Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which fosters multi-disciplinary studies on ancient American art and culture. In addition, he oversees the activities of the newly established Casa Herrera, UT’s academic research center in Antigua, Guatemala, devoted to studies in the art, archaeology and culture of Mesoamerica.

ABSTRACT: Today we know a great deal about ancient Maya gods, especially their individual imagery and associated iconography. What we lack, however, is a sense of how gods were conceived and categorized within a larger theological system of sacred beings. Using new translations of several revealing texts I will examine the ways the Maya described and classified their own religious system. These sources hint at the internal structure of the animate Maya cosmos — a topic that was always central to Linda’s research and to our own close collaborations.

“Standing on the Edge dreaming of the Center: Linda Schele’s Vision of a Unified Maya Field” – Dr. David Freidel

Dr. David Freidel studies the emergence and fluorescence of government institutions among the lowland Maya of southeastern Mexico and Central America. Currently he is directing long-term research at the royal city of El Perú, ancient Waka’, in northwestern Petén, Guatemala. Established in the Preclassic period by roughly 100 BC, El Perú-Waka’ was the capital of a kingdom and seat of a royal dynasty that endured more than five hundred years and boasted more than 26 successors to the throne, finally collapsing in early ninth century. The Waka’ kingdom commanded strategic trade routes, to the west along a major river, the San Pedro Martir, and to the north overland to the central lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula. Major historical events at the city include its subordination to the principal imperial conquerors of the Maya world: Siyaj K’ahk’ in the fourth century, and Yuknoom Chen II in the seventh century. Although not as large or imposing as the major regional capitals of the Maya world, El Perú-Waka’ is historically important and a productive laboratory for investigating all aspects of Classic Maya civilization.

ABSTRACT: When Linda and I were collaborating in the eighties she looked forward to the day when all students of the southern lowland Classic Maya civilization would participate in a common effort, their independent sources of information and insight embraced, as Evon Vogt would have said, by the collective intention of the ancient sages to inscribe a common history. She was clear in her own mind that the decipherment would reveal that the rulers and courtiers of Classic kingdoms addressed not only their own local constituencies but also their peers throughout the Classic world. Her efforts to articulate this view of the center from afar informed her books. I reflect on this effort and the current state of the center.

The Maya Hauberg Stela and the late Olmec-style sculpture The Young Lord: Middle Formative Origin of the Early Classic Period Maya Stela Cult – Dr. F. Kent Reilly

Dr. F. Kent Reilly, III ia a pre-historian and his interests converge around religion, art, and visual validation of elite authority in New World chiefdoms and early states. His primary focus is Mesoamerican Civilization and has spent a great deal of research examining the art and symbols of the ancient Olmec (1200-400 BC), and Classic Maya (AD 200-900) cultures. In 1995 he was a guest curator and a catalog contributor to the Princeton University exhibition “The Olmec World: Art, Ritual, and Rulership.” He has published articles on the ecological origin of Olmec symbols, The Mesoamerica Center-University of Texas at Austinnfluence of Olmec symbols on the iconography of Maya rulership and the origin and function of the Olmec symbol system. Interest in addition to the ancient Olmec and Maya, include the art and iconography of the prehistoric Mississippian Period of the Southeastern United States. In 2004 Dr. Reilly was a member of the advisory board and a catalog contributor to the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition “Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand; Ancient Native American Art of the Midwest and South.” In 2011 Dr. Reilly was chosen as the Field Anthropologist Consultant for the Muscogee Nation of Florida. The tribe hopes Dr. Reilly will be able to offer fresh insight, research material and advice as they seek federal recognition. This is the final phase of a 63 year journey and the tribe asked Dr. Reilly for his assistance in this last step because of his extensive knowledge of Muscogee government, ceremonial cycles and traditions.

ABSTRACT: The stela is a rare form of public monument in the Maya Lowlands before the Classic Period. Stela were, however, a prominent medium for recording ritual activity at such Middle and Late Formative Period sites as La Venta, in the Olmec heartland and Izapa, on the Pacific coast of Chiapas. The iconography and hieroglyphic inscription carved on the Protoclassic (A.D. 100-200) Hauberg Stela (H.83.8 cm) clearly illustrates that at this early date Maya rulers were validating their elite position through information carved on stela. Specifically, the Hauberg Stela (a Maya work of art near and dear to Linda Schele) depicts a standing, masked, male ruler engaged in ritual actions focusing on bloodletting, supernatural communication, and the establishment of a cosmological framework. A comparison of a Late Middle Formative, stela-like, three-dimensional sculpture from the Pacific Coast region of Guatemala with the Hauberg Stela demonstrates that all of the major themes carried on the Hauberg were fully functioning in a similar medium some 500 years earlier. Like the Hauberg, The “The Young Lord’ or ‘Slim” (65.5 cm) depicts a thin standing, masked, male figure incised with a complex set of secondary symbols. A structural examination of these symbols reveals the same themes of bloodletting, supernatural communication, and cosmological framework which are used to validate the elite position of the ruler depicted on the Hauberg Stela. Furthermore, the relative size of the two sculptures and the similarities of the costuming strongly suggests that they are both fulfilling identical ideological and political functions.

“Preclassic Sculpture and its Relationship to the Popol Vuh” – Dr. Julia Guernsey

Julia Guernsey received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997, and has taught ancient Mesoamerican art and culture history in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin since 2001. Her research and publications continue to focus on the Middle and Late Preclassic periods in ancient Mesoamerica, in particular on sculptural expressions of rulership during this time. She also continues to participate on the La Blanca Archaeological Project, which is exploring this large site that dominated the Pacific coastal and piedmont region of Guatemala during the Middle Preclassic period. Her publications include Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica, published by (Cambridge University Press); The Place of Stone Monuments: Context, Use, and Meaning in Mesoamerica’s Preclassic Transition co-edited, with colleagues John E. Clark (Brigham Young University) and Bárbara Arroyo (Francisco Marroquín University); and Ritual and Power in Stone: The Performance of Rulership in Mesoamerican Izapan Style Art, published by the University of Texas Press.

ABSTRACT: This paper will consider the thematic continuities between Preclassic monuments and the text of the Popol Vuh. Numerous scholars have addressed these parallels, particularly as depicted in the sculpture of Izapa, Chiapas, as clear evidence of the duration of key and recurring narratives for well over a thousand years in Mesoamerica. While the continuities are clear and compelling, there are also differences in the narratives throughout time that are more difficult to understand. This paper will explore both of these aspects – continuity and difference – between the text of the Popol Vuh and monuments from the Preclassic period in Mesoamerica.

“The Identity of Classic Veracruz Palma Figures” – Dr. Rex Koontz

Dr. Rex Koontz is a Professor and Director of the University of Houston, School of Art. His work centers on the art of the Ancient Americas. He is currently investigating the portable sculpture tradition along the Gulf Coast of Mexico between A.D. 100-1000. These objects, known as yoke, hacha, or palma depending on their form, are important for the understanding of the place of artistry in Ancient Mexican politics and culture. More general interests include the construction of meaningful urban spaces in this area and how the programs of sculpture, architecture, painting, and performance seen in the center of these cities helped shape and focus the ancient urban experience. Recent books include Lightning Gods and Feathered Serpents: The Public Sculpture of El Tajin andBlood and Beauty: Organized Violence in the Art and Archaeology of Mesoamerica and Central America (the latter edited with Heather Orr, both 2009). He has done fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras under the aegis of the Tinker Foundation, the University Research Council of the University of Texas, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. He is currently working on a digital tool for visual analysis, VWire, that was awarded a Digital Humanities Startup Grant by the NEH in 2011-12.

ABSTRACT: Palmas – the intricately carved portable sculptures that are closely associated with the Mesoamerican rubber ball game – are found chiefly with the remains of Late Classic Veracruz civilization. Many palmas contain single figures carved in full round who are dressed in complex costumes and hold important objects. Who do these figures represent, and how are they involved with the ball game and its place in Late Classic Veracruz civilization? This presentation will discuss the palma figures in relation to scenes in Veracruz ball courts and elsewhere, proposing that the figures are secondary-tier nobility who were important to rites of investiture of kings, and that the palmas themselves may have been status objects that indicated that noble office.

“The Parentage Paper: an unpublished paper by Linda Schele, Peters Mathews, and Floyd G. Lounsbury” – Dr. Peter Mathews

Dr. Peter Mathews is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at La Trobe University in Australia. He received his BA from the University of Calgary and his PhD from Yale University. His specialization is Maya hieroglyphic writing, and in 1984 he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Prize for his contribution to the decipherment of the script. Among his publications he co-authored with Dr. Schele the seminal publication, The Code of Kings: The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs published in 1999.

ABSTRACT: In 1975 Linda Schele, Peter Mathews, and Floyd Lounsbury saw a pattern in inscriptions from Yaxchilan that named the ruler and then appeared record his parentage. We then looked for similar patterns in the texts of other sites, and found numerous examples. (Christopher Jones had, unbeknownst to us, already discovered the pattern in texts at Tikal.) We proceeded to prepare an article for publication, including illustrations of all the examples we could find, but for various reasons the paper was never published. It was, however, widely circulated in typescript form among our colleagues. This presentation gives a brief history and description of what has come to be known as “the Parentage Paper”

“Eternal Realms of Revelry: The MAW Collection of Pre-Columbian Art” – Dr. John M.D. Pohl

Dr. John M.D. Pohl is an eminent authority on North American Indian civilizations and has directed numerous archaeological excavations and surveys in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America, as well as Europe. He has designed many exhibitions on North and Central American Indian peoples, including “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire” at the Getty Villa in 2010, and co-curated the exhibit “The Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dr. Pohl is noted for bringing the ancient past to life using a wide variety of innovative techniques and his experiences have taken him from the Walt Disney Imagineering Department of Cultural Affairs to CBS television where he served as writer and producer for the American Indian Documentary Series “500 Nations,” and Princeton University where he was appointed as the first Peter Jay Sharp Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas. Among his various titles:
* Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico. J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. Co-authors: Virginia Fields and Victoria I. Lyall.
* The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire. Scala Arts Publishers Inc., 2010. Co-author: Claire L. Lyons.
* Lord Eight Wind of Suchixtlan and the Heroes of Ancient Oaxaca: Reading History in the Codex Zouche-Nuttall. University of Texas Press, 2010. Co-authors: Robert Lloyd Williams & F. Kent Reilly III.
* Narrative Mixtec Ceramics of Ancient Mexico. Stinehour Press, 2007.
* The Legend of Lord Eight Deer: An Epic of Ancient Mexico. Oxford University Press, USA, 2002.
* Exploring Mesoamerica (Places in Time). Oxford University Press, USA, 2002.

“From Texas to California: A Journey with Linda Schele” – Dr. Manuel Aguilar-Moreno

Dr. Manuel Aguilar-Moreno is a Professor of Art History at California State University, Los Angeles.
He received his B.S. in Electronic Engineering and a certification in Education at the ITESO Jesuit University of Mexico. He also earned a degree in Mexican History with emphasis on the state of Jalisco from El Colegio de Jalisco. In 1997 he earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies and in 1999 received an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of the late Dr. Linda Schele and Dr. Karl Butzer.

Dr. Aguilar-Moreno has made numerous cultural and research trips worldwide. He has been a professor of Mesoamerican and Colonial Mexican Art History, World History, History of México and Biblical Literature at such institutions as the ITESO Jesuit University and the Instituto de Ciencias, in Guadalajara, Mexico; the University of San Diego, California; the University of Texas at Austin; the Semester at Sea Program of the Universities of Pittsburgh and Virginia, teaching a complete semester on board of a ship around the world with fieldwork opportunities.
At present he is preparing a comprehensive book based on his Proyecto Ulama 2003-2013.

Among his recent publications:
• The Perfection of Silence: The Cult of Death in Mexico. Guadalajara: Secretary of Culture of Jalisco, 2003.
• Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. New York: Oxford Press, (2007)
• Utopía de Piedra: El Arte Tequitqui de Mexico. Guadalajara: Conexión Gráfica ,(2005)

This is a testimonial presentation and will help to explain what Linda Schele means for me and my students at Cal State LA. I will tell a moving story that as incredible as it may seem, it is totally real. This story proves that we live in a world where people and things exist for a reason and their interactions produce effects that change our lives forever. There are moments in which we just need to say Thanks, keep walking with faith and follow our destiny wherever it takes us. At the end of the road we will understand why things happen and who we really are. This story tells about how the spirit and legacy of Linda Schele came to Los Angeles to stay here.

43rd Annual Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory

February 28-March 1

The Department of Anthropology, together with the Center for Latin American Studies of Vanderbilt University, will host This year’s conference will convene a large and diverse group of scholars presenting their research on a wide array of topics, from archaeological investigation of early prehispanic times to ethnohistorical analyses of the colonial encounter in the Andes and Amazonia.
The conference is free and open to the public.

Keynote speaker:
Clark Erickson, University of Pennsylvania

“Pre-Columbian Monumental Landscapes in the Bolivian Amazon”

A collection of South America-related rare books is on display in the main lobby of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Stop by the library any time to peruse the exhibit.

Please contact John Janusek with any questions.

Buttrick Hall
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee

4th Cracow Maya Conference – Institute of Archaeology & Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology

February 19-22 – Jagiellonian University and Polish Academy of Arts And Sciences

“Into the Underworld: Archaeological and anthropological perspectives on the afterlife in the Pre-Columbian Americas.”
The major subject of the next CMC is death and afterlife in Pre-Columbian Americas. We encourage scholars to submit papers that involve many different disciplines, from archaeology, physical and cultural anthropology to iconography, ethnohistory and epigraphy. Papers may address many different issues related to death, including burial customs, underworld iconography, grave goods, funerary architecture, and the ritual role of caves in both North and South Americas.

The conference will concern the most recent research results on religions, politics as well as cultural and social phenomena related to the concepts of death and afterlife of the New World. Although the subject of the conference is relatively poorly examined, it offers a unique opportunity to have insight into the world of symbols, power, knowledge and beliefs of traditional communities. The leading specialists in contemporary American studies from Poland and abroad will take part in the symposium. They will present their results of archaeological and anthropological research in Americas and promote the history and cultural heritage of the mentioned region. Moreover, the symposium will also be an opportunity for integration of the scientific environment, students and individuals interested in this subject. As part of the conference, the institutes will hold workshops on the Maya hieroglyphic writing system.

Jagiellonian University
Krakow, Poland

Call for Papers: The Midwest Conference on Mesoamerican Archaeology and Ethnohistory

The Midwest Conference on Mesoamerican Archaeology and Ethnohistory (a.k.a. the Midwest Mesoamericanists Meetings) will be holding its 38th annual meeting on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on March 6 and 7. We will be hosting Sr. Patricio Davila Cabrera on March 6 at 4 p.m. as our keynote speaker for the conference. He will be presenting on his research in northeast Mexico in the Huasteca region and discussing the connections and relationships between the cultures of Mesoamerica and the Southeastern U.S. Following Sr. Davila’s presentation we will be hosting a reception on the MTSU campus, and then followed by a more informal reception at the home of Dr. Andrew Wyatt. The conference will then be held all day on Saturday, March 7 in the MTSU Student Union, followed by a reception in the Anthropology Department of Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

We invite anyone interested in presenting a talk to submit an abstract including paper title, your name, institutional affiliation and a descriptive text of no more than 100 words no later than Monday, February 11th, 2015. In order to accommodate as many participants as possible during the Saturday morning and afternoon sessions we ask that everyone adhere to a presentation length of 15 minutes, with 5 minutes following reserved for a few follow-up questions or comments.

Please submit your abstract to:

Dr. Andrew R. Wyatt
Department of Sociology and Anthropology Middle Tennessee State University

Follow the link below for information on dates, directions, parking, accommodations, etc.

And you can also follow us on our Facebook page.

19th European Maya Conference

November 17-22 – Bratislava, Slovakia

Conference Information

“Maya Cosmology:Terrestrial and Celestial Landscapes”

The 19th European Maya Conference in 2014 is organized and hosted by the Comenius University in Bratislava, the Slovak Archaeological and Historical Institute (SAHI), the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, and the University of Economics in Bratislava.

It will be held from 17th to the 22nd of November. A three-and-a-half-day Workshop (17th-20th of Nov.) will precede a two-day Symposium (21th-22nd of Nov.). All parts of the program will take place in Bratislava, in buildings of Comenius University and the Faculty of Arts (at adjacent addresses, including: Šafárikovo námestie 1, Gondova 2 and Štúrova 9), Slovak University of Technology (Radlinského 11) and University of Economics (Konventná 1)

2015 The Maya Meetings Conference

9:00- 4:00 pm January 13-15, 2015 – Thompson Conference Center

Conference Information


Workshops are held from 9:00- 4:00 pm January 13-15, 2015. All workshops are held consecutively, therefore you can only enroll in one workshop. Workshop fee includes lunch ticket.
Student Price: $175
Non Student Price: $265

Gifts to the Gods: Sacred and Sacrifice at Yaxchilan
Alexandre Tokovinine, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

This workshop explores the rich body of visual and textual data provided by the monuments at the archaeological site of Yaxchilan, Chiapas, Mexico. Its particular emphasis is on the relationship between the holy rulers of the city, their consorts, heirs and noblemen, and the powers which shaped the destinies of the royal court and its inhabitants and were personified as deities of different kinds. The reciprocal exchange between the royal family and its divine patrons figures prominently in Yaxchilan texts and images. To a somewhat lesser extent, the monuments also hint at a similar arrangement between the king and his subjects. The workshop participants will study the inscriptions revealing various facets of these relationships and some underlying concepts. A collection of relevant readings and a workbook will be provided. It is an intermediate-level workshop, so some background knowledge of Maya writing and culture is required.

Origins and Development of the Classic Maya Syllabary Workshop

Dr. Marc Zender, Tulane University

‘The Classic Maya Syllabary’. The words have a deceptively unitary connotation, as if there were only one set of syllabic signs valid in all times and places. Yet Maya writing was in use for almost two millennia (from ca. 400 B.C. to A.D. 1565) and underwent numerous formal and structural changes during that considerable time span. Recent findings suggest that the syllabary’s core elements may have been borrowed from a presently unknown writing tradition recording an undocumented Mesoamerican Indian language. (That is, iconically-recognizable signs such as the a ‘parrot’, e ‘toad’ and u ‘shark’ cannot presently be explained by recourse to Mayan linguistic resources alone.) Nonetheless, numerous new signs were added over the centuries, initially via the acrophonic reduction of Mayan words (explaining the production of syllables like k’u from the earlier word sign K’U’ “nest”) and later on when sound changes resulted in the abbreviation of still other Classic Mayan words into phonetic syllables (such as when the loss of vowel length and the reduction of the h/j contrast around A.D. 750 led to the reduction of word signs like BAAH “gopher” and TAJ “torch” to the phonetic signs ba and ta). In this workshop, students will use Classic Mayan texts and the dictionaries of both Mayan and non-Mayan languages to explore the origins and manifold developments of the Classic Maya syllabary. Prior experience is recommended but not required to attend this workshop.

Body and Sacrifice Workshop

Dr. Justin Kerr

This workshop, using the theme of this symposium, “Body and Sacrifice” will focus on the visual aspects that the Ancient Maya produced using images from painted and carved vessels as well as three dimensional objects. The workshop will also examine carvings in stone that relate to various sacrificial practices involved in the Maya ball game. Participants are asked to prepare for this workshop by reading The Royal Ballgame of the Ancient Maya: An Epigrapgher’s View by Alexandre Tokovinine and Deathly Sport by Stephen Houston. Participants will be asked to discuss the Mesoamerican game relative to the visual aspects that will be presented during the session.

The workshop will examine warfare as presented on the vessels as well as wall paintings in light of the treatment of captives. Preparation for this theme may be perused using the Mayavase Database, using the search term “war” as well as “The Spectacle of the Late Maya court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak” by Mary Miller and Claudia Brittenbaum. One of the questions we will raise will be; was warfare primarily for territory or captives for sacrifice? We will also deal with the concept of entertainment and celebration in the aftermath of battle.The workshop will examine “body art” in terms of tattoos, scarification, and makeup again using both images from vessels as well as three dimensional objects. In this area we will discuss the role of woman as a political creature and did her makeup and costume play a part. We will wonder why, in Maya art, although there are countless images of individuals, there is almost no nudity or images we would consider erotic.

Thompson Conference Center

The 2015 Maya Meetings Workshops will be held at The Thompson Conference Center (TCC) . The Thompson Conference Center is located on the 2405 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX 78712


Key Note Lecture
Dr. Mary Miller
Thursday, January 15
6:00 pm


Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17, 2015

Peter O’Donnell Jr. Building

The 2015 Maya Meetings Key Note Lecture and Symposium will take place at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Building ( formerly known as ACES) in the AVAYA AUDITORIUM. The POB Building physical address is 201 East 24th Street, Austin, Texas, 78712

Public parking is available in the Brazos Parking Garage (BRG), located at 210 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Additional parking is available in the Trinity Parking Garage (TRG), located at 1815 Trinity St.

Registration & More Info

The 18th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference

October 10-11 – New Mexico State University

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology at New Mexico State University will be held at the Corbett Center Auditorium on the NMSU campus on Friday and Saturday Oct 10-11, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. A reception for registration will be held at the NMSU Museum( Kent Hall) from 5-7 pm Thursday Oct. 9, 2014.

The sessions will contain presentations by 40 leading archaeologists from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Mexico on Mogollon Archaeology including Mimbres, Jornada, and Northern Chihuahua Areas. Although the papers are technical, they can be appreciated and enjoyed by avocational and armchair archaeologists as well.

The conference website provides a preregistration form, preliminary program, maps, and other useful information.

Web Site:

For more information contact:
Dr. Lonnie C. Ludeman, Conference Chair
Telephone: 575 522-1691

8th Annual Maya at the Playa Conference

September 25-28 – Palm Coast, Florida

10:00 – 4:00 PM Flora and Fauna in Maya Writing and Imagery
4:30 – 5:00 PM Welcome to the Conference
5:00 – 6:00 PM New revelations on the Holmul Frieze and the rise of Kaan, “The Kingdom of the North”
7:30 – 9:30 PM Opening Night Dinner (additional tickets required)

Friday – September 26, 2014
9:00AM – 12:00PM How to Decipher a Lost Writing System: Epi-Olmec Decipherment Methods and Results
9:00AM – 10:00AM Ancient Maya Skybands and the Textile Domain K. Winzenz A
10:00AM – 11:00AM The Study of Human Skeletons from Caves and Rockshelters in Central Belize Using a Social
11:00AM – 12:00PM K’altuun: Re-thinking Time and the “Stela Cult” of Classic Mayan Civilization
12:00PM – 1:00PM LUNCH
1:00PM – 2:00PM Illustrating Maya Sites of Central America: A Scientific Rendering Versus Artistic Interpretation
2:00PM – 3:00PM Oh, How We Danced: Dance and Space Perception in Classic Maya Iconography
3:30PM – 4:30PM Rabbits in Mesoamerican Art and Writing
4:30PM – 5:30PM Mesoamerican Calendrical Astronomy: How Did Mesoamericans Predict Eclipses?
7:00PM – 9:00PM Tales from the Field Dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom

Saturday – September 27, 2014
9:00AM – 10:00AM The Lime Cement of Belize
10:00AM – 11:00AM Linda Schele’s Early Drawings
11:00AM – 12:00PM The Royal Tombs of La Corona: Noblesse Oblige
12:00PM – 1:00PM LUNCH
1:00PM – 2:00PM Alberton Ruz Lhuillier: How his Early Life in Cuba Impacted his Archaeological Approach
2:00PM – 3:00PM Revisiting Caracol Stela 3
3:30PM – 4:30PM The Epigraphic History of the Southern Maya Mountains Region of Belize
7:00PM – 9:00PM Lifetime Achievement Dinner Honoring Peter Mathews at Bull Creek Fish Camp Palm Coast, Florida

The 2014 Pecos Conference

August 7-10 Blanding, Utah

The Pecos Conference is an annual conference of archaeologists which is held in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico.

Each August, archaeologists gather under open skies somewhere in the southwestern United States or northwestern Mexico. They set up a large tent for shade, and then spend three or more days together discussing recent research, problems of the field, and the challenges of the profession. In recent years, Native Americans, avocational archaeologists, the general public and media organizations have come to speak with the archaeologists. These individuals and groups play an increasingly important role, as participants and as audience, helping professional archaeologists celebrate archaeological research and to mark cultural continuity.

First inspired and organized by A.V. Kidder in 1927, the Pecos Conference has no formal organization or permanent leadership. Somehow, professional archaeologists find ways to organize themselves to meet at a new conference location each summer, mostly because they understand the problems of working in isolation in the field and the importance of direct face time with colleagues. To make progress with objective science and with other cultural matters, books and journal articles are important, but one still must look colleagues in the eye and work out the details of one’s research in cooperative and contentious forums.

Open to all, the Pecos Conference remains an important and superlative opportunity for students and students of prehistory to meet with professional archaeologists on a one-on-one informal basis to learn about the profession, gain access to resources and to new research opportunities, and to test new methods and theories related to archaeology.

Mississippian Conference at Cahokia Mounds

July 26, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM – Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Collinsville, Illinois

Archaeologists doing excavations and research on Mississippian period sites and related topics will gather to give presentations in the Interpretive Center auditorium.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Collinsville, Illinois

American Rock Art Research Association Annual Conference (ARARA)

July 4-7 Holiday Inn – Rock Springs, Wyoming

The reason we are going to Rock Springs is the rock art! Before the coming of Euro-Americans and during the centuries between 1600 and 1880, the Green River Basin was the “Crossroads of the Continent.” Occupied since Clovis times, 12,000 years ago, the area has a rich archaeological record of Indian occupation that extends to the 1870s. It was in this area that the first horses were brought from the Southwest into the Northern Plains, and a horse burial not far from Rock Springs dates to the 1600s. In the 1800s fur traders and explorers discovered South Pass at the basin’s northeast corner as the lowest pass across the Rocky Mountains, and it became well used by several intercontinental trails including the Oregon and Mormon trails. Later the transcontinental railroad crossed the nation through Rock Springs.

Not surprisingly with this prehistory and history, the country surrounding Rock Springs from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the south, to LaBarge and White Mountain to the north, and eastward to Point of Rocks and Powder Wash is full of rock art. There are possible Paleoindian petroglyphs at one site and Archaic period imagery at numerous sites, while peoples of the Late Prehistoric period left a variety of images including some from the Fremont culture.