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Amazonia and the Making of the Andean World
September 26 – Pre-Columbian Society Symposium U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center, Washington, D.C.
Eduardo Neves, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will serve as moderator. Other presenters will include Clark Erickson, University of Pennsylvania [invited]; Michael Heckenberger, University of Florida; Denise Schaan, Federal University of Para, Brazil, and Francisco Valdez, Institute of Research for Development, France. Speakers will review our current understanding of pre-contact New World tropical societies and will examine evidence for early interaction with the formative period Andean world. Details and registration information will be available at www.pcswdc.org in late May.
Royal Chambers Unsealed: Tombs of the Classic Maya – 12th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium
March 19-22, 2015 – Tulane University and the New Orleans Museum of Art
The Middle American Research Institute and Far Horizons are proud to present the Twelfth Annual Tulane Maya Symposium and Workshop. This year’s symposium, titled “Royal Chambers Unsealed: Tombs of the Classic Maya”, will explore the significance the ancient Classic Maya placed on the death of their divine rulers, as well as the meaning they invested in their funerary architecture, building decoration, grave goods, burial texts, and mortuary rituals.
Furthermore, we are excited to announce that this year’s Keynote hosted at the New Orleans Museum of Art will be given by Dr. William Fash of Harvard University who will guide us through the rich and inpenetrable funerary world of the Classic Maya.
As in past years, MARI will take the reins in organizing the Maya Symposium. With MARI located in a renovated Dinwiddie Hall, we continue to expand the scope and range of activities offered by the Symposium. In fact, throughout the weekend, we will be featuring MARI’s exhibit, Faces of the Maya. Moreover, for this year’s Sunday Morning Talk, Dr. Robert Hill will discuss highland Maya textiles in a talk titled “Traje, Tragedy, and Triumph: The Frederick S. Crocker, Jr. Collection.”
In keeping with tradition, however, this year’s Maya Symposium will incorporate a wide variety of specialties such as archaeology, art history, cultural anthropology, epigraphy, history, and linguistics to explore the research being conducted on the ancient Maya civilization.
In collaboration with Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the New Orleans Museum of Art, we hope to develop a diverse set of activities and topics for the symposium’s participants and attendees for many years to come, such as hosting a viewing of the Precolumbian collection at NOMA. Finally, the Latin American Library houses a collection of Merle Greene Robertson’s rubbings, which may be viewed upon request.
2015 Maya Meetings – Symposium Registration Now Open
January 13th – 17th – Thompson Conference Center, Austin, TX
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
Registrant Categories and Fees
There are two categories of registrants. Please select your appropriate category when registering.
Registration for the workshops include lunch.
Workshops $165 (one hundred and sixty five)
Workshop fee includes lunch tickets
Symposium Fee: $75 (seventy five dollars)
Symposium Fee includes coffee break and closing reception
Workshops $265 (two hundred and sixty five dollars)
Workshop fee includes lunch tickets
Symposium Fee: $125 (one hundred and twenty five dollars)
Symposium Fee includes coffee break and closing reception
Register online and pay with a credit card ONLY (Mastercard, Visa, or Discovery)
2015 Maya Meetings Symposium – Body and Sacrifice: New Interpretations in Maya Archaeology and Religion
Given its obvious importance in Mesoamerican religion, sacrifice has engaged scholars and captured the imaginations of all who have studied the a ncient Maya. But what were its diverse meanings? How was ritual violence integrated into politics, ideology and cosmology?
Central to these and many more questions is how we understand the human body itself as actor, object, symbol and performer. The 2015 Maya Meetings will re-examine the “blood of kings” and related themes in a wide-ranging and engaging series of talks and workshops, presenting new interpretations about this key yet vaguely understood aspect of ancient Maya culture.
Please direct any questions about the event to Paola Bueché, Senior Program Coordinator
Thursday, January 15 Peter O’Donnel Buidling Avaya Auditorium
6:00 pm – Welcome Remarks Dr. David Stuart
Key Note Speaker – Dr. Mary Miller, Yale University
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, and as a director of Graduate Studies in Archeological Studies.
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).
Friday, January 16 Peter O’Donnel Buidling Avaya Auditorium
8:15 – 8:45 am Registration
8:45 am Welcome Remarks Dr. David Stuart
9:00 – 9:40 am Dr. Stephen Houston, Brown University
Lecture description to follow
9:40 – 10:20 am Dr. Tomás Barrientos, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Killing the Bloodline: Politic and Ritual Termination at Cancuen
The final occupation of Cancuen is marked by the placement of numerous human bodies in different parts of the site, especially a stone pool located at the main entrance of the royal palace and other areas associated with water. At the same time, the ruler was buried
in an improvised shallow cist within the royal palace. Based on the archaeological and osteological evidence, these contexts can be interpreted as part of a massive termination ritual that included the assassination of the entire royal court and other nobles of the
site. Dated to 800 C.E., this event marks the sudden end and abandonment of the thriving port city of Cancuen. This paper will present the material evidence and political implications of this incident, as well as the symbolic associations between dead bodies and water sources at the site.
10:20 – 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 – 11:10 am Dr. Lori Wright, Texas A&M University
The mobility of bodies and burials at Tikal, Guatemala
A number of archaeological burials excavated at Tikal, Guatemala, contain multiple skeletons. In some, individual bodies were recovered in an articulated state as complete skeletons, while others were interred as disarticulated jumbles of bones. In conjunction with the funerary context of these graves, I describe strontium and oxygen stable isotope research that helps to constrain the geographic origins of these bodies and sheds light on who they were and how they came to be deposited in these interesting contexts.
11:10 – 11:50 am Meghan Rubenstein, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin, Lourdes Toscano Hernández and Gustavo Novelo Rincón
Scaffold Sacrifice at Kabah
We view images of human sacrifice in Maya art with a morbid curiosity. Although this practice is widely documented, with a few notable exceptions, scenes of sacrifice are isolated from their larger narrative. As a result, while we recognize the importance of sacrifice to Maya ideology we are far from understanding its complex role in Maya society. Two recently excavated door jambs from Kabah add a piece to the puzzle by providing insight into a form of human scaffold sacrifice practiced in Terminal Classic Yucatan. This presentation will focus on the carved jambs from Room 1 of the Codz Pop, which contain six scenes of a continuous narrative divided by four bands of hieroglyphic text. The sacrifice is a pivotal event that sets into motion a series of rituals and dances accompanying a youth rite of passage. The attention given to costumes and ceremonial objects further emphasizes the significance of the human actor in these ritual performances. As one of four sets of sculpted jambs currently known at the site, our presentation aims to contextualize this new discovery within the larger corpus at Kabah while exploring the fundamental place of human sacrifice in political ritual.
11:50 – 12:30 pm Nicolaus Seefeld, Uxul Archaeological Project, University of Bonn, Germany
The eradication of enemies – Archaeological and iconographic inferences from the Mass Grave of Uxul
During the 2013 field season, archaeological excavations within an artificial cave at the site of Uxul led to the discovery of the bones of 24 individuals. The excavation and documentation suggested that these individuals had been dismembered prior to their deposition. As these bones had been covered with a sealing layer of clay, they were recovered in a remarkably good state of preservation. Although the individuals had been buried without a single grave-good, four victims had jade-tooth-incrustations, indicating a high social status.
This paper highlights the close analogy between iconographic depictions of the dismemberment of prisoners of war and the documented mass grave. Furthermore, it illustrates the social and religious inferences of sacrifice in Classic Maya Society.
12:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 – 2:40 pm Dr. Marc Zender, Tulane University
Bloodletting, Drought and Famine at late 8th-century Comalcalco, Tabasco, Mexico
Aj Pakal Tahn was a priest of Late Classic Comalcalco. This study of his burial inscriptions indicates that he conducted annual bloodlettings before his city’s patron gods in order to stave off a calamitous drought and famine recorded in A.D. 763.
2:40 – 3:20 pm Stephanie Strauss, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin
Taking K’awiiland Giving Nen: Rethinking Infant Sacrifice
Among the Ancient Maya Infant sacrifice among the ancient Maya is both richly attested-for and significantly under-studied; the practice is simultaneously codified on hieroglyphic vessels, narrated on stone monuments, and concretized in recently uncovered archaeological assemblages. How did the practice of infant sacrifice, then, intersect with and diverge from Maya elite auto-sacrifice, or the sacrifice of war captives or prestige goods? Certainly, Maya infant sacrifice was both a uniquely salient practice, bound up in particular ideas about the youthful body and human re/birth, and a part of a greater web of sacrificial practice. The lived experience of an infant sacrificial rite–the attendant sites, sounds and emotions of the practice–would have a mimetic relationship with other forms of Maya sacrifice, vividly experienced as both “the same” and “not-the-same.” Using art historical and archaeological data, “Taking K’awiil, Giving Nen: Rethinking Infant Sacrifice Among the Ancient Maya” will attempt to tease these threads apart, illuminating the ideological and cosmological significance of Maya infant sacrifice, while re-situating the rite as an important component of the greater Maya and Mesoamerican sacrificial pantheon.
3:20 – 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30 – 4:10pm Franco Rossi, Boston University
Taaj: Ritual Implement, Ritual Title
The Classic Maya word, Taaj, signified the religiously-charged material, obsidian–but also served as a formal title for individuals in certain ritual contexts. In this paper, I broadly contextualize archaeological and epigraphic evidence from a residential group at the Maya site of Xultun, Guatemala in which an eighth-century mural was discovered in 2010, and present aspects of the collaborative analytical effort focused on elucidating the content and context of this mural (see Saturno et al 2012; Saturno et al n.d.; Rossi 2013). More specifically, this paper explores the overlaid meanings of the term Taaj by examining the implications of its occurrence on the Xultun mural. In doing so, it examines evidence that potentially links this title with the calculation, production and transmission of elaborate ritual and calendrical knowledge in the Classic Maya world.
4:10 – 4:50pm Discussion
End of First day of Symposium
Saturday, January 17 Peter O’Donnel Buidling Avaya Auditorium
10:00 – 10:40am Dr. Julia Guernsey, The University of Texas at Austin
The Body Writ Large: Potbelly Monuments and the Physicality of Authority in Late Preclassic Mesoamerica
Taking its cue from the focus of this year’s meetings on the body, this talk will concentrate on the most magnificently corpulent of Mesoamerican bodies: the famous, yet enigmatic, Late Preclassic “potbelly” sculptures. It will look at how their monumental bodies and consistent features are vital to their meaning. The talk will also situate these symbolic attributes within a matrix of meaning in Late Preclassic Mesoamerica that incorporated themes of ancestry, the advent of state formation, references to ancient patterns of domestic ritual, and an iconography of breath and vitality.
10:40 – 11:20am Dr. Vera Teisler, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and ErikVelasquez Garcia
Sacrificial death and posthumous body processing in Classic Maya society: Animic entities and forces in the context of politics
The nuanced meanings of various forms of ritualized violence, human sacrifice and body processing are examined and put in context with Maya politics and religion. We analyze the involved animic body entities and forces (some flowing through blood).
11:20 – 12:00pm Dr. Ryan Kashanipour, Northern Arizona University
Entre enfermedad y picado: Bodies of Sacrifice in Colonial Yucatán
In 1586, the encomendero Don Juan de Loria stood accused of falling into the “malas costumbres” (evil customs) of the Mayas of the Yucatán. According to the local priest, Fray Martín Ruiz de Arce, Don Juan not only encouraged indigenous idolatry, he actively participated in the most egregious acts of paganism. Side-by-side with Maya priests, Don Juan tattooed his body. He bled his genitals and he offered his blood to Maya deities. Local
natives, it seems, even identified the encomendero as powerful priest and a healer. Utilizing a rich trove of records from the Mexican Inquisition, this paper examines the persistence of Maya rituals in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Yucatán and argues that Spaniards, and Africans, and people ofmixed ethnicity actively participated in the unorthodox practices of divination, sacrifice, and healing of the colonial Maya. Furthermore, by the seventeenth century, ancient Maya ritual activities of sacrifice evolved to form a system of healing and remediation built on shared experience and participation.
12:00 – 12:40 pm Barbara MacLeod
The Precious, the Serpent, and the Sorcerer
Within the Classic Maya “Codex Style” ceramic tradition, the mythic tableaux of the Baby Jaguar and the Dragon Lady are linked by a shared hieroglyphic nominal phrase. Its recent decipherment as Huk Pul Tziin ‘Seven Provider of Sustenance’ (MacLeod, in press) brings to light an entanglement of dramatically distinct bodies: perfect infant, potent predator, serpent conduit, and wizened sorcerer.
In the supernatural realm, sustenance is non-corporeal energy having parity with k’awiil; it is a gift, a symbolic seed which holds the essence of a plant, tree or fetus; it is precious invisible nourishment which allows these entities to thrive. On the Palenque Palace Tablet the role of “provider of sustenance” — cued by the same hieroglyph found in the ceramic nominal phrase–was transferred to successive heirs in service to deified lineage ancestors, maintaining a perennial reciprocity between men and gods. It was a contract bound by blood sacrifice.
As the Baby Jaguar was offered to a cleft in the mountain of Creation, so were living infants placed in still water in remote cave chambers, their tiny articulated skeletons hidden for centuries until a shifting cave floor drained these pools.
To what purpose were their brief lives given? Arguments from several lines of evidence will suggest that these offerings served not only to propitiate earth and rain deities, but to ensure the vigor of a royal fetus and the prosperity of its lineage. A myth depicted on ceramics may thus be the substratum of state-level practice.
12:45 – 2:15 pm Lunch Break
2:15 – 2:55 pm Dr. David Stuart, The University of Texas at Austin
The Language of Sacrifice among the Ancient Maya
Abstract to follow
2:55 – 3:35 pm Caitlin Early, Ph.D. Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin
Combat: Sacrifice and the Human Body in Western Maya Depictions of Warfare
From the murals at Bonampak to the lintels of Yaxchilan, art from the Usumacinta region is distinctive in its depiction of active Maya combat. Carved monuments and painted murals in this area depict scenes of brutal violence, in which we see people as they are captured, tortured, and killed. These dramatic scenes offer us the opportunity to better understand the role of sacrifice in Classic Maya warfare—and the role of the human body as a signifier of power and political relationships in the Western Maya zone. Examining scenes of combat from sites like Tonina, Yaxchilan, and Tenam Puente, this paper reexamines the role of sacrifice in Maya warfare and the ways in which the human body performed ideas of captivity and conquest in the Western Maya world.
3:55 – 4:40 pm Dr. Karl Taube, University of California, Riverside
At the First Dawning: Heart Sacrifice in Classic Mesoamerica
One of the most striking and disturbing aspects of ancient Mesoamerican religion was the bloody extraction of huma n hearts as offerings to the gods and the greater cosmos. Although this tradition is widely associated with the Aztec in popular thought, Aztec mythic accounts plainly state it this first occurred at Teotihuacan with the first dawning of the sun god, Tonatiuh. In fact, there is substantial evidence of heart sacrifice at Teotihuacan, including representations of these organs impaled on obsidian blades. In addition, ancient Maya art also includes portrayals of human hearts, not only for the Late Postclassic contact period but the Classic Maya as well. In addition, human hearts appears to be an important offering to the bellicose Classic and Postclassic Maya sun deity. Along with examining ancient Maya art as well as Teotihuacan, this presentation also examines the architectural orientation of places of heart sacrifice among the ancient Maya, with many sacrificial altars being oriented at the top or base of temple stairways. Finally, it will be noted that the Aztec myth concerning the sacrifice of the gods and the first dawning may be of far greater antiquity, and probably appears in the Ixim temple murals at the Late Preclassic site of San Bartolo.
4:50 – 5:15 Discussion
5:30 – 7:30 pm Closing Reception for The Maya Meetings
Join us for the closing reception cocktail to celebrate the end of another successful Maya Meetings. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Location TBD
Symposium of the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C.
Although it is getting late, there is still time to register for the upcoming symposium of the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C., to be held on Saturday, September 20, in downtown Washington.
The symposium title is “Land Without Borders: Cultural Interaction between the Pre-Hispanic Southwest and Mesoamerica.” Stephen Lekson of the University of Colorado will serve as moderator. Other presenters include Patricia Crown, University of New Mexico; Patricia Gilman, University of Oklahoma; Randall McGuire, Binghamton University; Karl Taube, University of California at Riverside, and Ben Nelson, Arizona State University.
For details and registration information, please see the Pre-Colmbian Society website at www.pcswdc.org.
Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC Annual Symposium; First Post “Land Without Borders: Cultural Interaction Between the Pre-Hispanic Southwest and Mesoamerica”
September 20, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM – U.S. Naval Memorial
In September the Society will host its 21st annual symposium. The event will be moderated by Stephen H. Lekson, and speakers include Patricia Crown, Patricia Gilman, Randall H. McGuire, Ben A. Nelson, and Karl Taube. Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for more information.
It has been argued one reason that the pre-Columbian American Southwest has been viewed as a culture area distinct from Mesoamerica is the existence of the modern international border that separates the United State from Mexico. Some note that nationalism and language differences, on both sides of the border, have contributed to independent academic development. But what was the relationship among ancient peoples living between Durango, Colorado in the north and Durango, Mexico, in the south? How do recent discoveries challenge our traditional thinking about this area? Were these people only casual trading partners or did they share more substantial and important cultural connections as well? This symposium seeks to re-examine the full nature of the relationships between the American Southwest and Mesoamerica — areas that have significant differences, but potentially important similarities as well.
8:15 a.m. REGISTRATION, Morning Refreshments
9:00 a.m. WELCOME AND OPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS
9:15 a.m. The Southwest and Mesoamerica Stephen H. Lekson
10:15 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m. Chocolate Use and Exchange in the Pre-Hispanic American Southwest Patricia L. Crown
11:35 a.m. The Mesoamerican Hero Twins and Scarlet Macaws in the Mimbres Region of
Southwestern New Mexico Patricia A. Gilman
1:45 p.m. The Cult of Quetzalcoatl and Late Pre-Hispanic Religion in the Southwest U. S. and Northwest Mexico Randall H. McGuire
2:35 p.m. Riding the Spirit Road: The Symbolism of Flowers, Music and Paradise i
Mesoamerica and the Greater Southwest Karl Taube
3:25 p.m. BREAK
3:50 p.m. Southwestern-U.S. Mesoamerican Connections:What We Know and Don’t Know Ben A.Nelson
4:00 p.m. BOOK-DRAWING BREAK
4:50 p.m. Panel Discussion All Speakers
6:00–9:00 p.m. RECEPTION at TEAISM (optional; additional fee)
U.S. Naval Memorial
701 Pennsylvania Ave.
Textile Society of America’s 14th Biennial Symposium
September 10-14 – University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Registration is now open for the Textile Society of America’s 14th Biennial Symposium to be held in Los Angeles Sept 10-14, 2014.
There will be a number of panels focused on textiles from Andean and other Latin American regions, including speakers from various parts of the US, Europe and Latin America, such as Hector Meneses, Carmen Thays, Gary Urton, Ann Rowe, Amy Oakland, Kevin Terraciano, Penny Dransart, among others. The panels will include archaeological, ethnographic and contemporary issues. There will also be a pre-conference workshop on Andean warp-patterned weaving lead by Sophie Desrosiers, and various events and special exhibitions at the Fowler and LACMA museums, visits to the Autry Museum Native American basket collection, and other events.
President, Textile Society of America (2011-2014)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Los Angeles, California
Registration and more information about the program can be found on the website: