Friday, February 22, 2008

Maya News Updates Banner 2007
Maya News Updates 2008, No. 11: The University of Texas in Austin Maya Meetings 2008
From February 25 to March 2, 2008, the Maya Meetings will be held at the University of Texas in Austin, this year's theme is "Copan Archaeology and History: New Finds and New Research." The workshops are tutored on February 25 - 28, with participant's presentations on the morning of February 29. On February 29 (afternoon) - March 2 a series of papers will be presented centered on the archaeology and history of Copan, Honduras.

The 2008 Specialized Workshop descriptions for Monday February 25 - Thursday February 28: Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs led by Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki) with Nick Carter (UT-Austin). Participants learn the basics of the deciphering Maya Hieroglyphs. Teams of participants work together, learning by doing and creating a finished text. Lectures and exercises introduce grammar, date structures, syntax, and structural analysis also. Enrollment is limited. No prior experience required .
Intermediate Maya Hieroglyphs led by outstanding epigraphers Erik Boot (Independent Scholar) and Alexandre Tokovinine (Harvard). More advanced participants continues to expand their knowledge of the intricacies of this writing system. New Material: Texts from Copan and Quirigua.
Los jeroglifos mayas: Niveles de Principiante e Intermedio. Experto Erik Velásquez García (Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM) guía a los participantes del taller en los fundamentos de la escritura y el pensamiento de los antiguos mayas del período clásico. Principiantes trabajarán textos de Palenque. ¡Nuevo! Al nuevo Nivel Intermedio se analizarán textos de Copán, en preparación para el Simposio. Taller y materiales didácticos en español , con tiempo para participar en los talleres en inglés.
Northern Yucatán Inscriptions and the Books of the Chilam Balam. Under the experienced guidance of Bruce Love (Independent Researcher, Juniper Hills, California) each student is encouraged to find his or her own project, and work individually or in small groups, investigating aspects of the Northern Maya culture of the Yucatan Peninsula, including monumental inscriptions, codices, and the newly added, very exciting field of Colonial-Period Maya literature, known as the Books of the Chilam Balam. Topics include hieroglyphic writing, iconography, religion, astronomy, history, and the calendar. Open to all levels, from beginner to advanced .
The Iconography of Maya Painted Vases led by Justin Kerr (Kerr Associates, NYC) and assisted by art historian Penny Steinbach (UT-Austin). Master photographer Kerr, one of the world's foremost authorities on Maya art, explores the exquisite genre of Maya painted vases. Kerr pioneered the rollout photographic technique and, with Barbara Kerr, they have produced "The Maya Vase Book: A Corpus of Rollout Photographs of Maya Painted Vessels," with 6 volumes released to date. While the vases are rich sources of texts for experienced glypher, the fluid, often narrative style invites the beginner into the ancient Maya world. Open to all levels, from beginner to advanced.
NEW ! Introduction to Maya Textiles. In an innovative extension of the Maya Meetings at Texas, explore the ancient, living tradition of Maya weaving. Curator and conservator Bárbara Knoke de Aranthoon (Museo Ixchel de Traje Indígena, Guatemala City), with fiber artist and educator Beatrice L. Thomas (Flatbed Press, Austin Community College), lead a unique workshop and studio class. Participants will learn backstrap weaving techniques, history of Mayan textiles, identification techniques, geographical contexts, ethnographical considerations of Mayan textiles (Allen J. Christenson, Brigham Young University), ancient depictions of textiles (David S. Stuart, UT-Austin), and additional techniques. Work with historic collections of Mesoamerican textiles from the Dept. of Art and Art History. Participants may exhibit the works they produce during the workshop at the Visual Arts Center, on Fri., 29 Feb. This workshop is designed for beginners, not experienced collectors or weavers. Enrollment is extremely limited. Additional costs apply for materials.
Problems in Mayan Linguistics & Epigraphy. Facilitated and led by Marc Zender (Harvard University), this seminar-style workshop features spirited cutting-edge exchanges among leading scholars of Maya writing in light of the latest information from decipherment and historical linguistics. The specific topic this year is "Mystery Glyphs and Problems in Decipherment" and Marc tells us he has a few surprises in store! Previous experience with Mayan languages and the hieroglyphic writing system are essential.
A special lecture will be presented on Wednesday, February 27
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Special Invited Lecture: Rudy Larios
Restoring Maya Architecture
Sponsored by the UT Mesoamerica Center, the Mexican Center of the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, and the UT School of Architecture Historic Preservation Program
Further Schedule for: Friday, February 29 (afternoon)
3:30 - 5:00
David Stuart (University of Texas at Austin)
Copan’s History and Archaeology: An Overview
5:00 - 6:00
6:00 - 8:00
Keynote Lecture
Michael Coe (Yale University), In Search of the Snake-footed God: K'awiil and Tezcatlipoca
(Seating limited; registration required.)
8:00 - 9:30
Opening Reception and Photography Exhibit
Maya Light: Contemporary Photography of Central America
Photographs by Lesley Nowlin, Tahila Mintz, Lee Smith, Leigh Taylor
Location: Visual Arts Center (VAC), Department of Art and Art History
(next to Maya Meetings lecture hall)

Saturday, March 1
9:00 - 9:15
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
9:15 - 10:00
Dario A. Euraque (Gerente, Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia)
Copan y Honduras: La Mayanizacion de un país: 1950 - 2000
10:00 - 10:45
Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle (Associación Copan)
From Rosalila to Oropendola: The Evolution of Architectural Construction and Ornamentation under Temple 16 at Copan
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee break
11:00 – 11:45
Simon Martin (University of Pennsylvania Museum)
The Iconography of the Altar of Stela M at Copan
11:45 – 12:15
12:15 - 2:00
2:00 - 2:45
Fred Valdez, Jr. (University of Texas at Austin)
A Preclassic Temple at Río Azul, Guatemala
2:45 - 3:30
Marcello A. Canuto (Yale University) and
Ellen E. Bell (California State University, Stanislaus)
Like Ripples Breaking over a Wider Coastline: The Copan Kingdom of the 8th Century
3:30 - 3:45
Coffee break
3:45 - 4:30
Stephen Houston (Brown University / Dumbarton Oaks)
The Hand of the Master: Evaluating the Production of Sculpture and Text at Copan, Honduras
4:30 - 5:00
5:00 - 5:30
Coffee break
5:30 - 7:30
Film Premiere: Breaking the Maya Code
Location: ART 1.102 lecture hall
(same auditorium as day-time lectures. This event is free and open to the public.
Priority seating for symposium registrants. Seating limited.)

Sunday, March 2
9:00 - 10:30
Special joint presentation:
William Fash (Harvard University), Barbara Fash (Harvard University) and David Stuart (University of Texas at Austin)
The Hieroglyphic Stairway: New Aspects of its Excavation, Documentation, Reconstruction and Decipherment
10:30- 10:45
Coffee break
10:45 - 11:45
Special joint presentation:
William Fash (Harvard University), Barbara Fash (Harvard University) and David Stuart (University of Texas at Austin)
The Hieroglyphic Stairway: New Aspects of its Excavation, Documentation, Reconstruction and Decipherment
11:45 - 12:00
12:00 - 1:30
1:30 - 2:15
Karl A. Taube (University of California, Riverside)
The City of Dawn: Copan and the Solar Symbolism of Mesoamerica
2:15 - 3:00
Allan Maca (Colgate University)
Tomb 1, El Bosque, Copan: Its Significance for Archaeology and Conservation
3:00 - 3:45
Loa Traxler (University of Pennsylvania Museum)
Enveloped in Red, Cradled in Shell: Ceremonial Deposits in the Copan Acropolis
4:00 - 4:30
Closing Remarks
For the most recent updates of this schedule and any further information on the 2008 Maya Meetings, please turn to The Maya Meetings, UT Austin).
From tomorrow February 23 to March 5 I will be in Austin, updates for my blogs Maya News Updates and/or Ancient MesoAmerica News Updates may be delayed to after my return to the Netherlands.
Erik Boot
Maya News Updates Banner 2007
Maya News Updates 2008, No. 10: Guatemala - The 22 Maya Languages, Xinca, and Garifuna At Risk To Disappear
Experts yesterday informed that the 22 Maya languages in Guatemala, as well as Xinca and Garifuna, are at risk to disappear and to be replaced by Spanish as there are no sufficient teachers in these languages, as was reported yesterday, Thursday February 21, 2008, in the online edition of the daily Mexican newspaper El Universal (edited by MNU):
Peligran lenguas de Guatemala por falta de difusión - Las 22 lenguas mayas, el xinca y el garífuna que se hablan en Guatemala están en riesgo de desaparecer debido a la "castellanización" y la falta de apoyo del Estado, advirtieron hoy expertos.
El oficial nacional del programa de Educación de la UNESCO, Bienvenido Argueta, dijo en el marco de un foro organizado con motivo del "Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna" , que no solo en el mundo, sino en Guatemala, el 50 por ciento de las lenguas corren el riesgo de desaparecer en un futuro no muy lejano.
La mayoría de proyectos bilingües que se impulsan en Guatemala son pagados por la cooperación internacional, es decir que falta un apoyo institucional y es necesario que se incorpore al sistema educativo la enseñanza de las lenguas maternas, subrayó. Sin precisar cifras, Argueta mencionó que del total de maestros que existen en este país centroamericano solo 23 por ciento son indígenas.
Un consultor de la OEA, el guatemalteco Demetrio Cojtí, experto en lenguas maternas, dijo a Efe que uno de los principales atrasos que tiene su país es que "solo un idioma, el español, es oficial" .
A su juicio, en Guatemala se pueden oficializar todos los idiomas que existen para que sean utilizados en las escuelas y en los tribunales de justicia. "Hay varios idiomas que están en peligro de desaparecer porque las políticas de Estado no han cambiado y los maestros siguen sin hablar los idiomas indígenas" , manifestó Cojtí.
Advirtió que muchas lenguas maternas, que solo tienen ahora alcance municipal, como el Xinca o el Sakapulteko, pueden desaparecer por la "castellanización" y debido al racismo existente. El ministro guatemalteco de Cultura, Jerónimo Lancerio, reconoció en la actividad, celebrada en el antiguo Palacio de Gobierno, que es necesario crear una mayor conciencia sobre las lenguas maternas, que definió como "la expresión de la identidad colectiva" .
Lancerio dijo que se ha comenzado un proceso de reconocimiento de todas las lenguas que se hablan en el país para conservarlas, porque sus hablantes son un pilar para el desarrollo y merecen el mismo respeto. La viceministra del Deporte y la Recreación Berta Engleton, de la etnia garífuna, manifestó que debido a la falta de atención, al igual que en Guatemala las 20 mil lenguas que se hablan en el mundo tienden a ir desapareciendo.
"Nosotros (los garífunas) que somos un pueblo minoritario, no hemos sido atendidos" , subrayó la funcionaria, al anotar la necesidad de garantizar la normativa lingüística. Engleton explicó que a los niños no les enseñan en las escuelas en su lengua materna, lo que los frustra y propicia la deserción escolar.
Para la viceministra guatemalteca de Educación Bilingüe e Intercultural, Virginia Tacam, en su país es necesario institucionalizar el derecho que tienen los niños a recibir una educación en su lengua materna. "La educación ha sido hasta ahora monocultural" , y en Guatemala solo existen 15 escuelas en la que se capacita a maestros bilingües, refirió. Según el último censo en Guatemala, de 2002, del total de 11 millones 237 mil 196 habitantes, el 39 por ciento de la población pertenece a uno de los pueblos mayas, el Xinca y el garífuna (EFE; source El Universal).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maya News Updates Banner 2007
Maya News Updates 2008, No. 9: El Peten, Guatemala - Satellite Images Reveal More Hidden Maya Cities
Five years ago archaeologists and NASA scientist teamed up by employing satellite images to discover hidden Maya cities. As reported by Reuters on Wednesday February 20, 2008, this research has revealed the existence of five previously unknown Maya cities (edited by MNU):
Satellites spot lost Guatemala Mayan temples - [...] [A]rcheologists have found the ruins of hidden cities in the Guatemalan jungle by peering down from space.
Archeologists and NASA scientists began teaming up five years ago to search for clues about the mysterious collapse of the Mayan civilization that flourished in Central America and southern Mexico for 1,000 years. The work is paying off, says archeologist William Saturno, who recently discovered five sprawling sites with hundreds of buildings using a spy satellite that can see through clouds and forest to reveal differences in the vegetation below.
Saturno said the satellite images made it infinitely easier to find ruins covered for centuries by dense jungle vines and trees. "It was like shooting fish in a barrel," he said. Saturno first sought out satellite images to find a source of water near his excavation camp at San Bartolo, which lies 32 miles from the nearest town on inaccessible roads deep in Guatemala's northern Peten region.
NASA gave him a snapshot of solar radiation reflected off the wide variety of plants in the region. Saturno was surprised to see a pattern of discoloration in the satellite image that outlined some of the buildings he had already uncovered. Using a GPS device, he pinpointed on a map the location of other discolorations nearby and discovered several areas with hidden Mayan architecture.
The Maya built with limestone and lime plasters. As the abandoned buildings disintegrate, chemicals from the stones seep into the soil, keeping some plants from growing around the structures and affecting the chemistry of those that do grow. The satellite can spot these differences and the result is a virtual road map of the buried structures from nearly 400 miles above Earth's surface.
Clues to the Collapse - Saturno said he expects more discoveries like his 2001 find of an elaborate mural from around 100 B.C. depicting the Mayan creation myth, dubbed the Sistine Chapel of the Mayan world.
His research partner at NASA, Tom Sever, hopes the satellite images could provide clues as to why the Mayan civilization collapsed around 900 A.D. "What we are investigating is the choices the Maya made that ultimately created a catastrophic situation for them," Sever said by telephone from a NASA base in the U.S. state of Alabama.
To support a population boom the Maya felled huge swathes of jungle for agriculture. They collected water in giant reservoirs called "bajos" to farm during seasonal dry spells, but the deforestation raised temperatures and reduced rainfall, drying up water sources, Sever said. Bajos were found at around half the new sites located by the satellite, potentially boosting this theory of why the Maya had to leave their cities.
Information about the fate of the Maya could help modern societies make better choices and "avoid the sometimes disastrous mistakes of the past," said Sever. "We are in a race against time to preserve our history" (written by Brendan Kolbay; source Reuters).