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1st Cracow Maya Conference 2011, Poland

Archaeology and Epigraphy of the Eastern Central Maya Lowlands

First Maya Symposium of the Department of the New World's Archaeology

25 - 27 February, 2011


The Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University is pleased to announce the First Cracow Maya Conference which will take place in Cracow, Poland on February 25-27, 2011. The main subject of the conference is: Archaeology and Epigraphy of the Eastern Central Maya Lowlands. Several papers devoted to the archaeology, epigraphy and iconography of the eastern Maya sites will be presented, including lectures on some recent and unpublished research data from several different projects. The conference will be followed by a two-day long Maya hieroglyphic workshop at the beginners and intermediate levels.

Programme for Symposium and Workshop

Symposium (25 February)

The first day will be dedicated to the conference on the latest results of research on eastern Maya sites, including most recent and unplublished research results from a variety of projects.

Papers will be presented by (in alphabetical order):

  • Sven Gronemeyer (La Trobe University, Melbourne)
    Recent Archaeological and Epigraphic Investigations in Tamarindito, El Peten
  • Christophe Helmke (University of Copenhagen)
    The Archaeology and Epigraphy of Cuychen, Macal Valley, Belize
  • Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki)
    Struggle for Supremacy: Armed Conflicts in the Eastern Peten During the Late Classic Period
  • Guido Krempel (University of Bonn) & Sebastian Matteo (SAB, Brussels)
    Towards a Better Understanding of Local Ceramic Styles in the Northeastern Peten - Elite Representation at Xultun and Yootz During the Late Classic Period
  • Katarzyna Radnicka (Jagellonian University, Cracow)
    Evidence of Ritual Destruction or a Refuse Midden? Termination Rituals from Nakum in a Wider Cultural Context
  • Jarosław Źrałka (Jagiellonian University, Cracow)
    Pre-Columbian Graffiti from the Maya Sites of Nakum and Yaxha: Their Function, Meaning and Archaeological Context
  • Jarosław Źrałka & Wiesław Koszkul (Jagiellonian University, Cracow)
    Nakum and its Significance in the Maya World: Results of Excavations Carried out by the Nakum Archaeological Project (2006 - 2010)

Workshop (26-27 February)

The two-day epigraphic workshops will be taught in two levels and by experienced tutors and authors of the Maya Hieroglyps workshop Handbook. All workshops will be taught in English.

Beginners Level

Revisting the Usumacinta Sites: A Fresh Look at the Inscriptions of Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan
Sven Gronemeyer (La Trobe University, Melbourne), Guido Krempel (University of Bonn) & Sebastian Matteo (SAB, Brussels)

The past four decades we have witnessed groundbreaking developments in the field of Maya epigraphy, changing our understanding of the ancient Maya culture. To be able to read what the Maya themselves wrote about their affairs is an intriguing endeavor and a captivating window into a past culture. The objective of this workshop is to provide an intensive introduction to the study of Maya hieroglyphs. Participants will have a chance to decipher hieroglyphs on their own during the workshop with the assistance of the tutors. No previous knowledge of Maya culture or hieroglyphs is required to attend the workshop. At the end of the two day workshop, participants will be able to understand the basic structure of a text, decipher calendrical information, reconstruct chronology, point at verbs and nominal phrases, and much more.
The focus of the beginner level workshop is on the Late Classic history of the sites of Piedras Negras (Guatemala) and Yaxchilan (Mexico) along the banks of the Usumacinta river. Both sites were the seat of powerful dynasties that had a far-reaching influence on neighbouring kingdoms and beyond. They were also on a constant strife for the predominance in the Usumacinta region and the control of the river trade routes. Participants can choose whether they want to focus on selected inscriptions either from Piedras Negras or Yaxchilan. By means of these texts, the beginner can practice the methods of reading the hieroglyphic accounts. At the end of the workshop, the results from the single inscriptions will be brought together to get an overall glimpse on the history of these two sites.

Intermediate Level

Where Atole Abounds: Naranjo Under the Reign of K'ahk' Tiliw Chan Chahk
Christophe Helmke (University of Copenhagen) & Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki)

The title for this workshop takes as its inspiration the ancient name of Naranjo, which relates that this was a place where atole (a type of maize gruel) was found in great abundance.
This workshop will provide participants with an insight of the life and times of Naranjo’s famed 38th king, K’ahk’ Tiliw Chan Chahk, who reigned between AD 693 and at least until 728.
In order to contextualize his reign we will also investigate key texts erected by his mother during her regency (ca. AD 682–693) and some of the later texts of his successors.
Using a variety of analytical techniques including structural analysis (the “cutting-and-pasting” that is the bread-and-butter of workshopping) and colored highlighting, we will explore a series of texts relating the fames and fortunes of this unbeatable mother and son pair.
All texts will be broken down glyph-by-glyph and will be the subject of transliteration, transcription, and literal translations, followed by free prose translations of each sentence. Group work will form an essential part of the workshop with texts being recapped as part of lectures.
Participation in this workshop assumes that you already have a working knowledge of ancient Maya writing or have successfully attended a prior workshop. Basic knowledge of the calendar and associated softwares is an asset, but we will provide explanations suited to each individual and the group as a whole.


For the entire event


Institute of Archaeology
Jagiellonian University
ul. Gołębia 11
Kraków, Poland


1 November, 2010 - 15 January, 2011
via the following address:


For more information, please contact:

Magdalena Rusek
Phone: +48 784 075 038

Monika Banach
Phone: +48 504 547 058