10th European Maya Conference

The Maya and Their Neighbours – Internal and External Contacts Through Time

5 – 10 December 2005

Leiden University (Faculty of Archaeology, CNWS) and the National Museum of Ethnology at Leiden (The Netherlands) will be hosting the 10th European Maya Conference from 5th – 10th of December 2005. The conference will combine a workshop on Maya hieroglyphic writing (December 5th – 8th) and a two-day long symposium (Friday, December 9th – Saturday, December 10th).

The symposium will be held at Leiden University, Kamerling Onnes Gebouw (KOG), Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden (http://www.law.leidenuniv.nl/index.php3?m=22&c=284)

The programme is available for download:

Programme for the Symposium
Programme for the Workshop

The conference will be preceded by a three-and-a-half-day long Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop at the same address: Kamerling Onnes Gebouw (KOG), Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden. NOTE: the opening lecture will take place at: Academiegebouw (ACAD), Rapenburg 73, Leiden.
Several groups from beginners to advanced level will be available. All groups will be taught and supervised by experienced tutors. Beginners tuition will be available in English, Spanish, German, and French. An introductory workbook written by Harri Kettunen and Christophe Helmke will be provided to each participant.
The EMC Workshop programme starts with an introductory lecture on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday morning participants will be assigned to their individual workshops. The programme will finish on Thursday afternoon with recapitulating sessions in each workshop.

Opening Lecture

Erik Boot, Simon Martin & Marc Zender

The opening lecture will serve as a general introduction for all participants of the EMC Hieroglyphic Workshop. It will cover some recent findings or developments in Maya Studies to give those who are beginners some general idea of the field and to update those participants with experience in Maya glyphs on the latest “State of the Art” in the decipherment and semantic analysis of Maya hieroglyphic writing. This year, the opening lecture will be given by Erik Boot (Leiden University), Simon Martin (University Museum of Pennsylvania), and Marc Zender (Peabody Museum, Harvard University), who will provide the participants with insights into interesting aspects of Maya Writing.


Workshops are divided into three separate levels: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. The Beginners Workshop is designed as a standardized format in that participants without prior experience are taught basic knowledge on Maya Hieroglyphic Writing. The topics and contents of Intermediate and Advanced Workshops are different from the workshops that were offered in Bonn 2004. Please, note our special workshop on Mixtec Writing that is open to everbody who is interested in attending.

Beginners Workshop

Tutors: Pierre Robert Colas, Sven Gronemeyer, Geneviève Le Fort, Christian Prager

The Beginners Workshop is open to all participants with no prior or little knowledge of Maya writing.
This workshop does not have a regional or thematic focus but concentrates exclusively on teaching “newcomers” in a structured and didactic way how to read Classic Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Every participant will be provided with a special beginners booklet – in addition to the official EMC workbook – that contains several inscriptions from various Classic sites. The selected texts exemplify the basic grammatical structure of Classic Maya writing. Participants will learn how to read hieroglyphic inscriptions by being introduced to the language and syntax underlying these hieroglyphic texts. As such, the course is designed to teach beginners with no prior knowledge or beginners with very little knowledge, who wish to improve upon their reading ability of Classic Maya inscriptions.
The Beginners Workshop will comprise several workshop groups. The tutors will give step-to-step guidance in how to analyse the syntax of Maya inscriptions in form of general lectures to the entire Beginners Workshop.
The general tuition in this workshop will be in English, but individual tuition will also be available in Spanish, French, and German.

Intermediate Workshops

For all participants who have basic knowledge of Maya writing, three Intermediate Workshops are offered this year by several experienced tutors. Intermediate Workshops will mainly be taught in English and are open only to participants with basic knowledge of Maya writing. Some calendrical knowledge and the ability to structure hieroglyphic inscriptions and understand their syntactic components is a prerequisite to fruitful participation in an Intermediate Workshop.
In the following, Intermediate Workshops are listed according to degree of difficulty, starting with Intermediate Workshops suitable for Advanced Beginners.

Intermediate Workshop 1: “Caracol and its Neighbours”
Tutors: Christophe Helmke & Harri Kettunen

The glyphic inscriptions of Caracol testify to the diversity of relations maintained with neighbouring dynasties. As such a key element of this workshop will be the elucidation of intersite relations and the place held by Caracol in the Mundo Maya from the point of view of the inscriptions.
This Workshop is designed as an introduction to the site of Caracol and its hieroglyphic texts and is aimed particularly at entry-level intermediates. We will focus on the better-preserved texts stemming from the reigns of K’an II (AD 618 – 658) and K’inich Johyaj K’awil (AD 799 – c. 810). However, materials available for study include the entire corpus of Caracol, as well as all texts from other sites making mention to Caracol.
Some general background in Maya calendrics and glyphs is preferred. Students who have already taken this workshop are welcome as you will be provided with alternate texts and guidance to further their knowledge. Alternatively this workshop may serve as an apt refresher course to those who have already taken beginners’ workshops. We are happy to accommodate more advanced intermediates to study texts of greater difficultly (e.g. Stela 16 or the Hieroglyphic Stair of Naranjo). Focus will be placed on structural, syntactical, and calendrical analyses, as well as the identification of agents, their names, titles, and deeds.

Intermediate Workshop 2: “Royal Ritual in the Inscriptions and Iconography of Temples XIX and XXI at Palenque”
Tutors: Elisabeth Wagner & Yuriy Polyukovych

The ancient royal scribes of Palenque have left to us the most detailed mythological accounts known from the ancient Maya. Two important texts discovered in recent years, the sculptured platforms found in Temples XIX and XXI, have not only added further mythological information, they also demonstrate how certain mythological events were re-enacted and tied to royal ritual. Each one of these platforms, commissioned by K’inich Ahkal Mo’ Naab III, bears a long hieroglyphic text that accompanies complex scenic depictions. The inscriptions and imagery are well preserved, the texts have a clear structure, and both monuments are beautiful examples to show how text and image complement each other.

Intermediate Workshop 3: “Classic Maya Ceramics: Regional Variation in Primary and Secondary Hieroglyphic Texts”
Tutor: Erik Boot

This year the workshop on Classic Maya ceramics will be focussed on the regional variation of primary and secondary hieroglyphic texts. Already in the earliest research on Maya ceramics regional variation was identified. It is the goal of this workshop to not only identify these various regional variants, but also the sign inventory regional variant schools of production developed and maintained. Through the method of comparative analysis patterns of substitution can be discerned and regionally different sign inventories can be produced. At the same time, regionally different grammatical and morphological patterns can be identified through rare and sometimes even unique primary and secondary texts. A CD-Rom with basic illustrative material and a selection of papers on the subject will be made available to participants. It is recommended to bring your laptop.
Basic Literature and Sources of Illustrations:
Coe, Michael
1973 The Maya Scribe and His World. New York: The Grolier Club.
1982 Old Gods and Young Lords. Jerusalem: The Israel Museum.
Coe, Michael, and Justin Kerr
1999 The Art of the Maya Scribe. London and New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Kerr, Justin
1989-2000 The Maya Vase Book, Vols. 1-6. New York: Kerr Associates.
n.d. The Maya Vase Data Base, An Archive of Online Rollout Photographs. URL: <http://research.famsi.org/kerrmaya.html>
Robicsek, Francis, and Donald Hales
1981 The Maya Book of the Dead: The Ceramic Codex. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Art Museum.

Advanced participants are welcome to join all intermediate workshops !!!

Advanced Workshop

Advanced participants with well founded knowledge of Maya writing are offered special Advanced Workshop to give them the opportunity to expand their proficiency of Classic Maya Writing and to provide them with insight into very special aspects of Classic Maya culture – though with specific focus on epigraphy, language and iconography.
This year’s Advanced Workshop will focus on Classic Maya Grammar and will be taught by Dr. Marc Zender from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology (Harvard University).

Advanced Workshop: “Words and Rules: New Insights into Classic Maya Grammar”
Tutor: Marc Zender

Have you ever wondered why and how Palenque’s Saak Nuhk(ul) Naah, once confidently translated as “White Great House,” came instead to be reanalyzed as “White Skin(ned) House”? Or why the quotative expression che’-een is more likely to mean “I say” then “he says”? Or, most vexing of all, why and how aj k’uh(ul) huun “He of the holy books” became ajk’uhuun “worshipper”? Well wonder no further!
This workshop focuses on new or timely aspects of Classic Maya grammar, including recently uncovered verbal morphology (e.g., the -l-aj affective, the -VVn transitivizer, the -Vy ending of non-CVC intransitives), the bound and and independent pronouns (particularly second-person -at and hat, and first-person -een and hiin) and adjectival syntax (the rules behind the ordering of adjectives and nouns). The main objective is to illustrate the way in which epigraphers relate the patterns of Mayan inscriptions to the grammars of modern Mayan languages, and the increasingly important role of Classic writing in clarifying the reconstruction, linguistic history and relationships of those languages.
No one will be excluded from this workshop because of lack of experience, but participants will definitely have more enjoyment and understanding of the material covered if they already have some background in Mayan writing.