26th European Maya Conference: Bratislava, Slovakia
ANCIENT MAYA AGRICULTURE – From Practice to Mythology
07 – 11 December 2021
Keynote lecture (07 December):
“Agriculture and Arboriculture in Maya Art and Writing”
Workshops (09-11 December)
The three-day workshop groups will be taught and supervised by experienced tutors. Participants will be tutored in English, except in certain cases in Spanish (see the programme). Spanish explanations can be provided by tutors, on an individual basis, for workshops of all levels.
From sowing to crops: The chok ritual in the Maya inscriptions
Tutors: Dorota Bojkowska (Jagiellonian University of Krakow), Maria Felicia Rega (Sapienza University of Rome & Comenius University in Bratislava), and Boguchwała Tuszyńska (Independent Scholar)
During the workshop, attendees will be provided with basic information on the Maya writing system, calendar, and linguistics, in order to develop their ability to read Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions. Therefore, the workshop is open to participants with little or no prior knowledge of Maya epigraphy; however, anyone interested in the topic is welcome. This workshop will focus on the Classic Maya texts related to the scattering ritual (chok) which may have symbolized the act of sowing maize seeds – one of the most important grains in the whole Mesoamerica. In addition, this ritual was performed more often during times of drought, in order to invoke the rain, so the rite was closely associated with the agrarian cycles. Later in the workshop, the participants will examine texts from ceramic vessels referring to their contents – i.e., the beverages made from crops. Different flavours of atole and cacao drinks were often named in the so-called “Dedicatory Formula” or “The Primary Standard Sequence” which will also be discussed during the workshop.
The workshop will be conducted in English but, on an individual basis, explanations can be also provided in Polish, Italian and Spanish. Furthermore, the workshop will be conducted in a hybrid manner: tutors will be divided and will work separately – with online and on-site groups at the same time, and every presentation will be streamed online.
Eating and Drinking in Mesoamerican Scripts
Tutors: Albert Davletshin (Universidad Veracruzana), Daria Sekacheva (Russian State University for the Humanities) and Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki)
Eating and drinking are physiologically important and cover a significant part of human life – regardless of people’s cultural and linguistic affiliations. The primary source of food in Mesoamerica was agriculture. Nowadays, a number of Mesoamerican crops are consumed all over the world on a daily basis. Being an important part of life, foods and drinks are also present in Mesoamerican scripts.
During our workshop we are going to discuss foods, drinks, their social functions, and known recipes found in Mesoamerican hieroglyphic texts. The participants will work with the inscriptions, looking for the records of foods, drinks and related contexts. They will discover the wonders of Mesoamerican cuisine and the role it played in the society. We will start with the main agricultural products, their nutritional values and modes of production. We will proceed with drinks and supplementary foods including insects and inebriants. Finally, we will dig into the social functions of drinking and eating in Mesoamerica, among them, gender and ethnic identities, ritual activities, exchange of goods and market economy. We will focus mainly on Maya texts on ceramic vessels and Aztec tribute lists, with some examples drawn from other Mesoamerican scripts and modern ethnographic records.
The participants are going to work with hieroglyphic texts in small groups. Basic knowledge of Maya epigraphy is required to attend the workshop. Tuition is in English (with explanations in Spanish, Russian, and German available).
The Force Awakens: History and Politics of Early Kanu’l
Tutors: Sergei Vepretskii (Russian State University for the Humanities & Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography, Moscow), Ivan Savchenko (Independent Researcher) & Sandra Viskanta Khokhriakova (Russian State University for the Humanities)
Kanu’l was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya and this is why it keeps drawing considerable attention from scholars. Through several important finds and discoveries of recent years, we have learned more about the early history of this kingdom. It refers to the period when the royal court of Kanu’l was located in Dzibanche (Quintana Roo, Mexico). The rise of power started by the vast military campaign of Yukno’m Ch’ee’n I and reached its peak during the reign of K’ahk’ Ti’ Ch’ich’, the king who was completely unknown some five years ago, but at the moment can be considered as the most powerful ruler of the ancient Maya in the 6th century. During this workshop, we will examine all the most important hieroglyphic texts related to Early Kanu’l from the problematic King List on the codex style ceramic vessels to the Caracol monuments describing the intra-dynastic conflict preceding the reign of Yukno’m Ch’ee’n the Great.
Good command of both Maya writing and calendar are required. The workshop will be tutored in English, with explanations in Spanish and Russian available upon request. We look forward to your participation, so that we together may try to solve the puzzles related to the amazing history of the Kanu’l kingdom.
Comiendo como dioses, viviendo como reyes: aportes de la agricultura mesoamericana al mundo
Tutors: Dora Maritza García Patzán and Maurício Díaz García
En este taller se abordarán diferentes temas relacionados con la agricultura en Mesoamérica, los principales cultivos e ingredientes esenciales para la preparación de alimentos y que han aportado también a la gastronomía mundial. Se enfocará en preparaciones y productos de las Tierras Altas Mayas, especialmente del Altiplano Central de Guatemala. Esta actividad se abordará con información arqueológica, iconográfica, de textos e información etnográfica del Área Maya. El taller será impartido de forma híbrida (presencial y en línea). Cada día, durante la segunda parte del taller, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de participar en la elaboración de un platillo tradicional, haciendo uso de ingredientes mesoamericanos o bien, de observar el proceso vía en línea, con la posibilidad de participar con comentarios y preguntas. Se contará con material audiovisual, muestras de alimentos, videos y otros materiales de trabajo. Ambos instructores han heredado la elaboración de estas recetas por generaciones, por lo que la utilización de ingredientes y su preparación tendrá un toque más cercano, personal y anecdótico.
El taller será bilingüe: español e inglés.
26 EMC Symposium
The 26th Annual European Maya Conference is co-organised by WAYEB – the European Association of Mayanists – and the Comenius University in Bratislava. The conference will begin with a two-day symposium on Tuesday December 7th to Wednesday December 8th followed by a three-day workshops from Thursday December 9th to Saturday December 11th 2021 at the Comenius University in Bratislava.
The theme of the conference for EMC26 is ANCIENT MAYA AGRICULTURE: FROM PRACTICE TO MYTHOLOGY. The conference will be devoted to the Maya agriculture examined from various perspectives: archaeological, including attempts to reconstruct the original techniques; anthropological, considering the current Maya agricultural practices that can serve as a comparative basis; and historical, capturing Maya agriculture in early colonial documents in close proximity to its pre-Columbian roots. Furthermore, linguistic, epigraphic, and iconographic analyses play a pivotal role, as do many other branches of learning, such as geography, ecology, biology, and chemistry. These scientific approaches will help us to understand not only the high population growth and viability of the pre-Columbian Maya society, but also the issues of its environmental sustainability. The second major division of topics will be the questions of the transfer of agricultural cycles and patrons of individual crops into mythology, religion, and rituals throughout the course of Maya history.
The main topic is broken down into the following subthemes:
- Technological possibilities of reconstructing the ancient Maya agricultural practices
- Archaeological evidence for the ancient Maya agriculture
- Epigraphic evidence for topics related to agriculture
- Contemporary Maya agriculture and ethnographic evidence
- Agricultural themes in Maya mythology and religion
- Maya agricultural practice in early historical documents
List of Speakers:
Jakub Adámek, Milan Kováč, Jakub Špoták, Tibor Lieskovský and Tomáš Drápela – “Ancient Maya Agriculture at Uaxactun: Research Findings and Models of Agricultural Practices from the Preclassic to the Terminal Classic Period”
Edber Dzidz Yam; Harry Thomaß – “Mayas, Medios y Conocimiento – La producción de una pieza multimedia sobre la apicultura entre los mayas yucatecos basada en entrevistas históricas con un especialista ritual”
Nicolaus Seefeld – “Cause and Effect – The Sociopolitical Impacts of Agricultural Intensification and Water Management on Classic Maya Society”
Evgeniya Korovina – “The Origin and Development of Maya Agriculture: Some Evidence From Historical Linguistics”
Bodil Liljefors Persson – “Yucatec Maya Cosmology and Agriculture – Permanence and Change in Ritual Practices Seen Through the Books of Chilam Balam and Modern Fieldwork”
Joanna Asia Jabłońska; María Rosalía Couoh Chalé; Anselma Chalé Euán – “Las señoras de la miel – el manejo de Meliponas, las abejas sagradas, como el ejemplo de la recuperación de la memoria biocultural. El caso de las mujeres de la Cooperativa Kuchil Kaab, Xcunyá, Yucatán, Mexico.”
Michal Gilewski, Christa Schieber de Lavarreda, Carlos Espigares, Miguel Medina, Víctor Flores, Aldo Aleman, Kajetan Oglaza – “The Archaeological Evidence of Prehispanic Agriculture at Tak’alik Ab’aj, Retalhuleu, Guatemala / La evidencia arqueológica de la agricultura prehispánica en Tak’alik Ab’aj, Retalhuleu, Guatemala”
Lorraine A. Williams-Beck – “Where’s All the Corn Kept? Cosmological, Iconographic, Linguistic, Archaeological and Ethnographic Approaches to Better Understand Maize Storage”
Edwin Braakhuis – “The Maize Queen and the Mountain’s Daughter”
Dominik Čisárik – “Mesoamerican Utilitarian Plants in the 17th Century Extirpation of Idolatry: Rituals and Practices Related to Plants From the Perspective of the Novohispanic Missionaries – Comparative Case of Ruiz de Alarcón and De la Serna”
Daniel Salazar Lama – “The Substructure IIC at Calakmul: The Place of the Descending Chaahk and the Growing Maize / La Subestructura IIC de Calakmul: el lugar del descenso de Chaahk y el surgimiento del maíz”
Ana Kondic – “Thipaak, God of Maize with Contemporary Huastec Maya”
Mauricio Roberto Díaz García, Dora Maritza García Patzán – “The Hydraulic Canals in Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala – an Irrigation System for Crop Fields: New Findings From Mound C-IV-4 Area.”
Anabel Ford – “Cultivated Landscape of the El Pilar and the Maya Forest”
Philippe Nondédéo, Cyril Castanet, Eva Lemonnier, Louise Purdue, Lydie Dussol, Marc Testé, Julien Hiquet, Antoine Dorison – “Landscape, Settlement Patterns, and Agrarian Strategies: The Case of Naachtun and its Hinterland During the Preclassic and the Classic Periods”
Richard D. Hansen, Carlos Morales-Aguilar, Gustavo Martinez, Steve Bozarth, Daniel Bair, Richard Terry – “Ancient Agricultural and Hydraulic Strategies of the Preclassic Maya in the Mirador–Calakmul Karst Basin, Guatemala”
Milan Kováč – “The Pumpkin Anthropogony: Lacandon Maya and the Mythology of Human Origin”
John F. Chuchiak IV – “‘Ca numiae, lay u cal caxtlan patan lae’:* Colonial Tribute and Maya Nutrition, 1542-1812: A Study in the Impact of Conquest and Colonization on Maya Diet and Nutrition” *Our Suffering, this Harsh Castillian Tribute”
The EMC Workshop Handbook is available for download in English, Spanish, French, Polish.
Videos from the Conference
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