Proud to host Ana Bixcul, Kaqchikel Maya, from Sololá, Guatemala

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Vicki and I were so proud to host Ana Bixcul last week at the Bears Inn. Ana is from Sololá, Guatemala and visiting “Starfish One by One” founders, Ted and Connie Ning. Their organization’s goal is to mentor and empower young indigenous Maya girls and women.

Ana, 18, is an excellent student and fluent in the Kaqchikel Mayan language as well as Spanish and English. She says she is hoping for positive change for her country. She has several speaking engagements while visiting the Denver/Evergreen area including the third-graders of Escuela de Guadalupe in Denver about her life on Lake Atitlán.

Guatemala has been in the news this week as a result of the resignation of the president, new elections and anti-corruption protests. We can all hope for the best as things sort out in Ana’s country.

Pictured are Ted Ning, Vicki Bock, Ana Bixcul, “Noodle” and John Daigle.

Peek at the Maya Puuc Region this December

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puuc2Update: As of today there are only 1 or 2 spots left for the Maya Field Workshops, led by Dr. David Stuart, this coming December 5 to 13. They will be visiting 9 sites in the Yucatan’s Puuc Region. The area is famous for its unique architectural designs and beautiful façades with intricate stone mosaics, and elaborate figurative sculpture. I’ve attended MFW workshops for the past three years and they are “chance of a lifetime” learning experiences for any Mayanist, academic or serious amateur. David’s sister, Ann Stuart does a great job at the logistics of travel, food and accommodations.

You will explore the latest exciting finds in the area that have pushed the origins of the Puuc region well back into the Pre-Classic period. And near the end of the journey you will visit the charming town of Mani, where Xiu dynasty ruled at the time of Spanish contact and where Diego de Landa infamously burned many hieroglyphic books. Among the sites on the itinerary:

  • puuc-cUxmal
  • Oxkintok
  • Loltun
  • Kabah
  • Sayil
  • Kiuic
  • Edzna
  • Xocnaceh
  • Mani

Learn more about the Puuc region from these two excellent articles. The first is by Meghan Rubenstein, a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Texas. I had the pleasure of meeting Meghan during the Palenque workshop in 2012. Meghan’s blog posts chronicle her dissertation fieldwork at the ancient Maya site of Kabah.

The second article is co-authored by Meghan as well as David Stuart on his Decipherment blog.
“The Reading of Two Dates from the Codz Pop at Kabah, Yucatan.” 

Heading for Tikal, Uaxactun, Yaxha on David Stuart’s Workshop

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Map-TikalSaturday I fly to Flores, Guatemala to meet up with renowned archaeologist and epigrapher, Dr. David Stuart, as I begin my third Maya Field Workshop. David will guide us through Tikal, Uaxactun and Yaxha before heading south to the seldom visited Aguateca and Ceibal. There, we will stay on the scenic Rio Petexbatun. It is sold out as usual and I look forward to meeting many of the friends I met on previous trips to Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Chichen Itza, Coba and Ek Balam in the Yucatan. I’ll post more pix and videos as my journey continues. Stay tuned.


  • Saturday: Arrival & welcome
  • Sunday: Tikal
  • Monday: Tikal
  • Tuesday: Yaxha
  • Wednesday: Uaxactun
  • Thursday: Lake Petexbatun;
  • Friday: Aguateca
  • Saturday: Ceibal; To Flores
  • Sunday: Departure

Mayas for Ancient Mayan: Dr. Bruce Love interview

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At the recent Maya at the Playa Conference, I sat down with Bruce Love, president and field coordinator for Mayas for Ancient Mayan. Bruce received his Ph.D in in Anthropology from UCLA and has 40 years of field experience among the Maya of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. MAM is a tax-deductible charitable organization dedicated to bringing the glyphs and ancient calendar back to the Maya people. MAM has had some exciting successes and has ambitious plans for the future as Bruce explains.

Peter Mathews: Maya-at-the-Playa “Roast” videos

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Peter Mathews

In September 2014, noted archaeologists, epigraphers and fellow Mayanists met in Florida for the 8th annual Maya at the Playa conference.Highlighting the conference was a celebration of the achievements of Dr. Peter Mathews who has participated is countless breakthroughs in Maya decipherment. In keeping with Peter’s legendary sense of humor, an evening was set aside for a comic Roast.There are 8 video clips, starting with an introduction by emcee, Dr. Phil Wanyerka followed by David Schele, Stan Guenter, Marc Zender, Armando Anaya, John Justeson, Justin Kerr, and finishing up with Ed Wilson and Peter Mathews himself.

Find more info at the main site of Maya at the Playa Conference. Congratulations and thanks to conference organizer, C. Mathew (Mat) Saunders of Davidson Day School – AFAR Director

Viewing Tip: Click the YouTube “Full Screen” icon YouTubeFullScreen

Phil Wanyerka
Video #1 Phil Wanyerka introduces Peter (23 min)
David Schele
Video #2 David Schele (4:21 min)
Stanley Guenter
Video #3 Stan Guenter (10:15 min)
Marc Zender
Video #4 Marc Zender (5:43 min)
Armando Anaya
Video #5 Armando Anaya (5:50 min)
John Justeson
Video #6 John Justeson (3:56 min)
Justin Kerr
Video #7 Justin Kerr (1:22 min)
Peter Mathews & Ed Wilson
Video # 8 Ed Wilson and
random closing shots of attendees (3:34 min)

Palenque’s Maya Glyph Carver Video

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This video features the work of Alejandro Lazo Figueroa, Palenque’s Maya Glyph Carver. Back in 1986, I attended the ground-breaking Blood of Kings Maya Art exhibition in Ft. Worth Texas. The video also shows the Blood of Kings book by Mary Miller and the legendary Linda Schele, which was amply illustrated. I thought an incised conch shell was particularly stunning.

It depicts a smoking lord with a deer headdress and a serpent, ready to strike. I thought it would be interesting to have this image carved in limestone by a modern-day artist.

So, 20 years ago, I found Alejandro Lazo Figueroa at Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico. He was able to recreate the smoking lord in faithful detail on a limestone panel.

I returned in 2014 and found him still carving. This time he carved a set of glyphs representing part of the Palenque dynasty.

Guatemala Maya textile exhibit offers tactile experience

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Textiles from Guatemala: Traditions and Transitions will be on display at the Center for the Arts Evergreen (Colorado) from September 19 through October 17, 2014. The opening reception is on Friday, September 19 from 4‐7 pm. More info can be found at http://www.evergreenarts.org/events.php.

For a thousand years, Maya weavers have been creating textiles for useful, beautiful garments in Guatemala. Their labor-intensive artistic weavings represent years of traditional methods, techniques, and styles. This exhibition presents examples of exquisite Guatemalan textiles and their evolution through time.

Viewers will learn about different weaving and dying techniques, as well as potential reasons behind their evolution. Examples of the over 50 Guatemalan textiles that will be on display are blouses, skirts, dresses, belts, headwraps, pants, scarves, dishcloths, and more.

Meg Leonard will provide a brief history of Guatemalan Textiles and how and why they are changing.

Center for the Arts Evergreen has partnered with Friendship Bridge, a nonprofit organization that provides microcredit and education to Guatemalan women, empowering them to find their own solutions to poverty. With the support of volunteers from ten United States Friendship Bridge Circles, including a local Evergreen, Colorado Group, the organization has reached over 20,000 women through their Microcredit Plus Program. (Reporting from Moira Heffernan) 

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