Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

2013 Maya Symposium Exposes Scholars, Teachers to Recent Discoveries about the Kaan Kingdom

March 6th, 2013

The 2013 Tulane Maya Symposium, Kaanal: The Snake Kingdom of the Classic Maya, held February 22-24, featured a teacher workshop, lectures by preeminent scholars, and Maya epigraphy workshops. The event was sponsored by the Middle American Research Institute, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research, Far Horizons, and Beta Analytic.

The teacher workshop focused on curriculum building and introducing the Maya into the K-12 classroom. The workshop consisted of an introduction to the Maya, the Maya calendar, and recent finds at La Corona by PRALC (Proyecto Regional Arqueológico La Corona) member and Tulane University Department of Anthropology graduate student David Chatelain. The focus of the workshop was presentations by three participants in the Stone Center’s 2012 Summer Teacher Institute in Guatemala, Ellen Cohen, Sarah Donovan, and Denise Tullier Holly. The speakers shared information about their experiences in Guatemala and how those experiences have shaped their discussions of the Maya in the classroom. Each focused on their respective curricula which they are creating. These curricula include Maya Past and Present, a 3rd and 5th grade art curriculum by Denise Tullier Holly, Signs of Change, a 8th grade language arts curriculum by Sarah Donovan, and Where do Indigenous People go when the History Book Ends?, a High School Spanish curriculum by Ellen Cohen. For more information on these resources, visit the LARC website.

The workshop concluded with an activity where all the participants carved their names in Maya gylphs in soap blocks, an activity Ellen Cohen utilized in her classroom. For pictures of the soap carving activity and other images of the workshop please visit the Flikr site. For more information on the resources from the workshop visit the resource page.

The main component of the symposium was an entire day of lectures about the Kaan Kingdom, with the focus on sites in southern Campeche and Quintana Roo, Mexico and the Peten, Guatemala. Lectures focused on sites such as Calakmul, La Corona, El Palmar, El Peru-Waka, and Uxul. Scholars from around the world gathered to give the talks, with speakers coming from as far as Australia, Slovenia, Germany, Guatemala, and Mexico, as well as from a variety of universities around the United States. Marcello Canuto, director of the Middle American Research Institute (MARI) said that this year’s symposium “was one of the more successful ones. Everyone seemed interested in the talks.”

The weekend continued with a day of epigraphy workshops. These workshops were devoted to learning more about the epigraphic record concerning the Kaan Kingdom. The day started off with a hieroglyphic forum which discussed the details of the reading of the ’2012 panel’ from La Corona. The forum was directed by renowned epigraphers David Stuart, Simon Martin, Marc Zender, and Stanley Guenter. The day continued with four additional workshops about specific texts from the sites of La Corona, El Palmar, and Uxul. For some images of the Sunday workshops visit the MARI Facebook page.

The 2013 Tulane Maya Symposium was a successful endeavor, exposing teachers, scholars, students, and other interested parties to current topics of discussion in Maya archaeology and epigraphy. The combination of the teacher workshop, talks, and epigraphic workshops provided a broad array of information about varying topics to the attendees. We look forward to another successful symposium in 2014!

Mesoamerica + People
Elizabeth Boone
Martha and Donald Robertson Chair in Latin American Studies