Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

The 2018 Maya Symposium Examines How the Maya Waged War

March 8th, 2018 - March 11th, 2018

New Orleans Museum of Art
One Collins Diboll Circle, City Park

Freeman Auditorium, Woldenberg Art Center
Tulane University

Professors, graduate students, and scholars, join us at the 15th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium beginning March 8, through March 11, 2018. This year’s Maya Symposium, The Blood Pooled, the Heads Piled Up: How the Maya Waged War, will examine the nature of Maya warfare, with a focus on challenging scholarly interpretations of archaeological, linguistic, and ethnographic evidence of violence in the past.

Since 2002, the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University has hosted a weekend of talks and workshops dedicated to the study of the Maya civilization of Mexico and Central America. This yearly meeting has called upon scholars from a wide spectrum of specialties—archaeology, art history, cultural anthropology, epigraphy, history, and linguistics—to elucidate the many facets of this fascinating Mesoamerican culture. In developing a broad approach to the subject matter, the conference aims to draw the interest of a wide ranging group of people—from the expert to the beginner.

Please visit the Middle American Research Institute’s website for more information about accommodations, schedule of events, and registration.

The event will commence Thursday, March 8, at 6:00 PM with a photographic exhibition entitled Excavators of the Past: Archaeology in Action hosted by the Consulate of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Institute. The exhibition will present the collections of the Archaeology Department of Tulane University, showing the process of discovering the Maya world. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 9, join us in welcoming the keynote speaker Dr. Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University, for a lecture entitled The Bold and the Bellicose: Maya Warfare in the Conquest Era, at the New Orleans Museum of Art at 6:00 PM. The Maya of Yucatan were “a bellicose people” who were “raised from birth in warfare”; Guatemalan Mayas were “very bellicose and bold in war.” So claimed the Spanish conquistadors who faced them in battle in the early sixteenth century. Yet only decades later, Spaniards and Maya nobles alike concluded that the wars of “the conquest” had brought defeat and demographic decline. Such claims underpinned the long-lasting impression that while the Mayas that faced Spanish invaders were warlike, they nonetheless soon succumbed to colonialism—along with the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans—bringing “the Ancient Maya” to an end. In this keynote address, Matthew Restall challenges these impressions, using the topic of Maya warfare to urge us to think differently about Maya bellicosity, Maya responses to invasion, and the periodization of Maya civilization. A reception will follow the keynote.