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21th European Maya Conference: Moscow, Russia

Maya Workshops

17 - 20 October 2016

The conference will be preceded by three-and-a-half day long workshops. Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced and Special workshops will be available. All groups will be taught and supervised by experienced tutors. Tuition will be available in English, Spanish, and Russian (at Beginners level).

Programme for Symposium and Workshops

There will be separate registration available for both events.

Workshops (17-20 October)

The three-day workshop groups will be taught and supervised by experienced tutors. Participants will be tutored in English. Spanish explanations can be provided by tutors, on an individual basis, for workshops of all levels.

Beginners Workshop

Introduction to Maya Writing
Tutors: Ramzy Barrois, Julia Bernatskaya & Daria Bayda

The information drawn from Maya hieroglyphic texts has fundamentally changed our understanding of the ancient Maya culture. To be able to read what the Maya themselves wrote about their history and rituals provides a fascinating and unparalleled window into a past culture, whose descendants continue to thrive in the communities of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The objective of this workshop is to provide an intensive introduction to the study of Maya hieroglyphs. Participants will have a chance to decipher hieroglyphs on their own during the workshop with the assistance of the tutors. General tuition will be given in English but explanations can also be provided in other languages (Spanish and French) on an individual basis. No previous knowledge of Maya culture, Maya hieroglyphs, ancient scripts, or linguistics is required to attend the workshop.

Towards the end of the three day workshop, participants will be able to understand the basic structure of Maya texts, decipher calendrical information, reconstruct chronology, point at verbs and nominal phrases, and much more.

Intermediate Workshop

This is an intermediate workshop open to those who have basic knowledge of Maya writing: some calendrical knowledge and the ability to structure hieroglyphic inscriptions and understand their syntactic components are prerequisites to fruitful participation on this workshop level. This intermediate workshops will be taught in English.

The Origins of Power from the Perspective of the Ancient Maya
Tutors: Felix Kupprat & Erik Velásquez García

In hieroglyphic Maya texts, the divine lords (k'uhul ajaw) of the Classic period repeatedly emphasized their ties to primordial kings, such as gods, ancestors and cultural heroes, who - according to the written record - ruled centuries and even millennia before them. The very institution of the political leader was legitimized by the means of a discourse about an ancient cosmic order in which power is held by extraordinary individuals, from deep-time to the Classic present. These narratives and their meaning in the socio-political landscape are crucial to our current understanding of rulership and the political system of the ancient Maya. In this workshop we will examine various key texts which provide information about who and what the Maya (wanted to be) perceived as prototypes of the political order, focusing on the contents of the respective narratives, as well as regional versions and adaptions.

Hieroglyphic texts will be analyzed in small groups of 3-5 persons, and afterwards discussed with the whole group. Short talks by the tutors will provide contextual information. If possible, attendees are kindly asked to bring a portable computer. However, a computer is not a requirement.

Advanced Workshop

Advanced participants with well founded knowledge of Maya writing are offered a 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.

On the Same Team: Talking Hierarchy in Classic Maya Texts
Tutors: Alexandre Tokovinine & Alexandre Safronov

This advanced workshop explores recent advancements in the studies of Classic Maya politics at the local and regional levels. The goal is to review textual and visual rhetoric of power and to highlight the dynamic relationship between the evolution of the ancient Maya political landscape in 378-810 C.E. and changes in its representations in various media. The workshop materials will be organized into three major chronological blocks corresponding to the episodes of political consolidation in 378-435 and 550-695 C.E., as well as the more fluid politics of the eighth century C.E. The eighth century segment will also feature narratives and representations of Classic Maya courtly life reflecting a shift to non-royal elites in the available texts and images. A background in Maya archaeology and epigraphy is required to attend this workshop.

Special Workshop

We are offering a Special Workshop this year that is open to participants on all levels. Some prior knowledge about Mesoamerican art and writing will be useful, but is not a prerequisite.

Economic Foundations of the Empire: Aztec Hieroglyphic Books of Tribute, Cadastres and Population Censuses
Tutors: Albert Davletshin & Alfonso Lacadena

Within the rich corpus of surviving Aztec hieroglyphic texts and their varied subjects, a group of documents has been traditionally classified as economic (Glass and Robertson 1975). These economic documents include lists of tribute, tax records, population censuses, cadastres and land tenure records. By the time the Spaniards arrived the economic documents had already existed and they continued well after the Conquest, incorporatig the new realities of the colonial regime.

In the Workshop, we will comment on an ample selection of Aztec economic and administrative documents, including (a) Matrícula de Tributos and Codex Mendoza which are key to understanding the Mexica tributary system,(b) census and cadastral documents, like Codex Santa María Asunción, Codex Vergara, Beinecke Map, and Matrícula de Huexotzingo, and (c) documents used in judicial proceedings, like Codex Osuna, Codex Cozcatzin, and Memorial de los Indios de Tepetlaoztoc which concern a miscellany of economic issues. During the sessions we will analyze the structure and compositional conventions of these documents, read the hieroglyphs and alphabetic glosses and contextualize them historically. Special attention will be paid to Aztec numerical and arithmetical system from the point of view of Nahuatl writing and language.

Requirements: Previous training on the subject is not required (although no doubt any knowledge of Aztec writing, history and culture, Nahuatl and Spanish languages, and Novohispanic paleography is welcome). Laptops are recommended.

Materials: A Workbook with a collection of practical hieroglyphic materials and a selection of texts will be provided, as well as other useful materials in a digital format (dictionaries, grammars, academic literature, hieroglyphic facsimiles).

Languge: The Workshop will be conducted in (what is sincerely intended to be) English.

For further information, please contact the Wayeb Conference Board or the local organisers (Dmitri Beliaev, Alexander Safronov, Yulia Bernatskaya, Philipp Galeev, Sergei Vepretski, and Darya Baida) at