Meeting Description: The Maya Working Group published in 2017 an edited volume of papers resulting from a series of meetings on the origins of lowland Maya ceremonial centers and solar commemorative buildings called E Groups. Subsequently, the Working Group has focused on the Maya materialization of time. A second book on this theme has draft chapters in preparation or completed. The 2018 meeting will spend the morning of August 29th discussing the drafts and ways to advance their cross-referencing and integration. The Maya are famous for their calendars and time-reckoning but this book expands the theme to include the archaeological data that shows the many ways they organized and centered ceremonial space to materialize the past, present and future, how they carried out time calculation, divination and prophecy in interior room spaces, and how they contemplated creation and the cosmos through myth and history.
The afternoon of August 29th and the morning of August 30th will be focused on the theme of Being Maya, through a series of presentations by member of the Group on the ways that the lowland Maya defined themselves as a cultural and social world distinct from the other complex societies of Mesoamerica. The lowland Maya had many distinct but related languages but sustained an enduring and overarching identification as a civilization in an area two-thirds the size of New Mexico for two thousand years. Participants bring expertise from long term research programs in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala to the table to explore how and why the Maya interacted at pan-lowland scale through trade, diplomacy, and war in ways that both sustained complex society and in at least two eras, the Late Preclassic and the Terminal Classic, severely threatened its existence. The Group will be joined by an eminent expert in the highland Mexican civilization of Teotihuacan to advance discussion of the historically pivotal interaction between this celebrated “foreign” world and that of the lowland Maya.