2017 Maya Meetings pave way for broader Mesoamerica shift

The 2017 Maya Meetings, “Tlillan Tlapallan: The Maya as Neighbors in Ancient Mesoamerica,” took place at UT Austin from January 10-14, combining interactive workshops and stimulating forums on cutting-edge scholarship about the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures, as well as ushering in a new, broader scope for the symposium, which in 2018 will be called The Mesoamerica Meetings. Instead of focusing on specific topics within the Maya world, the conferences will celebrate scholarship on the interrelation of all Mesoamerican cultures. It is a move that comes on the eve of the conference’s 41st year, or third k’atun, the Maya span of 20 years.

This photo shows a slide from a presentation given at the Maya Meetings.
The theme of the 2017 Maya Meetings incorporated other Mesoamerican cultures and their relationships

This year’s event, generously sponsored by Austin’s own Ruta Maya Coffee Company, opened with a keynote presentation by Dr. Marc Zender of Tulane University: “Writing in Mesoamerica: A Comparative Perspective,” which explored the similarities of scripts across Mesoamerican cultures.

The symposium’s lectures, given by noted scholars, researchers, and students, continued along the thread of cultural exchange throughout Mesoamerica, touching on the ways different cultures influenced each other’s art, religion, writing, medicine, and architecture. Discussions also sought to explain other types of cross-cultural interactions, such as various ethnicities living in the same place.

Attendees participated in workshops dedicated to Maya hieroglyphic writing and decipherment, and illuminating the newest remote sensing techniques for site detection.

To view the 2017 program and read abstracts for all presentations, please click here. Each year, the Meetings have welcomed scholars, students, and interested individuals from all over the world to convene for a week of engaging lectures, research workshops, and discussions highlighting the rich cultural achievements of the ancient Maya. We look forward to the 2018 Mesoamerica Meetings, taking place in Austin from January 9-13, when we will explore the art, archaeology, and writing of all Mesoamerican cultures through our featured theme, “Mesoamerican Philosophies: Animate Matter, Metaphysics, and the Natural Environment.”