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M.A.R.I. Bulletin: Volume 3, No. 2 (Summer)
Studying the indigenous cultures of Mexico and Central America since 1924

Director's News

As we begin the Fall semester of 2012, I am happy to report that M.A.R.I. is steadily moving into a new phase of activity and outreach.

We are happy to have Dr. Marc Zender join us for a second year. His presence on Tulane's campus and in M.A.R.I.'s halls has made the Institute a more pleasant place to be. Marc's widely acknowledged expertise in Mesoamerican epigraphy and historical linguistics has increased the Institute's scope of operations as well as its appeal to doctoral students. Marc was instrumental in organizing the 9th Annual Tulane Maya symposium as well as the inaugural exhibit described in this bulletin. Finally, Marc is planning some long-term projects through M.A.R.I. so we hope to continue this collaboration for years to come.

We are also happy to announce that Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli will be visiting us for this academic year. As another accomplished Mayanist, Francisco is bringing his GIS expertise to bear on M.A.R.I. and we are excited to have him join us. We all look forward to learning more about his research and having him enrich our activities.

Finally, I would like to note that we will be sending bulletins about events at M.A.R.I. throughout the year. Please feel free to comment or advise as you see fit. We always welcome help!

Best to all,


Notes from the Field

Here we feature the research accomplishments of the many professors, students and scholars affiliated with M.A.R.I. In this issue we hear from Erin Patterson, physical anthropology graduate student at Tulane University.


This summer I began my dissertation research in Guatemala, thanks to support from M.A.R.I. and the Tulane Department of Anthropology. I am working with skeletal collections from the Maya sites of La Corona and El Perú-Waka' projects directed by Marcello Canuto and David Freidel, respectively) in northwest Petén. Using both skeletal and isotopic data, I am investigating the health and diet of the people from these sites. I began the field season with the excavation of two new burials at La Corona. During the remainder of my stay, I conducted lab work in Guatemala City. I am pleased with the progress I made this summer, and I cannot wait for the next field season!

Inaugural M.A.R.I. exhibit opens:
"Faces of the Maya: Profiles in Continuity and Resilience"

After more than half-a-century, M.A.R.I. inaugurates a new exhibit on the Maya civilization


Since the renovation of Dinwiddie Hall was completed in August 2010, M.A.R.I. has been outfitting its new spaces for artifact and archival storage, laboratory analysis, and finally for collection exhibition. One major component of the "new M.A.R.I." was the development of new and modernized exhibit gallery. After nearly 18 months of preparation, M.A.R.I. inaugurated its first new major exhibit since the 1940s in 2012.

This inaugural exhibit focuses on the ancient Maya civilization, which has received much attention because of its calendar “ending” in 2012. The title of the exhibit is "Faces of the Maya: Profiles in Continuity and Resilience." Using choice examples from M.A.R.I.'s own extensive collection as well as a few objects generously lent to the Institute by the Latin American Library at Tulane and the New Orleans Museum of Art, the exhibit traces the arc of ancient Maya civilization from the Preclassic period to modern times.

Thanks to the diligent and hard work of Tulane Anthropology's many doctoral students, as well as M.A.R.I. staff, we are able to display some pieces that have been in storage and unseen by the public for over 50 years. Additionally, many thanks are due to Professor Steven Durow of Tulane's Art Department for his skilled restoration the plaster cast of Altar Q from Copan, Honduras.

The exhibit will remain open throughout 2012 and 2013. Admission is free. So please feel free to come by M.A.R.I. any time between 10am and 3pm on Tuesdays through Fridays!

10th Annual Tulane Maya symposium:
"KAANAL: The Snake Kingdom of the Classic Maya"

February 22-24, 2013; Registration is open!


Recent archaeological and epigraphic research in Quintana Roo, Campeche, and the Peten have outlined the development of a political behemoth during the Classic period that extended its influence from Honduras to Chiapas to the northern Yucatan. Ruled by a long-lived dynasty--called Kaanal--from first Dzibanche and then Calakmul, this kingdom grew at its apex in the mid-7th century. This symposium will explore the rise, rule, and fall of Kaanal kings, posing the important question: was the Kaanal kingdom a unique experiment in Maya political integration?

This year, the Symposium will feature a keynote from the inimitable Dr. Peter Mathews as well as 8 papers discussing all the latest research relating to the Kaanal kingdom. Our Forum discussion will focus on the new texts discovered at La Corona this year. Moreover, all the workshops will feature new texts from throughout the Kaanal kingdom. This meeting will be the first time many of these texts will be formally presented!

As in the past three years, M.A.R.I. will be organizing the Tulane Maya Symposium. In collaboration with Tulane's Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) and the New Orleans Museum of Art, we hope to continue developing diverse activities and topics for the symposium's participants and attendees in the future.


Dinwiddie Hall, 3rd floor
Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118



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Copyright © 2012, Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University