This year’s symposium will explore the many ways the ancient Maya moved across their landscape, whether for the sake of diplomacy, conquest, commerce, migration, or pilgrimage. Recent research in archaeology, epigraphy, and ethnohistory has shown just how "restless" Maya people were; that is, populations moved to new areas, rulers undertook long journeys, merchants traveled far and wide, armies marched great distances, ambassadors paid visits to distant allies, and holy men made pilgrimages to remote locations. In fact, so important was the idea of travel, often the very identity of certain Maya groups was tied to intricate migration narratives that explained their current condition.
Such activity, howsoever critical it might have been to past Maya society, remains elusive to the modern scholar. Such activity rarely impacts the archaeological record meaningfully, alters typical genetic markers of identity, finds its way into ancient texts, or engenders clear ethnographic or ethnohistorical accounts. As a result, scholarship has been generally conservative in its approach to considering the extent to which movement and travel were important to ancient Maya society.
To wit, the goal of the symposium is to emphasize how integral long-distance communication was to ancient Maya society throughout its long history. Recently, however, new texts, new analytical techniques, and new discoveries help us appreciate how dynamic and mobile members of Maya society were. To that end, we have assembled a wonderful group of Maya studies scholars from different disciplines, such as archaeology, art history, cultural anthropology, epigraphy, history, and linguistics to address this topic mustering as wide an array of evidence as is possible.
Such a consortium is a rare accomplishment in modern academia, so please JOIN US!
2014 Program | Registration | Accommodation