September - Jim Rock, PhD, UMN Duluth Planetarium
Every day those of us who live in the metropolitan area walk through the spritual landscape of the L/Dakota. This will be an opportunity to explore the importance of cultural landscapes, a critical part of ancient and modern indigenous communities throughout the Americas.
Friday lecture - September 23, 2016, 7:30 pm*
Makoche Wanagi: The Spiritual Landscape of the Dakota and the Land of Spirits around Kaposia I/Battle Creek/Mounds Park/Wakan Tipi, Inyan Sha and Bdote
This evening’s lecture (near the Fall
Equinox) will prepare us for a visit the following day (please join us!) to the
sacred sites mentioned above. Indigenous
Sacred Space-Time is all around us, over and beneath us and within us when we
are mitakuyapi (relatives). As we live
and walk with and know our hunkakan (ancestors and their stories) and the land
of our hunkakan, the land below deeply reflects and accurately mirrors the
spiritual landscape above. Bdote is
where rivers join and in this case it is our Dakota Chekpa or Navel center of
the universe. With contact, this region
became the Twin Cities but the Chekpa has always referred to the Navel or to
Twins or to the seventh child in birth order.
The seventh direction is the center of the six cosmic directions and
their colors just as the Maya worldview with some differences. We will see that the work described by Karen
Bassie-Sweet in Maya Sacred Geography and the Creator Deities (2008) has direct
relevance here to caves and water and twins and snakes and thunder and
professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the department of Physics
and Astronomy and Indigenous Critical Education, Rock has been learning and
researching these sites for over 50 years and Gould for 20 years. They recently
published an article regarding the feminine spiritual significance of this
area, the cave petroglyphs, the geo-astronomical earth-sky connections and the
changing constellations over millennia.
We will explain Rock’s co-authored text D(L)akota Star Map Constellation
Guide: An Introduction to D(L)akota Star Knoweldge (2014) and also draw upon
other related researchers such as David Lee Smith (Hochunk Nation, 1997) and
Dennis Slifer’s The Serpent and the Sacred Fire: Fertility Images in Southwest
Rock Art (2000) and Lightning in the Andes and MesoAmerica (2013) by Staller
Saturday workshop - September 24, 2016, 9:00am –Noon*
Makoce Wakan Akan Mihunkakan ob maunnipi (we walk with the ancestors and origin stories upon sacred ground)
Please read the Friday lecture
information (above) for details of the workshop. NOTE: We'll meet at the corner of Earl
Street and Mounds Blvd at Indian Mounds park
October - Dr. Linda R. Manzanilla, UNAM (Mexico)
Dr. Manzanilla is one of the lead investigators at Teotihuacan. She teaches at UNAM, Mexico’s National University. In addition to being an internationally recognized scholar, she is an excellent lecturer.
Friday Lecture - October 7, 2016, 7:30 pm*
Teotihuacan, an exceptional metropolis of Classic Central Mexico
Teotihuacan was one of the major urban
developments in the ancient world, but also constituted an exception in
Mesoamerica. During the first six centuries AD, it was a 20 km.2 city, with a
strict urban grid, a multiethnic settlement with a corporate organization at
the base and summit of this society, and a very dynamic entrepreneurial
intermediate elite heading the neighborhoods. This talk will review the major
characteristics of this city through my projects in apartment compounds such as
Oztoyahualco 15B, neighborhood centers such as Teopancazco, and palatial
structures such as Xalla. The talk will stress two main characteristics of this
site: craft production at four levels, and the extensive movement of sumptuary
goods through corridors of ally sites.
Saturday Workshop - October 8, 2016, 9:00 am – Noon*
An interdisciplinary methodology to unveil Teotihuacan
An interdisciplinary methodology to
unveil Teotihuacan: the articulation of archaeologists with osteologists,
geophysicists, geologists, biologists, chemists and geneticists. Without an
interdisciplinary perspective, it is impossible to find out how people lived in
the city of Teotihuacan, from what regions did the migrants come from, what
were their activities when living, where did foreign crafts and raw materials
come from, what were the changes in this societies through time, what were the
major factors involved in the collapse. We will view domestic life before and
during the Classic period of Teotihuacan. We will discuss the palace of Xalla: and the ruling elite of
Teotihuacan. And finally we will discuss activities of post-Teotihuacan groups
in the tunnels around the Pyramid of the Sun.
November - Dr. Marc Zender, Tulane University Professor
This is a can’t miss weekend. Marc is a captivating lecturer, with extraordinary understanding of ancient Maya painting and art.
Friday Lecture - November 4, 2016, 7:30 PM*
The Lord of the Deer: A Lost Maya Myth
Several Classic Maya vases and monuments
reference tantalizing fragments of a narrative concerning Huk Sip (the Old Deer
God) and his interactions with Juun Ixiim, the Maize God. Through an
analysis of the texts and imagery reflecting this lost myth, as well as careful
comparison with some related modern Maya myths, much can be reconstructed of
the basic events of the tale, though many mysteries remain. Still unresolved is
the extent to which these various fragments reconstruct a single, underlying
myth at all, raising questions about many of our reconstructions of ancient
Maya mythic narratives.
Saturday Workshop - November 5, 2016, 9:00 AM – 3:00PM*
Classic Maya Mythologies (Workshop Fee $30.00)
Underlying Maya cosmology, history and
religion are several key mythological narratives explaining the origins of the
world, humanity and civilized/moral behavior. Classic Maya writing and
art provide our most important windows into these narratives, identifying key
mythological characters by name, attribute or association. Occasionally
these figures have survived in more or less recognizable form in colonial or
modern traditions -- as with the Storm God (Chahk) and the Creator God (Itzamna).
More often they have not, and the sum total of our knowledge of their role in
the mythology comes from careful study of the texts and art in which they
occur. Such is the case with K'awiil, Juun Ixiim and God L, complex
entities who defy the simple labels of "Lightning God," "Maize
God" and "Merchant God of the Underworld."
Beginning with a review of what is
currently known about the major gods, places and events of Maya mythology, this
seminar-style workshop focuses on an investigation of what might be termed the
"lost gods" of this canon. Recent discoveries concerning the Principal
Bird Deity, the Wind God, and Gods D and N are highlighted. A secondary
but equally important focus stems from questions about the nature of the
mythological narratives, particularly with respect to subtle variations in
theme and focus in different regions. Was there ever a unified Maya
Marc Zender received his PhD from the
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Calgary in
2004. He has taught linguistics, epigraphy, and Mesoamerican indigenous
languages (e.g., Yucatec Maya, Classical and Modern Nahuatl) at the University
of Calgary (2002-2004), Harvard University (2005-2011), and is now an Assistant
Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University, New Orleans (2011-present).
Marc’s research interests include anthropological and historical linguistics,
comparative writing systems, and archaeological decipherment, with a regional
focus on Mesoamerica (particularly Mayan and Nahuatl/Aztec). He is the author
of several books and dozens of articles exploring these topics. In addition to
his research and writing, Marc is the editor of The PARI Journal, and
(with Joel Skidmore) co-maintainer of Mesoweb, a major internet resource
for students of Mesoamerican cultures.
December - Gina Miranda, Maya Day Keeper
Editors note: Gina is soft spoken and gentle, with an incredible gift. She has been described as “the ultimate combination of ancient practice and contemporary science, coming together in the modern world”. Her blog is a blend of science and spirituality.
Friday Lecture - December 2, 2016, 7:30 pm*
New approach to Mayan astrology.
Combining the teachings acquired from an
old Mayan day keeper 4 decades ago with new information, Gina will present a
new view of the Mayan calendar. In this talk we will explore this approach,
which could have implications as profound as to change the way we look at our
lives. From now on we can look at the Mayan calendar, one of humanity greatest
achievements, is more than just a calendar. It is the core of an ancient
philosophy and and a way of life that preceded Mayan culture by thousands of
February - Karl Laumbach, Principal Investigator, Human Systems Research
Karl’s topic is Elk Ridge, where he spent 40 years trying to save this Mimbres site from the ravages of pot hunters. This is a significant story related to cultural patrimony and ethics.
Friday Lecture - February 24, 2017, 7:30 pm*
The Elk Ridge Story
Digging for “pots” in pueblo sites has
been a recreational activity across the American Southwest for more than a
century. During the mid-1970s,
commercial “pothunters”, spurred on by a growing art market for all things Southwestern,
began the methodical bulldozing of Mimbres Pueblo sites in southwestern New
Mexico. By 1989 many of the large Mimbres pueblo sites on private land (and
many on public land) had been destroyed.
In an effort to stop this wholesale destruction, a legislative effort
enacted a law which made it a 4th degree felony to knowingly disturb a human
burial on private land in the State of New Mexico.
Prior to the spring of 1989, no one knew
that a large intact Mimbres Pueblo lay buried under alluvium on the West Fork
of the Mimbres River. For the 90 days
before the law took effect, the landowner used heavy equipment to extract as
many pots as possible but the sheer depth of the deposits prevented complete
destruction. The Elk Ridge Story chronicles those halcyon times and the controversial
effort by Human Systems Research to preserve what was left of a previously
undocumented and highly significant Mimbres Pueblo.
Saturday Workshop - February 25, 2017, 9:00 am – Noon*
Southwestern Ceramic Workshop with an Emphasis on the Mimbres Mogollon Culture
Toni S. Laumbach and Karl W. Laumbach
On Saturday morning, February 25th, Toni and Karl Laumbach will present a workshop on the technology of ceramics from the American Southwest with an emphasis on the Mimbres Mogollon culture. Toni Laumbach, former Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, is a recognized authority on the prehistoric ceramics of the American Southwest. Prehistoric ceramics in the Southwest provide a wealth of temporal and spatial information as the styles vary significantly in both time and space. A power point presentation focusing on production technology will be followed by a hands-on opportunity to observe and appreciate the exquisite Mimbres Black-on-white ceramics that have paradoxically contributed to the destruction of far too many Mimbres period archaeological sites.
March - Dr. Karl Taube, University of California, Riverside
Dr Taube is an exceptional scholar of American Mesoamerica, archaeology, epigraphy and ethnohistory. The corpus of his academic work demonstrates brilliance, breadth of inquiry, as well as depth of mastery. Besides that, he is a good speaker.
Lecture: Friday, March 31, 2017, 7:30 pm*
Bloodsport: The Ballgame and Boxing in Ancient Mesoamerica
One of the most frequently noted aspects
of the rubber ballgame in Mesoamerica is the close relation to human sacrifice,
especially in terms of decapitation. However, there tends to be little
discussion of the underlying motivations and meanings of this ritual act.
In this study, I will discuss how human sacrifice and the ballgame relates to
agricultural fertility and abundance, including the ritual flooding of ball
courts to denote them as deep, watery sources of fertility and growth. I trace
this to the early Olmec (ca. 1200-500 b.c.) who offered rubber balls to the
sacred spring at El Manatí and portrayed the feline Olmec rain god as a
ballplayer. The Olmec also related their feline rain deity to ritual boxing, a
very widespread but little studied sport in ancient Mesoamerica. The early
Zapotec site of Dainz features many monumental reliefs of ritual boxers wearing
jaguar helmet masks, at times with the facial features of Cocijo, their aspect
of the rain god. The Zapotec had held stone manoplas, or "stone knuckles"
often used in boxing often portray jaguar faces. The boxing complex appears in
Classic Maya art, including vessel scenes as remarkable corpus of figures from
Luba'antun, Belize. In addition, in recent research, I have found this boxing
complex to as far east as the Ulua Valley of Honduras, with clear relations to
the major nearby site of Copán. Finally, I will discuss that the tradition of
ritual boxing continues to this day in highland Guerrero, where young men
dressed as jaguars engage in combat atop mountains, with their falling blood
compared to fertile rain.
Saturday workshop - April 1, 2017, 9:00 am - Noon
THE ICONOGRAPHY OF CHICHEN ITZA: RECENT DISCOVERIES AND INTERPRETATIONS.
One of the most striking events known for the pre-Hispanic in Maya is the
florescence of the great city of Chichen Itza in northern Yucatan during the
time of the Classic Maya collapse. Aside from the grandeur of its monumental
architecture and sculpture, Chichen Itza is also renowned for its celebration
of foreign, highland Mexican traditions, both in terms of architecture and
iconography. Although for many years, the site of Tula, Hidalgo, has been
identified as the source of much of the foreign influence, this continues to be
a subject of vigorous debate. In this presentation I will readdress this topic
with special focus on the iconography of Chichen Itza as well as the presence
of foreign, non-Maya texts. It will be noted that although many themes and
motifs do indicate substantial contact with Tula, this influence went both
ways, with many Maya traits appearing at Tula as well. In addition, recent
investigations at the Initial Series Group at Chichen Itza has revealed a
remarkable corpus of scenes portraying a duck-billed deity that probably
constitutes an Early Postclassic form of the wind god and as such, can be
considered as an ancestral form of Ehecatl. Rather than being of Central
Mexican origin, this duck billed god can readily traced in southeastern
Mesoamerica to the early Maya, the Olmec, and even earlier. Moreover, the
Initial Series Group has the most developed monumental program dedicated to the
production of cacao in ancient Mesoamerica.
University of St. Thomas Art History is bringing Dr. Joanne
Pillsbury in from the Met (and formerly Dumbarton Oaks) on April 28 for their speaker series on Sacred Space. The title of her talk is "Palace into Temple: Architecture at Chan Chan, Peru." .