US Premiere of Dance of the Maize God Reply

The 2014 Maya Meetings in Antigua saw a preview of the extraordinary new documentary film from Night Fire Films, Dance of the Maize God. The US Premiere will take place this coming Sunday, February 23, at 4 PM at CineFestival in San Antonio, Texas.

An announcement from Night Fire Films:

Night Fire Films is pleased to announce their new feature length documentary, Dance of the Maize God. Like their award-winning 2008 documentary Breaking the Maya Code, the new film explores the loss and recovery of ancient Maya culture – in this case, how royal painted vases, almost all found by looters, have transformed our understanding of the ancient Maya. The film explores the complex issues surrounding the excavation, study and exhibition of ancient Maya art.

Following a sneak preview at the UT Maya Meetings in Antigua, the film will have its U.S. premiere at the CineFestival in San Antonio this Sunday, February 23rd. In March, it will be featured at the Tulane Maya Symposium and at the International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal.

To read more about the film, view a trailer and see the latest screening schedule, please go to: http://nightfirefilms.org/films/dance-of-the-maize-god/

The filmmakers will be traveling throughout 2014 to screen Dance of the Maize God at festivals, symposia, museums, universities and community organizations. We are hoping to accompany these screenings with panel discussions involving a wide range of viewpoints on the study and exhibition of looted art.

If your organization would be interested in exploring the possibility of a screening, please get in touch with Producer Rosey Guthrie at guthrie@nightfirefilms.org.

The 2014 Maya Meetings: Tikal and its Neighbors 1

Stela 31 Tlaloc shieldThe 2014 Maya Meetings begin next week in Antigua, Guatemala, devoted to “Tikal and its Neighbors.” The conference will include workshops and a symposium devoted to the latest research on the archaeology and history of the central Peten region.

I and other contributors to Maya Decipherment will be in attendance, and there will probably be some interesting items to report after the conference. Regular posts on Maya Decipherment will resume later in January. A happy New Year to all.

NEWS: Discovery of an Inscribed Temple Facade at Holmul, Guatemala 5

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A large and beautifully preserved temple facade has been unearthed this year at Holmul, Guatemala, by an archaeological team led by Francisco Estrada-Belli. The imagery features a local Holmul ruler named ? Chan Yopaat seated atop a world mountain (witz). Large serpents emerge from the witz mask and face toward other seated figures — possibly ancestors  — at the corners.

The official National Geographic announcement (with photos) can be found here.

The Boston University press release is here.

UPDATE: A Higher res picture is available here, courtesy of Alex Tokovinine. Thanks, Alex!

One unusual and important feature of the Holmul facade is a long hieroglyphic text that runs along the bottom of the scene. This is now being closely studied and documented by Alex Tokovinine of the Holmul project. It contains a number of royal names, including that of the contemporary ruler from nearby Naranjo, “Aj Wosaaj.”  The inscription also refers to the ruler of the Snake kingdom (Kaanul or Kaanal) when it was based at Dzibanche.

A great find. I only wish Francisco had found this before we had our Art of Maya Architecture gathering at the 2013 UT Maya Meetings!

NEWS: Recent Epigraphic Finds at El Peru 2

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The El Peru Regional Archaeological Project has announced some significant epigraphic discoveries made over the past two seasons, focusing on two new inscribed monuments, numbered Stela 43 and 44. These include some interesting new historical characters and hints at wider regional politics of the 6th century, a time that is still poorly understood in Maya history overall.

Press release from Washington University in St Louis

Press Release from the Guatemalan Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes

NEWS: The Discovery of Chactun, Campeche Reply

INAH (Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) has posted video footage of the newly discovered site of Chactun, Campeche. The ruins were located and surveyed this season by archaeologist Ivan Sprajc and his colleagues. It looks like a fascinating place with large structures and inscribed monuments, one of which mentions a Late Classic ruler by the name of K’inich Bahlam. Ivan and Octavio Esparza are featured in the video, explaining the significance of the discoveries.

A big congratulations to Ivan, Octavio and everyone involved. I’m sure many can’t wait to hear more about the find.

UPDATE: INAH has also released a news item on the discovery on their official website, as well as a nice photo gallery showing some of the monuments.