ANT 32OL / LAS 324L           Brian Stross  EPS 2.204




Required:  1) M.D. Coe, Breaking the Maya Code. (BMC) LCC 91-65312

                        2)  M.D. Coe and Mark Van Stone    Reading The Maya Glyphs.



     R. Sharer,  The Ancient Maya, 5th Ed ISBN 0-8047-2310-9 (TAM)

     L. Schele and M. Miller, The Blood of Kings (BOK) 

     L. Schele and D. Friedel A Forest of Kings (FOK)

     L. Schele and Peter Matthews Code of Kings (COK)

     D. Freidel, L. Schele and J. Parker. Maya Cosmos (MC)

     J. Eric S. Thompson, Maya Hieroglyphic Writing (MHW) 

     J.F. Harris & S.K. Stearns, Understanding Maya Inscriptions (UMI)

     J. Montgomery, How To Read Maya Hieroglyphs (HTR)

     G. Pedro González, A Mayan Life. (La Otra Cara) Yaxte' Press

      Maya Epigraphic Database (on the internet)


Week 1  8/27, 9/1, 9/3 INTRODUCTION  overview of course content:

            Intro to the Maya.  recent developments in Maya glyph studies.

T5Ol Imix, T528 Cauac, T544 Kin, T526 Caban, T56l Sky     

(Mexico,   Belize)           (mayan languages)

            Movie Thursday 9/3,  UGL 344: Popol Vuh (Vidcass 1959 UGLAVC) 

            Homework:  read "Sacrifice" (packet pages ....), taking notes.  Write

            down all unfamiliar words and see if you can figure out what

            they mean from the context.  Use dictionary if necessary

            Familiarize yourself with contents of the packet.   (Isthmian Stela)

            Suggested Reading :  MHW Ch. l,  BOK 1-4O                         


Week 2   9/8, 9/10  PRINCIPLES OF GLYPHIC WRITING reading order,

           VOS, glyph blocks,  affixes, allographs/variants, clauses, conflation  (on internet).

           T6O1 Cuch, T756 Bat, T533 Ahau, T683 Moon, T58O Jade,

            Homework: memorize definitions of: conflation/fusion, (glyph)

            collocation, glyph block, affix, main sign, logograph/logogram,

            phonetic sign, phonetic complement, syllable, pictograph, rebus,

            semantic determinative, overlapping, suppression, synharmony, and

            other concepts on pp. 1O-14 of packet.  

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 2, BOK 317-328, TAM Ch. 13         


Week 3   9/15, 9/17 PHONETICISM  Landa's alphabet, a syllabary  (another syllabary)

            (yet another syllabary).

evidence for phoneticism, rebus writing.  

T758 Xul, T67l Manik hand,  T757 Jog w/ cross, T669 Death fist, T52l Uinal             

           Homework:  using Thompson's catalog, pp. 32-45 of packet, assign

            T-numbers to the phonetic glyphs on pp. 47-50 of packet.               

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 2, BOK 41-62. TAM Ch. 13


Week 4  9/22, 9/24  THE TZOLKIN: CYCLE OF 26O DAYS

day names, meanings, day glyphs, origins. (Zapotec day glyphs)

            T585 Quincunx, T747 Vulture, T5O6 Kan, T539 Way, T75l Jaguar

            Homework Assignment: memorize the day names in order.

Do the problem assigned in class. (find 1st 2O glyphs --thru

            Week 4--on the Palenque Palace Tablet)

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 3., BOK Ch. 1., TAM Ch. 12  


Week 5   9/29, 10/1  THE HAAB: YEAR OF 365 DAYS month names,

           patrons, meanings, numbering, year bearers.  Calendar Round

            T573 Hel,T548 Tun Drum,T552 Crossed Bands, T565 Serpent Segment,

            T568 Sacrifice

            Homework Assignment: learn to assign year bearers to CR types. 

               Memorize month names in order.    

               Do the problem assigned in class (Make Tzolkin Chart, 1st

               vert. col. Imix-Ahau, second, nos. 1-2O and 1-13-7, third,

               nos. 21-4O and 8-13-1).

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 4., BOK Ch. 2., TAM Ch. 12   


Week 6  10/6, 10/8   NUMBERS  bars and dots, head variants, symbolic

            variants, completion, twenty, positional notation, counting,

            numerical classifiers, addition, subtraction.     (numbers)

            T586Hatched dot,T644 Seating,T5lO Lamat-Venus,T764Chicchan

              snake, T667 Inverted fist.

            Homework Assignment:memorize criterial features of numeral

               head variants.

               Do the problems assigned in class. (problem 1)

            Suggested Reading:  MHW Ch. 5, BOK Ch. 3., TAM Ch. 12   


Week 7   10/13, 10/15 THE LONG COUNT  names and glyphs of periods,

            long count starting points, ISIG, ruler of I.S. months, calculations,

            lunar series.   T7l3 Flat hand, T684 Toothache, T5O7 Spotted Kan,

            T617 *Mirror,  T74O Upended frog.         

            Movie Thursday 10/15 at UGL Audiovisual 344:  Sacred Games

                    (Vidcass 1812  UGLAVC)  

            Homework assignment:  do the problems assigned in class.

             Memorize names and number of days of periods (kin, uinal, tun,

               katun, baktun)

            Suggested Reading: BOK Ch. 4., TAM Ch. 12 


Week 8    10/20, 10/22   DISTANCE NUMBERS  period arrangement,

           suppression of Kin glyph, anterior and posterior (date) indicators,

           calculations, Katun glyph, Baktun glyph.

            T5l3 Muluc, T67O Hand w/ glyph in angle, T563 Fire, T672 Fire fist,

            T5l5 Muluc burden

            Homework assignment:  Problems to be assigned in class.

            Suggested Reading:  BOK Ch. 5., TAM Ch. 12    




            emblem glyphs (on internet), place names, dedication, name-tagging, T. of Cross.

            CR interval problems (Probs. 2 handout) (plaza-nab, stela-tree, pyramid-mountain)

    (Olmec Portal)

            T769 Black Hole, Emblem glyphs for Palenque, Tikal, Yaxchilan

            (2), Quirigua, and Bonampak

            Homework assignment: CR interval problems to be assigned in class

            Suggested Reading: BOK Ch. 6;  TAM  Ch. 11; and "Some aspects of

            the sacred geography of Highland Chiapas" pp. 119-142 of E.P. Benson

           (ed.) Mesoamerican Sites and World-views.



            sacred landscape; ball game (court as nab);  relationship glyphs (on internet). 

            Tablet of the Cross.

            T614 Thatch, T679 Forward, T5O4 Akbal, T28l Kan cross, T738 Fish,

            T1O14  God N

            Homework Assignment: Do the problem assigned in class.

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 6, BOK Ch. 7., TAM Ch. 4     



            birth, heir designation, accession, death, burial, bloodletting

            (p. 108, 149, 151), scattering (162), war, capture, torture  (various verbs on internet);  

            Tablet of Cross.

            T58 *White, T59 *Ti, T6O *Knot, Tl8l *a, T1 *u, T87 *Te,

            T114 *Xi

            Homework assignment:  problem to be assigned in class (find

               glyphs on the Stela to be handed out, that we've covered).

               Read Furst, "Fertility, vision quest and autosacrifice..."  (packet);

   Stross, "The Burden of Office".

            Suggested Reading: MHW Ch. 7, BOK Ch. 8 , TAM Ch. 5



            direction glyphs (on internet); dance glyph (p. 97, 98);   titles  (on internet):

           T. of Cross . 

           T743 Turtle, T6l2 Men semblant, T5l8 Muluc variant,

            T765 Black spotted dog,  T516a Dance          

            Movie Thursday 11/19 UGL Audiovisual 344:  Appeals to Santiago  

                    (Movie 10,273  UGLAVC)

            Homework assignment:  problem to be assigned in class (draw

              emblem glyph lines (from the EG's p.31, to the sites on the

              map). Read Stross, "Classic Maya Directional Glyphs" (packet)

            Suggested Reading: TAM 6, 7 


Week l3   11/24, (Thanksgiving) THE PRIMARY STANDARD SEQUENCE

            substitutions, meanings, homophones, symbolism.    (maya vessel)

            T13O *Wa, T23 *Na, T178 *La, T25 *Ka, T188 *Le, T74 *Ma,

            T116 *Sun tail, T44 *To,  T6O7 *Ho

            Homework assignment:  can you find the PSS in this early inscription.

               Read Stross, "Glyphs on Classic Maya Vessels" (packet);

            Suggested Reading: Bricker, "The Calendrical Meaning of Ritual

               among the Maya" (in Bricker and Gossen (eds.) Ethnographic

               Encounters in Southern Mesoamerica pp. 231-249); TAM Ch 8-10.


Week l4   12/1, 12/3   TECHNIQUES OF DECIPHERMENT 

            structural analysis (p. 173, 174), evidence, data, presentation,

            resources; crayfish and Olmec antecedents, sacrum, sky and earth. 

            Classic Maya lexical innovations,

            T168 *Ahpo, T673 Hand w/ Crossed bands, T115 *Yo, T18 *Yi,

T117 *Wi,  T177 *Pi,  T16 *Green, T1O9 *Red, T95 *Black,

            T11O *Ko  

            Homework assignment:  Read Stross, "The Man in the Maw" (packet).

            Suggested Reading: D. Kelley, Deciphering the Maya Script Ch. l2:

                 F. Lounsbury "On the derivation and reading of the 'Ben-Ich' 

                 prefix." in  E.P. Benson (ed.)  Mesoamerican Writing Systems 

    pp.  99-143.  David Stuart, "Ten phonetic syllables"

    (Center for Maya Research, Report #14)



A Midterm and a Final exam plus one or more quizzes.  The Final will count twice as much as the Midterm and will include materials tested on the midterm.  The Midterm will cover materials through the seventh week.   The Final will be comprehensive.



Mesoweb    outstanding website


Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop Online    P. Matthews and M. Zender

Minnesota Museum Maya Adventure

Kevin Callahan's Mesoamerican Writing pages

Calendars in general, with a little on Maya calendars   good links on Maya & script

K'inal Winik links

Maya links (archaeology, maps, etc.)

Ancient Mesoamerican Scripts

Michael Carrasco's Website

James Porter's Website  

Maya Maps;term:mayan%20hieroglyphics  Stock pictures of Maya hieroglyphs

and associations   pics of Maya art



Maya Epigraphy Links


Department Page