Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop
75th Anniversary, Institute of Archaeology 2012


Sign up for a one-day introduction to ancient Maya culture or a two-day workshop on Maya hieroglyphic writing

Friday 19th September
  • Evening Lecture - Introduction to Maya culture & writing

Choose between a 1-day Study Day:

Saturday 20th September
General Workshop: Introduction to ancient Maya culture:
  • Morning Introductory Session - Short presentations and activities on Maya culture, Maya cities, trade and travel, the calendar...and more
  • Afternoon Workshops - Maya art, plants, foods and farming, and chocolate

These sessions are intended for the general public with no previous knowledge of Maya culture and also for teachers.

or choose one of the 2-day Maya hieroglyphics workshops:

Saturday 20th - Sunday 21st September
Glyph Workshops - Choose from Beginner, Intermediate, or our special Ballgame Workshop
  • Beginner's Workshop - Mads Jorgensen - 'Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphic Writing'
  • Our understanding of ancient Maya culture relies heavily on the information drawn from elite sponsored hieroglyphic texts which provide an unparalleled window into the past. The ability to read what the Maya wrote about their affairs in this highly elaborate script is both intriguing and captivating, but also of considerable importance for anyone interested in Maya culture.

    The participants of this workshop will take a first step down this exciting path through an intensive introduction to the study and decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs. After completing this two day workshop, participants will have some understanding of the basic structure of Maya texts, be able to identify verbs, titles, and name phrases, decipher simple calendric information, and much more.

    No previous experience in Maya culture, ancient scripts, or linguistics is required to attend this workshop.

  • Intermediate Workshop - Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki): 'Ancient Maya Warfare'
  • For those with a basic understanding of Maya hieroglyphic writing and the Maya calendar.

  • This workshop focuses on armed conflicts in the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period, based primarily on epigraphic records. During the workshop, participants will examine texts from various sites in the area, including Caracol, Dos Pilas, Naranjo, Palenque and Tikal. Besides epigraphic evidence, ancient Maya warfare will also be approached from the viewpoints of other sources and disciplines, such as archaeology, iconography, and military sciences.
  • Ballgame Workshop - Christophe Helmke and Ramzy Barrois: "There are More Things in Heaven and Earth": An Overview of the Mesoamerican Ballgames

    Ever wondered which team won the Maya Cup of A.D. 627? Participants in this workshop will discover the mysteries of America's first favourite pastime. Drs. Helmke and Barrois will introduce ballcourts, ballplayer's gear, and the division of teams. In addition, we will also introduce the mythology surrounding the ballgame, discuss the basic concepts and the many variations of the Mesoamerican ballgame, clearing up some common misconceptions of the sport along the way. We will focus on Maya culture and take tangential tours to other parts of Mesoamerica, such as the culture of Mexico's Gulf Coast, Oaxaca and the central Mexican highlands. The workshop will consist of lectures on selected topics and participants with previous workshop experience can work with hieroglyphic texts related to the ballgame. However, no prior knowledge of Mesoamerican cultures or Maya hieroglyphic writing are necessary, just enthusiasm and an interest in ancient sports. 

Sunday 21st September
  • Introduction to the Maya Screenfold Books - Gabrielle Vail

    • Maya screenfold books or codices were an important resource used by ritual specialists for a variety of purposes, including calendrical divination, scheduling agricultural and ritual events, and predicting solar and lunar eclipses and the movements of the stars and planets (viewed as deities by the ancient Maya). This workshop introduces participants to the content of the three (or possibly four) surviving Maya codices and explores the basics of the calendar system and the deities and activities represented. Workshop participants will learn to navigate the Maya Hieroglyphic Codices Database (, a key resource developed for use by teachers, the general public, and specialists in the fields of Maya studies to explore the world of ancient Maya people living in what is today the Yucatan peninsula.

(Please note: If you have registered for the General Workshop on Saturday, please let us know if you would like to attend this workshop as well (included in the ticket). If you would just like to attend this short workshop, please register on eventbrite)

Ancient Maya ballgame re-enactment at Uaxactun
Additional British Museum Talks!
  • Wednesday 10th September - Maya Writing at Copan
  • Saturday 13th September - Maya Art: The Rulers of Yaxchilan
  • Wednesday 17th September - The Mysteries of the Crystal Skull

Page last modified on 10 jul 14 20:41