Promoting ancient Maya culture and writing in the community of Waxaktuun (Uaxactun), Flores, Peten

2010 SAHI-Uaxactun field season

Aj Xol Ch’ok, Hector Rolando
Maya Q’eqchi’

Uaxactun community (photograph by Héctor Xol. 2010)

Tojo’aq xaq eere ex inxe’ intoonal wankex sa’ li loq’laj najteril tenamit Waxaktun. Tojo’aq xaq aj wi’ eere ex qamama’ qixa’an, ex qana’ qaawa’, ex was wiitz’in aj Waxaktuun. Chi hulaq ta xaq li tuqtuukilal ut cherilaq ta xaq hoon ut hulaj kab’ej li rusilal li loq’laj yu’amej.

We thank the ancestors who live withing this ancient sacred city of Uaxactun. We also thank you, grandmothers/grandfathers, mothers/fathers, elder and younger brethren of Uaxactun. May peace arrive and may you see today and in the future the good that lies in sacred life.

Thanks to the invitation I received from the SAHI-Uaxactun Archaeological Project’s Director, Milan Kováĉ, for the purpose of taking part in the 2010 field season in Uaxactun, Flores, Peten, some activities were carried out for the purpose of promoting Maya Tz’iib’ and Culture.

Involving the community in the knowledge of the work and studies it carries out is among the goals of Project SAHI-Uaxactun, as well as sharing the knowledge afforded by archaeology and epigraphy, among other disciplines.

This time, the National Institute for Basic Education via Tele-Secondary School was chosen to teach Maya Hieroglyphic Writing workshops and other cultural elements. During the 2010 season, from March to April, workshops were given to 43 students, ranging from Basic 1st. to Basic 3rd. levels. Archaeologists from the Uaxactun Project and some local tourist guides also attended talks concerning Maya epigraphy and culture.

Alumnos de 1º. Básico. (Fotografía: Hector Xol. 2010).
Resolviendo un ejercicio de Escritura Jeroglífica. (Fotografía: Hector Xol. 2010).

Results have been satisfactory since, thanks to the open-mindedness of the Institute’s teachers, it was possible to introduce students to the knowledge of ancient Maya writing, its use and practice. Work was also carried out regarding some cultural aspects, such as: Creation according to the Popol Wuj (using a video) and teaching the value of the Q’eqchi’ Maya language, which is spoken inside the community, among other activities.

Words written with tz’iib’ as part of the work carried out by students from the Basic Institute after the 2010 Season (Photo: Dave Schaefer. 2010).
Granting of acknowledgment certificates to students, at the end of the workshops (Photograph by Héctor Xol. 2010).

Archaeologists from the team attended talks concerning the basic aspects of hieroglyphic writing, calendrics, codices and Maya language.

Some tourist guides were also given introductory talks, so as to give them and introduction to Maya hieroglyphic writing; we are looking forward to supplementing these talks during the 2011 field season.

Another thing I did was assisting the team in charge of preparing rubbings of the Uaxactun stelae. This was especially relevant for me as a Maya, since I was seeing and reading the ancient texts left by our ancestors, as well as living among the energy of the individuals who once lived and interacted in that sacred space.

Preparing a rubbing of the last stela erected in Uaxactun (Photograph: Hector Xol. 2010).
Learning how to make rubbings of stelae with Dr. Tatiana, from Slovakia (Photograph: Hector Xol. 2010).

I would like to thank the people who made my participation in the project possible, as well as the SAHI-Uaxactun Team, for sharing their knowledge and experiences, especially its Director, Dr. Milan Kováĉ and its Co-director, Ernest Arredondo Leiva; I would also like to thank the Uaxactun community, the students of the Basic Institute, as well as the teachers and Principal.

Visiting the excavations with the team of archaeologists (Photograph: Hector Xol. 2010)

Also, my deepest thanks to Friends of the Maya, who have contributed and made a great effort in training me in Maya Epigraphy, especially at the 2010 Maya Meetings.