10 Ajaw 13 Yaxk’in (August 12, 2018): Report on the Fourth International Congreso

10 Ajaw 13 Yaxk’in. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

As the sun reaches its second zenith at the latitude of Copán, possibly the intended, back-calculated date of the 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u “creation” and the base of the Long Count, we reflect on the renewal of the world, and the revitlization of the Ojer Maya Tz’ib’—Ancient Maya Writing. It has now been one month since the Fourth International Congreso on Ancient Maya Writing took place in Huehuetenango, and I would like to once again thank all of you who helped to support this event. It was a profound and life-changing event for many of those involved, including myself, and it was a great honor to be able to participate. This month, I would like to publish an excerpt from the report on the event by Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj, the Executive Director of the Proyecto Lingüistico Franciso Marroquin (PLFM), the principal organizers of the event.

This year, the organizers requested to have multiple epigraphers come to present some of their research in a format similar to that of the Maya Meetings at the University of Texas, and to have us team up to teach the various workshops in three levels. We were very fortunate to have Barbara MacLeod, Nick Hopkins, Gerardo Aldana, and Christopher Powell help out.

Thank you all for your ongoing commitment to helping Maya people learn to read and write in the hieroglyphic script of their ancestors. It is making a world of difference in the lives of many Maya people.

Michael J. Grofe, President

Group of Participants, Instructors, and Team Organizers.

Report on the Fourth International Congreso on Ojer Maya Tz’ib’, 2018, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Submitted on behalf of the PLFM team,
Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj
Executive Director, Fundación PLFM.
La Antigua, Guatemala, July 16, 2018.

Campus San Roque González de Santa Cruz, S. J., Universidad Rafael Landívar. Huehuetenango, Guatemala

July 2-6, 2018.

Institutions Responsible
PLFM and Mayas for Ancient Mayan 

Number of Participants
Introductory Level: 32 participants
Intermediate Level: 24 participants
Advanced Level: 24 participants

Introductory Level: Michael Grofe and Christopher Powell
Intermediate Level: Gerardo Aldana and Nicholas Hopkins
Advanced Level: Barbara MacLeod

Maya Languages Represented
K’iche’, Achi, Mam, Uspanteko, Sakapulteko, Q’eqchi’, Popti’, Ixil, Yukateko, Mopan, Ch’orti’, Tz’utujil, Kaqchikel, Tojol-ab’al, Ch’ol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil.

Planning, Coordination, and Execution/PLFM Team

  • Saqijix Candelaria López
  • Beatriz Par Sapón
  • Ajpub’ Pablo García
  • Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj
  • Héctor Xol Choc

The Fourth International Congreso on Ojer Maya’ Tz’ib’ (or ancient Maya script in Mayan K’iche’ language) is the continuity of international congresses held in previous years. For this purpose, renowned experts in the study of the tz’ib’ system were invited, as well as the contributions they have given in this field to give workshops and give lectures related to the theme of the International Congreso.

For the fourth time, it was possible to gather a large number of Mayan speakers of different Mayan languages, for which a selection of them had to be made according to their commitment reflected in the promotion, dissemination and practice of Maya writing, in accordance also with the criteria and profiles defined by an interdisciplinary team in the three previous international congresses throughout Mesoamerica. Likewise, a certain number of selected Maya participated in the pre-congreso events held in 2017 that aimed to introduce the participants to the knowledge of the tz’ib ‘system. In the same way, participants were selected who have participated in previous conferences, and who have replicated in their communities the knowledge acquired through workshops or the practice of the system in question.

For this Fourth Congress three levels of participation were organized: Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced levels, in which it was determined to develop the theme “The Creation” from a focus on literature with the Tz’ib ‘system. The venue of the event was supported by the Headquarters of the Rafael Landívar San Roque González University of Santa Cruz, S. J. of the city of Huehuetenango, having given sufficient accommodations to develop the event. On behalf of the authorities, the use of the equipped classrooms was allowed, as well as a lecture hall for the respective presentations, as well as for the opening and closing activities.

We are confident in having successfully achieved the participation of the guests as well as the objectives set and the involvement of Maya from the Mesoamerican territory, women and men both, in the introductory level, as well as in the intermediate and advanced levels of the tz’ib’ system, as well as the content of Mayan pre-invasion Spanish literature.

Following up on these events, it has been agreed to hold the next Mesoamerican Congress event in another city outside of Guatemala with the intention of decentralizing it to other places, as well as being executed in a nearby place with predominance of Mayan speakers who have had little access to these events, with this intention is given the opportunity to another group of interested people and places. 

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