4 Ajaw 18 Mak (December 15, 2017): The Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program

4 Ajaw 18 Mak. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara

As we enter into the holiday season at the end of the year, we find that today’s date, 4 Ajaw, recalls both the auspicious Long Count Era Base date of 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, and the culmination 13 Bak’tuns in December of 2012, already almost five years ago now. We have completed the very first Hotun of the New Era.

Firstly, I wanted to fully recognize all of the members of the PLFM Team on Ancient Maya Writing, who have successfully organized and carried out four Pre-Congreso events this year!

  • Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj
  • Ajpub’ Pablo García
  • Saqijix Candelaria Ixcoy
  • Hector Xol Choc
  • María Beatriz Par

The final Pre-Congreso took place in Comitán, Chiapas late last month, and we look forward to reporting back to you about it in a future post.

Next, I would like to thank all of those who generously donated to our first #GivingTuesday fund drive! We appreciate all of your kind hearted support as we prepare for many exciting events in the coming year.

Later this month, I will be heading to Antigua, Guatemala to meet with the PLFM team to help coordinate our efforts for the coming year. Following this, in early January, I will be working together with Ernesto and Aurora Saqui, Manuel Bolon, and Felicita Cantun to host a Maya Writing Workshop for 16 participants in Maya Centre, Belize. I am looking forward to a productive start to the New Year!

This month, I would like to present an exciting report from events in the field in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer reports back to us about the colorful Public Exposition and Demonstration of Maya Hieroglyphic Writing by Maya Primary School Teachers of the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program.

From all of us at MAM, I wish you all a wonderful holiday, and a Happy New Year!

Yum Bo’otik,
Michael J. Grofe, President

Report from the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

I present to you the report of activities carried out in the month of March of 2017 with a group of 25 Mayan language teachers of the Ko’one’ex Kanik Maaya Program of the State of Yucatán, who learned about Mayan glyphs in order to teach about them in the primary schools where they work, as well as photographs documenting these activities.

In March, there were two separate activities: the “Exhibition and Public Demonstration of Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing” and a “Mayan Glyph Workshop.

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3 Ajaw 18 Sak (November 5, 2017): The First Pre-Congreso

3 Ajaw 18 Sak. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

The First Pre-Congreso: Expanding the Reach of the Hieroglyphic Renaissance

This month, as we remember all those dearly departed we have lost, and as the full moon rises high to the zenith above the Maya world, I wanted to celebrate a shining light of new undertakings this year by publishing a detailed report from Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj, the Executive Director of the Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín, regarding the First Pre-Congreso of Ancient Maya Writing that took place this past July 11-14 in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. This was the first of four such events in 2017 designed to reach out to additional Maya communities who have not yet taken part in the revitalization of the hieroglyphic script. This first event in Cobán was able to reach speakers of ten different Mayan languages, while two additional pre-Congreso events in Huehuetenango and Takalik Abaj followed in October, reaching out to additional Maya communities and teachers. This first event, along with an upcoming event to take place this month in Chiapas, was supported in part by MAM, with much thanks to our generous supporters, along with the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala, the Guatemala Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, and the PLFM.

While MAM was regretfully unable to fund all of these new events, we are very glad to have been able to lend our support where our budget allows, and we are thrilled to see our Maya colleagues organizing and procuring funding for these larger events, with the admirable goal of reaching additional Maya communities. We will be working together with the PLFM among others to invite all of these new Maya teachers to apply for our next round of mini-grants, and we hope to meet them all at the next International Congreso next summer! We applaud the wonderful hard work of Juan Guarchaj, Ajpub’ Pablo García, and our many May colleagues who are seeking to connect together the many different international Maya language communities through the shared heritage of the Maya hieroglyphic script.

This December and January, I am planning a trip to Guatemala and Belize, where I am helping to organize a workshop for Belizean Maya Aj Tz’iib’, and working with our various Maya colleagues to plan for the upcoming Congreso and the coming years ahead. I am looking forward to the trip, and to reporting back to all of you with news of our future plans.


Michael J. Grofe, President MAM

First Pre-Congreso of Ancient Maya Writing
Coban – Alta Verapaz / July 11, 12, 13 and 14, 2017

Chak’ama’ jun rutzil awach, kweye’j chi ri loq’olaj Uk’u’x Kaj Uk’u’x Ulew katutewechi ́j, xuquje’ kuk’am ub’e’al ucholajil ri nimalaj chak patan kab’an pa kiwi’ ri e qawinaqil. (K’iche’ Maya Language). Please receive a brotherly greeting, hoping that the Creator and Shaper is pouring blessings and positive energies upon you, in the same way that guides you in each of your activities that you perform to strengthen the actions you take in the guidance of your position.

The Foundation PLFM Francisco Marroquín Linguistic Project, and the
Pre-Congreso Workshop Commission of 2017 would like to present to MAM our deep appreciation for the financial support shown in the execution of the First Pre-Congreso Workshop for Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ held on 11, 12, 13 and 14 of July in Cobán, Alta Verapaz. We would like to present our narrative and financial report, with satisfaction from the participants, especially as they have achieved the objectives set out in promoting this practice of raising awareness of Maya-speakers towards a critical thinking in the discussion of proposals and alternatives in the vindication of culture, at the same time on the part of the participants taking a commitment to promote and spread the culture focused on ensuring the recovery and use of knowledge, because only by knowing our past and present reality can we contribute to our future.

We value the support of other state entities such as the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Academy of Mayan Languages of Guatemala, united in a single goal we have been able to carry out this task, which is reflected in our report; At the same time we take the opportunity to request the use of a portion of the remaining funds for the next workshop, and continue to count on your support in the realization of the other workshops to be held this year. We hope to hear from you regarding any of your concerns, assuming your availability for any communication and/or extension to this report.

From the Organizing Committee
Ojer Maya Tz’iib’

Juan Rodrigo Guarchaj
Executive Director of the PLFM
Coordinator of the Workshop

Group of participants in the event, from different Mayan linguistic communities.

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2 Ajaw 18 Ch’en (September 26, 2017): Creativity, Calendrics, and the Maya Script throughout the Mundo Maya

2 Ajaw 18 Ch’en. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Our hearts go out to our friends in Chiapas, Mexico City, the United States and the Caribbean who have been dealing with the devastation and aftermath of the multiple earthquakes and hurricanes, and to all of those affected by these tragedies. Due to the earthquake in Chiapas, the Pre-Congreso event scheduled for September 23-25 has had to be postponed until November, and we wish all the best to our Maya colleagues for a rapid recovery and a successful event.

This month, I have decided to highlight four of our mini-grant recipients since we have received so many reports back from the field this year, and I would like to celebrate as many of our mini-grant recipients as I can. These workshops, which took place in Chiapas, Yucatan, and Guatemala, are an excellent representation of the range of projects made possible by the generous support of our donors. Immersed in the use of the Maya hieroglyphic script and the calendar, students in these workshops throughout the Mundo Maya produced beautiful works of art, while also learning to read, write and perform calendrical calculations in the writing system of their ancestors.

Thank you to all of our new subscribers!! Please note that our direct donation page is now up and running. There are no transaction fees, and you can choose either a one-time donation or a repeating monthly donation of your choice:


Batz’i kolaval,
Yum bo’otik,
Sib’alaj maltiyoox,
Gracias de Corazon,
Michael J. Grofe, President

Introduction to the Mayan Hieroglyphic Script in Oxchujk, Chiapas

Martín Gómez Kontsal

Working with a group of 25 Tzeltal students from the Universidad Intercultural de Chiapas, together with the Casa de Cultura, Martín Gómez Kontsal led a workshop on the history and origins of Maya writing in June of 2017, with the objective of having the students understand and use the Maya script for the purposes of writing in contemporary Tzeltal. Working in teams, the students were thoroughly instructed on the use of the Maya syllabary, and they produced beautiful, large, full-color glyph blocks for each of the family lineage names that originate in Oxchujk. Martín plans to lead another similar workshop for primary school children in Oxchujk in the near future.

Martín reports:

To identify, treasure, and transmit the codes that make up our original culture, threatened by national culture and globalization, are some of the main tasks that writers and researchers must fulfill.

“Working in teams is derived from the concept of community, our community.”

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1 Ajaw 18 Yaxk’in (August 17, 2017): Tojolab’al Students revive Ancient Maya Writing

1 Ajaw 18 Yaxk’in. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Tojolab’al Students revive Ancient Maya Writing in las Margaritas, Chiapas

On this auspicious day, we celebrate the day 1 Ajaw, the namesake of the Hero Twin Hunahpu in the Popol Vuh, and the day commemorating the rebirth of Venus as Morning Star in the Dresden Codex Venus Table. Hunahpu willingly sacrificed himself in the fires of Xibalbá, and some say he became the sun itself, like the Central Mexican Nanahuatzin, who gives his light and his life so that all things can live—a true act of generosity. Some say he is akin to the self-sacrificing Quetzalcoatl, whose heart becomes the planet Venus, much as the planet itself appears to dive into the fiery sun in the evening sky, only to valiantly reappear several days later as the Morning Star.

While the reappearance of Venus in the morning took place back in March of this year, the brilliant planet is still visible as Morning Star on this day, and we are now just four days from a remarkable total solar eclipse—yet another focus of both the Dresden Venus Table, and the Lunar Table that follows it in that incredible Postclassic document, distilled from many generations of Maya observers. This sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, and the profound, symbolic stories which were used to instruct and educate on multiple levels, are examples of the rich cultural and scientific achievements of the Maya which deserve our deepest respect and recognition.

Knowledge of Maya writing and astronomy was almost completely destroyed by the fires of ignorance some 500 years ago, and for too long it has remained relatively untaught and uncelebrated in classrooms throughout the world—especially in classes of young Maya students. Thankfully, that is all starting to change. We at MAM uphold the importance of celebrating and disseminating the knowledge of the achievements of the Maya past, and helping Maya teachers who are passionately working with their students to help them learn the writing of their ancestors.

In the spirit of generosity, and celebration this month, we report back from the field from Tojolab’al students in las Margaritas, Chiapas with a report from K’anal Ajpub’ Santiz—who likewise takes her namesake from this day! Though this workshop took place almost one year ago, we are still catching up with receiving and publishing reports from some of the thirty mini-grants we have granted over the past year, and we hope to be able to publish as many of these reports as we can to acknowledge the excellent work of as many of our mini-grant recipients as possible.

Furthermore, K’anal Ajpub’ Santiz will be coordinating another pre-Congreso event that we are helping to support, scheduled to take place in Chiapas in September of this year. The purpose of this event will be to work with Chontal, Tzotzil, Tojolob’al, and Tz’eltal speakers who have not yet participated in the revitalization of the hieroglyphic script. If you would like to help contribute your support for events such as this, please visit our donation page where we have now initiated a monthly subscribership. We invite you to become a sustaining member of MAM, and we thank you for all of your generous support!


Ts’akatalex and Gracias de Corazon,

Michael J. Grofe, President

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13 Ajaw 18 Sek (July 8, 2017): New Beginnings and the CAPEMAYAXTUN

13 Ajaw 18 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

New Beginnings and the CAPEMAYAXTUN: Centro de Aprendizaje de La Escritura Maya “Yaxtun”

This month, we have many new announcements to report! Our treasured Treasurer, Al Meador, has retired. Al has worked with MAM since the very beginning, and we thank him for his many years of tireless service on behalf of Maya communities.

As of June 1st, we are pleased to announce that we have brought Sue Glenn back on board to fill the position of Treasurer, and Sue brings with her a great enthusiasm to facilitate some of the changes that are currently taking place, as our Maya colleagues expand their outreach efforts to reach additional Maya communities who have not yet participated in the revitalization of their ancestral script.

This July 11-13, there will be the first of several proposed pre-Congreso events to take place throughout the Mundo Maya in preparation for the upcoming Congreso next year. This first event will take place in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, and it is designed to instruct Maya teachers from Q’eqchi ‘, Poqomchi’, Sakapulteko, Uspanteko, Achi, Ixil, Mopán, Itzaj, and Ch’orti language communities who have not yet had access to resources and instruction concerning the Maya hieroglyphic script. Organized by members of the PLFM and supported in part by MAM, this event inaugurates a new chapter in our collective efforts to help Maya teachers and students reconnect with their history. Continue reading

12 Ajaw 18 Sip (May 29, 2017): The Cobá Áayin K’uj Stela

12 Ajaw 18 Sip. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

The Cobá Áayin K’uj Stela and the vulnerability of new Maya monuments

On this Memorial Day, I would like to both celebrate the incredible work of Luis May Ku and the construction of the beautiful Áayin K’uj (Crocodile God) Stela, which he created to commemorate the “21 de Marzo” Primary School in Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico. After a year of hard work, dedication, and planning, this beautiful work of art was unveiled this past March 21st, to celebrate the school’s anniversary and the first day of spring.

The exquisitely sculpted monument depicts the wise, old anthropomorphic Crocodile God on one side, celebrating an important ancient Maya deity and the local reptilian inhabitants of the Laguna Cobá. The reverse side contains a full Long Count and dedicatory text, with each ceramic glyph lovingly sculpted and individually fired in a kiln. The unveiling of the monument was celebrated with a ritual ceremony in which the children of Cobá participated. Here are some photographs of the event, and the beautiful stela, decorated with mosaic tile.

Luis May Ku and the Maya children of Cobá unveil the Áayin K’uj Stela on March 21st.

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11 Ajaw 18 Pop (April 19, 2017): Congratulations to the Mini-Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the 15 MAM Mini-Grant Recipients!!

Map of locations where mini-grant recipients are located

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we are pleased to announce the recipients of fifteen newly awarded Mini-grants:

1) José Alfredo Hau Caamal and Erika Evangelina Puc Ay, March 4, 11 and 18.
Hunukú Temozón Yucatán (Ek Balam): Yucatec.

Workshop on epigraphy for 24 1st graders and 22 2nd graders in Ek’ Balam.

2) Milner Rolando Pacab Alcocer, March 15 and April 14.
Mérida, Yucatan: Yucatec.

2 Intermediate workshops for 25 students, ages 20-30 years.

3) Gregorio Hau Caamal, March 17 – April 21.
Chemax, Yucatan: Yucatec.

6 2-hour intermediate workshops on Maya epigraphy for 31 students of Universidad de Oriente.

4) Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub and Marina Rosales López, March 18-19.
Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Q’eqchi.

Proposal for two-day workshop for Maya spiritual guides. 40 men and women, ages 30-60 years.

5) Victor Maquin, March 18-19.
El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala: Q’eqchi’.

2-day introductory and intermediate workshop for 35 Maya teachers.

6) Mateo Ajualip Rodriguez, March 23-April 27.
Cubulco, Joyabaj Quiche, Rabinal, San Miguel Chicaj, Salamá, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala: Achí, K’iche’.

5 workshops for 20 primary school teachers each, with distribution of 100-page manual, containing the methodology for teaching Maya writing.

7) Victor Mazun Tec, March 31-April 2.
Yaxunah, Yaxcabá, Yucatán: Yucatec.

3-day workshop on basic Maya writing for 6 children and 8 young students.

8) Gloria Nayeli Tun Tuz, April 6-July 19.
Chichimilá, Yucatán, Mexico: Yucatec.

2 hour glyph workshop, 3 times per week for three months for 20 young students.

9) Augusto Tul Rax, April 9 and 23.
Santa Cruz Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Poqomchi.

2 intermediate workshops for 40 adolescent and adult students.

10) Clemente Peneleu González, April 20.
San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala: Tz’utujil.

Introductory calendar workshop for 20 young students.

11) Pedro Geovi Toledo, May 6.
Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala: Q’anjobal.

1 day intermediate epigraphy workshop for 30 young men and women.

12) Luis Manuel May Ku, May-June.
Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico: Yucatec.

Proposal to build a stela,15 students, ages 10-12 years.

13) Leonel Pacay Rax, June 10 and 17.
Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: Q’eqchi.

2 8-hour workshops for 30 children and young people, both introductory and intermediate.

14) Juana Laura Pérez Ruiz, Dates flexible upon approval.
Zinacantán, Chiapas, México: Tzotzil.

2 hour introductory workshop, 2 days per week, 84 hours total (5 months) for 20 alumni of UNICH, ages 18-24.

15) Domingo Meneses Méndez, September 25-29.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico: Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Ch’ol, Tojolabal.

We are very proud to be able to help support the hard work of so many Maya teachers and students who are relearning the script of their ancestors. Along with thanking all of our continuous support from our donors and our Board of Directors, I would also like to thank the other members of the Executive Committee and the MAM blog team for donating their time and energy to make our work possible. MAM has no offices, no salaried employees, and no overhead. We really are a lean running organization. Except for Xoom transfer fees and occasional postage, all of what comes in from our donors in support of these Mini-grants goes directly to our Maya colleagues, and they use the funds with amazing creativity. I am very proud of the work that we do, and the amazing work of our Maya colleagues!

Michael J, Grofe, President

10 Ajaw 3 Kumk’u (March 10, 2017): A New Curriculum

10 Ajaw 3 Kumk’u. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

A New Curriculum—Teaching Maya History, Calendrics and Writing in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

We are happy to report that we received many applications for our latest round of mini-grants! As we review the applications and make our final decisions, we wanted to continue to publish the reports from the good work of some of our previous recipients.

This month, we publish a report from Marina Rosales López and Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub, who led a colorful, introductory workshop last October on Maya writing and calendrics in Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The workshop was designed for Q’eqchi’ y Poqomchi’ teachers and graduates of the Magisterio de Educación Infantil Bilingüe Intercultural. We are very grateful to be able to support the work of these dedicated teachers who are doing the important work of bringing a deeper appreciation and understanding of Maya history, writing, and calendrics into the national curriculum in Guatemala.

In our upcoming blog on April 19, we will be announcing the next recipients of this year’s mini-grants. Please stay tuned!

Michael J. Grofe, President

Report on the Introductory Level Epigraphy Workshop, October 14, 2016, Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.

I. General information

Name of the event: “Induction on the History, Calendar and Ancient Mayan Writing” aimed at teachers and undergraduates of Magisterio de Educación Infantil Bilingüe Intercultural.
Place: Normal Joint North Institute “ERP”, Cobán 
October 14, 2016, (waqib ‘Aj).
Participants: 30 participants (18 women and 12 men)
Hours: double day (8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Facilitators: Mario Sebastián Caal Jucub and Marina Rosales López. Continue reading

9 Ajaw 3 Pax (January 29, 2017): Writing Our Names in the Earth

9 Ajaw 3 Pax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Writing Our Names in the Earth: 
Workshop on Ancient Maya Writing in Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala
Today is 9 Ajaw, and it has now been exactly one Tzolk’in since the Tercer Congreso International de Escritura Jeroglífica Maya, and this month, we are publishing the report from a workshop led by Mateo Ajualip Rodriguez in the Achí community of Cubulco, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. To conclude his workshop, Mateo had his thirty participants carve their names into clay using the Maya script.
I would also like to take this occasion to thank all of those who donated in our holiday fund drive, and to announce that we will once again be accepting applications for mini-grants on March 1st!

We look forward to funding more workshops like this one, which bring together Maya people from multiple communities to learn and study the writing of their ancestors. We also appreciate Mateo’s insights and recommendations for the future as we work together towards our shared goals.

Michael J. Grofe, President

Maya Epigraphy Workshop Report

September 22, 2016
Cubulco, Baja Verapaz
Mateo Ajualip Rodríguez

INTRODUCTION Continue reading

8 Ajaw 3 Kank’in (December 20, 2016): Happy Holidays

5 Ajaw 3 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear Friends,

From all of us here at MAM, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday!

This season, we invite you to make a difference in the lives of an entire Maya community by considering the gift of Maya writing, history, and cultural pride.

We are excited to be inaugurating our Minigrant program for 2017, and we hope you will join us in supporting Maya teachers and students in their important work of teaching and learning the Maya hieroglyphic script of their ancestors.

The season of giving is here, and as we are nearing the end of the year, your tax-deductible donations will help up to kick-start our New Year! Simply click the “donate” link below.

Thanks to the generous support of all of our donors this past year, we were able to help support the Third International Conference of Maya Hieroglyphic Writing in El Remate, Guatemala, as well as funding thirteen workshops in Maya communities, speaking over eight Mayan languages! Still, there were many more applications that we were unable to support. Help us reach our goal of reaching as many Maya communities this year as we can!

Thank you for all of your support!

Michael J. Grofe, President

Your generous donation of $200 will fund an entire workshop for 30 Maya students!

Your gift of $100 will provide notebooks and resources for 30 Maya students. 

Your gift of $50 will provide lunches for 30 Maya students. 

Your gift of $25 will provide writing materials for 30 Maya students.