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.

7 Ajaw 3 Kej (November 10, 2016): Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ and Rub’ajnikil Tinamït Kaqchikel

7 Ajaw 3 Kej

7 Ajaw 3 Kej. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This month, Ajpub’ Pablo Garcia reports back to us about the excellent workshop he organized on Ancient Maya Writing for young Kaqchiquel and K’iche’ Maya leaders from villages surrounding Lake Atitlán.

In this time of uncertain change, I want our Maya friends to know that we continue to encourage and support them, and we hope to be able to once again initiate our next funding period for Mini-grants after exploring various funding strategies. In the meantime, we will be reporting back from the various workshops from our previous funding cycle.

All the best,
Michael Grofe, President

Workshop Report
Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ and Rub’ajnikil Tinamït Kaqchikel
Loq’olaj Q’ij Waq’i Kame’ Chuqa’ Wuqu’ Kej
(October 27 and 28, 2016)
by Ajpub’ Pablo García, Maya’ Tz’utujiil Winaq


Tz’oloy Ya’, the name of the municipality of the departmental head, has 16 municipalities on the shores of Lake Atitlán. The communities are made up of K’iche’, Tz’utujiil and Kaqchikel. This first workshop on Ojer Maya Tz’iib’ (Ancient Maya Writing) and Rub’ajnikil Maya’ Tinamït Kaqchikel was coordinated with the Indigenous Municipality of the Municipality of Tz’oloj Ya’. The young participants are leaders in their villages and hamlets, and each of them was selected by the same authorities of these communities. Reference was made to the profile of the participants and their active participation in their community regarding support in the search for protection of their territory and their identity. This workshop was held at the facilities of the Old Wheat Mill, a place dating back approximately 125 years, where we were kindly given space to partake of the Loq’olaj Ruwach’ulew (Nature). Continue reading

6 Ajaw 3 Yax (October 1, 2016): Report from Chichicastenango

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

3 Ajaw 3 Yax. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

We have just begun to hear back from some of the recipients of this year’s Mini-grants, and we feature below the report received from Iyaxel Ixkan Cojti Ren and the Sak Chuwen Group in Chichicastenango, who, together with archaeology student Leonardo Garcia, held an introductory epigraphy workshop for K’iche’ and Q’anjob’al speakers at the Rossbach Museum in Chichicastenango, Guatemala on September 17-18. Iyaxel has provided some wonderful photos of the event, along with a detailed report and helpful feedback about future events. Congratulations to Iyaxel, and thank you for the wonderful work you are doing in your community!

We also wanted to congratulate Daniela Esther Cano Chan from Maní, Yucatan for being awarded the very last Mini-grant of the season! We were not able to include this award at the time of the publication of the last blog.

In addition, this week Alfonso Escobedo, Sue Glenn, Nick Hopkins, Al Meador, Beth Spencer and Karon Winzenz from MAM will be present at the 10th Annual Maya at the Playa Conference in Palm Coast, Florida, held from September 29 to October 2. The organizers have generously allowed for MAM to have a table at the event, along with posters and descriptions of our work. For more information, please see: http://www.mayaattheplaya.com/

We look forward to posting more updates as we hear back from this year’s grantees and the many workshops being held throughout the remainder of the year. Stay tuned, and as we plan our fundraising strategy, we hope to be able to fund additional workshops in the near future!

Michael Grofe, President


Location: Rossbach Museum, Chichicastenango
Date: September 17 and 18
Participants: 22 people
Hours: 8 am to 4 pm
Responsible: Iyaxel Cojti, Sak Group Chuwen and Leonardo Garcia, a student of archeology. Continue reading

5 Ajaw 3 Mol (August 22, 2016): ¡Felicitaciones!

5 Ajaw 8 Mol. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

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

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of our MAM Mini-Grants this season!!!

Following the successful Congreso in May, we are pleased to be able to award Mini-Grants to the following individuals and the communities that they support. Our twelve recipients serve eleven communities, speaking over eight Mayan languages, and spanning three countries in the Mundo Maya.

MAM 2016 Mini-Grants Map Continue reading

4 Ajaw 3 Xul (July 13, 2016): U Yok Habil

4 Ajaw 3 Xul. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

4 Ajaw 3 Xul. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

Let me take this opportunity to announce that our blogs will now follow a schedule of every two winals or 40 days, so that the day Ajaw will remain the same, while the number of the day will advance by one. Floyd Lounsbury noted that the Jakaltek Maya refer to this as the “Steps of the Year” or U Yok Habil. Today’s date is 4 Ajaw 3 Xul, while the subsequent blog will follow on 5 Ajaw 3 Mol, August 22, followed by 6 Ajaw 3 Yax on October 1, etc. This gives us an easy progression to follow, while allowing ample time for our colleagues to report back from the field.

Today, the auspicious day of 4 Ajaw commemorates the same Tzolk’in day of the Long Count Era Base on 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u, mentioned with reverence throughout the inscriptions of the Classic Period as a day of renewal. Continue reading

10 Ajaw 3 Sek (June 23, 2016): Maltiox, Yum Bo’otik, and Gracias de Corazon

10 Ajaw 3 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

10 Ajaw 3 Sek. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

As the newly inaugurated president of MAM, this will be my first blog posting, and I wanted to begin by thanking all of our many donors for their generous contributions to help support the Tercer Congreso International de Escritura Jeroglífica Maya. It was a great honor to attend the Congreso last month, and I was especially moved to meet and become friends with so many Maya people who are doing such wonderful work.

Ojer Maya Tz'ib' banner

Ojer Maya Tz’ib’ banner

They are all incredibly grateful for the work we do on their behalf at MAM, and they were very welcoming and hopeful about the future. I was honored not only with the passing of the Jade Celt from Bruce Love—a beautiful replica of the Leiden Plaque—but also with a beautiful stela made by Miguel Jiménez Guzmán, and so many good wishes and congratulations. Continue reading

9 Ajaw 3 Sip (May 14, 2016): Farewell Address

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

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

Dear Readers,

As I compose my last blog and prepare to pass the presidential mantle of MAM, you will forgive me if I wax a little personal.

In 1968, I read that the “Maya Race” was descended from the lost continent of Atlantis, and I believed it. In 1973, I read of extraterrestrial visitations to Mesoamerica in The Chariots of the Gods, and I believed it. While rough-necking on oil platforms in the North Sea, I visited the British Museum and bought Eric Thompson’s Maya Hieroglyphs Without Tears and Michael Coe’s The Maya and dreamed of visiting the ancient cities, so I did.

In 1974, my wife and I and our two-year-old son left California in a four-wheel-drive with diving gear to search for Atlantis and we spent six months in Yucatan and Belize, visiting Guatemala and Oaxaca and many other points in between. I didn’t find Atlantis but I did find Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tikal and so much more, and so in 1975, back in California, I went back to school as an undergrad at UCLA, majored in Anthropology, and began my academic career where they educated all that Atlantis and extra-terrestrial stuff out of me (for the most part).

In 1975, I was on my first dig at Rio Amarillo in Honduras. Glyphs have always been my focus, but happily my work includes ethnography and history. I recall quite vividly receiving a very powerful intuitional message while working on my dissertation, I think in 1984, “bring the glyphs back to the Mayas.” It rocked me.

The author in 1975, Rio Amarillo, Honduras

The author in 1975, Rio Amarillo, Honduras

Continue reading

2 Ajaw 3 Wo (April 24, 2016): One winal to go!

2 Ajaw 3 Wo. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

2 Ajaw 3 Wo. Drawing by Jorge Pérez de Lara.

One winal to go!

For any of our readers who might possibly not know what a winal is, it is a twenty-day period in the Maya calendar. You may have noticed that all our blogs occur on the day Ajaw, the twentieth day of a cycle of twenty days (the “j” in Ajaw is pronounced as in Spanish, with an “h” sound, so Ajaw sounds like “a how” as in “how are you?”) Today’s blog, on 2 Ajaw, is twenty days before the end of our fund-raising drive, which also marks the opening day of the Third International Congress of Maya Epigraphers, on 9 Ajaw.

Here is the invitation from the organizers:

Invitation designed by the Maya organizers of the Maya Congress

To spur interest in our campaign we are announcing a new perk, a 25-minute video of the late, famous Linda Schele, one of the founding mothers of teaching Mayas the glyphs. Go to https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/maya-revival–2 to make the contribution. Continue reading