Ancient Language

Bamboo–A Neglected Maya Material? (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Wed, 07/12/2017 - 10:23

by Stephen Houston (Brown University), Karl Taube (UC-Riverside), Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach (UT-Austin), and Timothy Beach (UT-Austin)

 

Building sites in Hong Kong often show a collision between tradition and modernity: bamboo scaffolds, some thirty stories in height, envelop skyscrapers under construction

The Fourth Wall (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 12:52

by Stephen Houston, Brown University

A fraternity of animals awaits visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, on a page of the Indian epic, the Rāmāyaṇama, monkeys and bears gather as part of Rama’s army, soon

The Lizard King (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Thu, 06/15/2017 - 12:14

by Stephen Houston (Brown), David Stuart (UT-Austin), and Marc Zender (Tulane)

The Maya region abounds in reptiles: by one count there are as many as 240 distinct species in Guatemala alone. It would not be surprising, then, if the Classic

Information Storage & the Classic Maya (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Fri, 05/19/2017 - 12:31

by Stephen Houston, Charles Golden, and Andrew Scherer

Of late, university libraries have tended to exile books and print journals to off-campus storage. The purge makes room, as at Brown University, for “digital studios,” work spaces, and spots where students

Getting Stoned (in the Grolier Codex) (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Sat, 04/08/2017 - 13:00

by Stephen Houston, Brown University

The celebrated Relación of Bishop Diego de Landa (1524–79) offers, in the edition by Alfred Tozzer—a volume in part ghosted, according to rumor, by many Harvard graduate students—a full array of horrors for those who transgressed

On Dragons, Whales, and Wits’ (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 10:56

by Stephen Houston, Brown University

Karlštejn castle, in the Czech Republic, guards a curious relic: the skull of a Nile crocodile thought by its owner, Emperor Charles IV (1316–1378), to come from a dragon. Indeed, to Charles, this might have been the

The Universe in a Maya Plate (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Sat, 03/04/2017 - 15:27

by James Doyle, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Stephen Houston, Brown University

Expressing metaphors for a constantly shifting reality is a human universal, especially during the mid-8th century AD. At that time, in the center of

Puzzle Writing (Maya Decipherment)

Submitted by John Graffio on Mon, 02/13/2017 - 15:34

by Stephen Houston, Brown University

For Justin Kerr, with boundless admiration

Transparency is not always the aim of . Signs can also baffle and please by means of scribal ingenuity. Sometimes the puzzle relates to esoteric matters or “magical” diagrams, as in “Sator