The 2020-2021 Mesoamerica Center Colloquium Series presents "Archaeological Evidence for the Preclassic Origins of the Maya Creation Story and the Resurrection of the Maize God at Cahal Pech, Belize" by Jaime J. Awe.

In the “Code of Kings,” Linda Schele and Peter Mathews (1998:36) commented that “Our knowledge of the Maya story of Creation comes from two sources: the Popol Vuh,… and inscriptions and imagery from the Classic period.” More than twenty years earlier, Michael Coe (1973:12) also convincingly demonstrated that the myth of the Hero Twins, and their subsequent resurrection of their father the Maize God, were “the subject of a significant number of the scenes depicted on [Classic period] Maya ceramics”. The more recent discovery of the San Bartolo murals served to extend the antiquity of both the myth of the Hero Twins and the resurrection of the Maize God well beyond the Classic period. In this presentation, Jaime Awe discusses archaeological data from Cahal Pech which provide additional support for the formative manifestation of this ideology, and which suggest that these myths and concepts were unquestionably “products” of the Preclassic period. Awe further suggests that there are two main reasons why we often fail to recognize the antiquity of these ideological concepts in the archaeological record. The first is simply a result of previous research biases that focused limited archaeological attention on Preclassic contexts. The second, and more salient reason, stems from our failure to interpret the ideological significance of particular types of deposits in the archaeological record. 

Watch the lecture by clicking this link.

Please note that the event is taking place April 6, 2021 at 5 pm CDT.

Jaime Awe is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University, Director of the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project, and Emeritus Member of the Belize Institute of Archaeology. His research and publications cover topics that span from the Preceramic period to the time of European contact, with particular focus on the rise and decline of cultural complexity, and human–environment interaction in western Belize. Presently, Awe continues his active program of research and conservation at sites across the Belize River Valley, conducting regional and multi-disciplinary investigations with his colleagues and students at Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, Xunantunich, and Lower Dover.

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