How the Maya Wrote

Mayan tablet

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Explore the beauty and complexity of Maya script

Maya texts record names of kings and queens, dynastic ties, ritual events, and the celebration of victories over rivals. The calendrical dates which frame these statements enable modern scholars to tie an event of long ago not just to a particular year but to the day of one of our months.  

Although little known or recognised in the West, Maya writing and recording stand as one of humankind’s great achievements. Elizabeth Graham, Professor of Mesoamerican Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, explores the history and influence of Maya writing. She is joined by Simon Martin, Associate Curator and Keeper of the American Section at the Penn Museum.

Elizabeth Graham is an archaeologist whose research focuses on the Maya of Precolumbian and early Spanish and British colonial Mesoamerica. She carries out field research in Belize at the sites of Lamanai, in northern Belize, and Marco Gonzalez, on the island of Ambergris Cay.  Her research interests include maritime trade, conflict and warfare, and the long-term environmental impact of human activity.

Simon Martin is a political anthropologist and specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing. He took part in the television program Cracking the Maya Code and other shows for the Discovery and History Channels. Simon has authored 37 articles and book chapters, together with another 15 co-authored pieces. His book Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens, with Nikolai Grube, is now in its second edition and has been translated into five other languages. One of Simon’s key project at Penn Museum is the re-installation of the Mexico and Central America Gallery.

Image: Mayan stone tablet © The Trustees of the British Museum


Name: How the Maya Wrote
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546