The 12th Annual Maya at the Playa — co-organized by BEC board member Mat Saunders and BEC George Stuart Residential Scholar Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire — took place from September 20-23 in Palm Coast, FL.
This year, the conference focussed on Caves and the Underworld. Presentations included reports on recent research led in cave systems from across the Maya world, including those of Chichen Itza, by James Brady and Allan Cobb; coastal Quintana Roo, by Dominique Rissolo; Western Belize, by Jaime Awe, Holley Moyes, Gabriel Wrobel, and Shawn Morton; the Chixoy region of Guatemala, by Brent Woodfill; and of the Copan valley of Honduras, by Cameron Griffith. In addition, Marc Zender, Stanley Guenter, Jennifer Saracino, and Jeremy Coltman discussed epigraphic and iconographic aspects of Mesoamerican caves and underworld. Finally, Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire and Harri Kettunen explored the archaeological and linguistic relations between caves and Mesoamerican sweatbaths.
Beyond presentations, Marc Zender, Stanley Guenter, and Harri Kettunen led workshops on ancient Maya and Aztec hieroglyphic writing. Students of the Davidson Day School, who partook to the AFAR field schools, also summarized the results of their 2018 research in Belize, Portugal, Spain, and Greece.
Since 2007, the Maya at the Playa annual conference brings prominent scholars of the ancient Maya and broader Mesoamerica to coastal Florida. In addition to contributing to the Mayanist academic community, M@P allows the broader public, K-12 students, and lifelong students of the Maya to learn from scholars and participate in hieroglyphic workshops. Among other groups, M@P brings together members of the Miami-based Institute of Maya Studies, Mayas for Ancient Mayan, and the Archaeological Institute of America – Jacksonville Society.