Collins Conference Room
Working Group
  US Mountain Time

Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

Meeting Summary:  The emergence and development of complex societies in the Maya lowlands entailed the innovation of cultural identities of scale, from the local to the regional. How to understand and model the connections between these scales is a fundamental question addressed by the Maya Working Group in this theme. The aggregation and coordination of effort to build and maintain centers helped consolidate Maya identity; the innovation and perpetuation of institutions sustaining large and dispersed populations was predicated on Maya peoples being members of imagined communities declared and orchestrated by exemplary leaders. This process was started by bringing people into ceremonial centers that mirrored realities transcending local differences while honoring local devotions to the supernatural. That balance was key and leaders found it. At ascending scale, lowland Maya peoples defined themselves in relation to other Mesoamericans with whom they regularly interacted.  Participants address these local and regional identity dynamics. Being Maya, ontologies expressed in myths, world views, histories, shared within and between local societies was a necessary precondition to Maya civilization and its myriad regional expressions. Translating such postulated living dynamics into substantive and discernable empirical patterns of the past is another key aspect of the on-going challenge addressed by the Working Group in this session.  


Research Collaboration
SFI Host: 
David Freidel, Anne Dowd, Arlen Chase