New Fire is a blog produced by The Mesoamerica Center on current Mesoamerican art and archaeology. This blog will present current archaeology news, projects by graduate students at UT-Austin, and information about resources and projects at the Mesoamerican Center.
The editors of this blog include Elliot Lopez-Finn and Stephanie Strauss, as well as other contributing members of MaGSA, the organization of students at UT-Austin that study Pre-Columbian culture.
This summer a small team, led by Dr. Astrid Runggaldier, set out on a Mesoamerica Center expedition. The group visited several sites in the Tikal region and wanted to locate the settlement of El Zapote, first reported by Ian Graham in 1974.
This pilot study was funded by a research grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through UT’s Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. Its aims were to ground-check the best location and potential for developing a long-term project, provide training and research opportunities for graduate students, and enrich undergraduate courses at UT with original research.
This region has contributed important recent discoveries and developments in Preclassic and Early Classic studies as well as demonstrates the interaction between Maya and Central Mexican peoples.
The Mesoamerica Center congratulates Dr. Julia Guernsey, affiliated faculty of our center, for the Outstanding Teaching Award. The award's program is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education, honoring outstanding performance in the classroom and dedication to innovation in undergraduate instruction.
This spring, The Mesoamerica Center brought students to Casa Herrera for their study abroad semester for the third year. This satellite campus provides a teaching and research center in the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala.
The study abroad program is open to all majors and focuses on ancient and contemporary culture in Guatemala and Belize, giving students a fully immersive and interactive experience at ancient Maya sites, national and local museums, archaeological laboratories, and contemporary Maya villages.
The Mesoamerica Center faculty lead for the program, Dr. Astrid Runggaldier, teaches courses in Antigua and oversees the curriculum, field trips, invited speakers, and special projects.
I hope you will take a little time to read about some of the many exciting developments in Mesoamerican research now happening at The University of Texas at Austin.
Among many other activities, The Mesoamerica Center, housed in the Department of Art and Art History, oversees the planning and operation of two major undertakings: The Maya Meetings and Casa Herrera.
The annual Maya Meetings, now in its 37th year, brings scholars, students, and all types of interested people together to share the latest discoveries in Maya art, archaeology, and decipherment (back in 1978 it was called the “Maya Hieroglyphic Writing Workshop” –see From the Archives). It remains one of the preeminent conferences in Maya studies, and our next meeting will take place in January, here in Austin. We will focus on the theme of sacrifice and ritual and keep you updated on The 2015 Maya Meetings website.
Casa Herrera, our beautiful research and learning center in Antigua, Guatemala, is home to a number of academic programs, seminars, lectures and residential scholars. Casa Herrera will continue to play a key role in forging communication and dialogue between the researchers in Central America and Texas, especially in these times when in-person connections and understanding are so vitally important.
Professors, local instructors, and students from various universities in the United States and Guatemala collaborated at Casa Herrera during June and July for an intensive 6-week program of dynamic language instruction in Kaqchikel and K’iche’.
Dr. Judith Maxwell from Tulane University, along with 6 local Kaqchikel teachers, lead a group of eight students in the Kaqchikel program. Professor Mareike Sattler of Vanderbilt University and Dr. James Mondloch of the University of New Mexico, plus 4 local K’iche’ instructors, worked with a group of eight students in the K’iche’ program. Dr. Sergio Romero from The University of Texas at Austin also provided program support for the K’iche’ group during their three-week stay in Nahualá.
Casa Herrera greeted 19 undergraduates from various disciplines across The University of Texas at Austin campus to participate in a 6-week program called Culture, Education, and Diversity. During this program, students received classes at Casa Herrera led by Dr. Noah De Lissovoy from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education at UT Austin.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Andrea Joyce Stone, Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Andrea received her doctorate in the University of Texas’s Department of Art and Art History in 1983 under the tutelage of Linda Schele. She leaves a remarkable legacy in Pre-Columbian art history and in the field of Maya studies.