Title of Talk: The Cross Group Temples at Palenque: New Readings and Interpretations
Speaker: David Stuart, PhD
Date: June 5, 2015
Time: Reception begins at 6:30 pm in the 3rd Floor Huribut Memorial Hall of the Sumner School.
In June, the Pre-Columbian Society will inaugurate an occasional lecture series honoring the life of the late George Stuart, the archaeologist and pre-Columbian enthusiast who was an inspirational guiding force when the Society was launched 22 years ago. Our 2015 speaker will be David Stuart, PhD.
David Stuart says, “My lecture will present a new look at the famous triadic temples of Palenque, Mexico, known as the Cross Group. Using an integrated approach to the architectural complex, I aim to show how its hieroglyphic inscriptions and iconography worked together to present a tightly interwoven narrative that bridges mythology and history, highlighting the status and ceremonial power of king K’inch Kan Bahlam, who dedicated the shrine complex early in his reign in 682 A.D. I will explore symbolic aspects of the temples' physical setting near a sacred mountain and spring, as well as discuss new decipherments and readings from the temples' texts and imagery.”
Bio: Son of the late George Stuart, David Stuart's interests in the traditional cultures of Mesoamerica are wide-ranging, but his primary research focuses is the archaeology and epigraphy of ancient Maya civilization. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University and taught at Harvard University before arriving at the UT Austin in 2004, where he teaches in the Department of Art and Art History. Dr. Stuart regularly conducts field research at numerous archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, mostly focusing on the documentation and study of Maya sculpture and inscriptions. His major research focus of late is on the art and epigraphy at Copan (Honduras), Palenque (Mexico), Piedras Negras, La Corona, and San Bartolo (Guatemala). Dr. Stuart's early work on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs led to a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984. His publications include Ten Phonetic Syllables (1987), which laid much of the groundwork for the now-accepted methodology of Maya hieroglyphic decipherment. In 2003 he published a volume in the ongoing Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions series (Peabody Museum, Harvard University), devoted to drawings and photographs of sculpture from Piedras Negras, Guatemala. His most recent book is The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth about 2012 (Random House).
Dr. Stuart's research and contributions to Maya studies were recently featured in the award-winning PBS documentary "Cracking the Maya Code" (NightFire Films, 2008). Dr. Stuart is the Director of The Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which fosters multi-disciplinary studies on ancient American art and culture. He also oversees the activities of the newly established Casa Herrera, UT's academic research center in Antigua, Guatemala, devoted to studies in the art, archaeology and culture of Mesoamerica. Dr. Stuart is the Linda and David Schele Professor in the Art and Writing of Mesoamerica.