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Middle American Research Institute

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About the Middle American Research Institute

Founded in 1924, the Middle American Research Institute (M.A.R.I.) at Tulane University strives to promote greater understanding of the vibrant and diverse cultures of Middle America. It stewards an extensive collection of textiles, artifacts, and an archive of letters, field notes, maps, and photographs from the scores of field projects it has sponsored and continues to sponsor. We strive to make these accessible to researchers and the general public through a variety of exhibitions, workshops, and symposia.

Furthermore, M.A.R.I. continues to support anthropological, archaeological, ethnohistorical, linguistic, and ethnographic research projects throughout Mexico and Central America.

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TMS poster
2023 Tulane Maya Symposium registrations are open!

The Tulane Maya Symposium and Workshop was conceived to bring together experts in the fields of archaeology, art history, epigraphy, ethnohistory, and archaeo-astronomy, as well as interested students and members of the public, for a lecture series and workshops related to the ancient Maya civilization. The symposium aims to generate discussion and foster collaboration in an intimate setting conducive to interaction between speakers and the audience. Workshops provide unique educational opportunities for participants eager to engage first-hand in exploring the fascinating components of the ancient Maya world.

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DS Postdoc 3
Applications are open for the Doris Stone Post-Doctoral Fellowship at M.A.R.I.

This one-year (renewable for a second year) post-doctoral fellowship is intended to foster the professional development of gifted scholars, to enrich the Middle American Research Institute’s vigorous research environment, and to promote intellectual exchange among the Institute's research community. We seek to support the development of early-career scholars from diverse backgrounds (including historically under-represented groups and international scholars) who show promise as innovative researchers in Mesoamerican and Central American archaeology, an area in which Doris Z. Stone made significant contributions.

We particularly seek candidates whose research interests address any of the following topics: settlement patterns and household archaeology, gender studies, or indigenist and community-based archaeology. Engagement in the technologies and methodologies of landscape archaeology is also highly desirable. Fellows will be expected to participate in the full intellectual life of the Institute while in residence at Tulane University.

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Watercolor by William de Leftwich Dodge
M.A.R.I. Online Exhibits

The Middle American Research Institute is excited to announce that our new intern-designed photo exhibit is now available online!

M.A.R.I. interns have the opportunity to work with and research the Institute’s archival and artifact collections. The culmination of their hard work is an online exhibit available through Tulane’s library website. These exhibits cover a wide range of topics showcasing the people and material culture of Mesoamerica.

Now you can view the exhibit, William de Leftwich Dodge: Watercolors of Mexico, from the comfort of your home.

Our collection of online exhibits and some of our past are also available.

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MARI and the Stone Center engaging in outreach programs
Tulane University visits Lafourche Parish during Indigenous Day

On October 7, 2022, M.A.R.I. with the assistance of The Stone Center coordinated their first outreach program to two of Lafourche Parish’s Elementary Schools: South Larose Elementary (SLES) and Cut Off Elementary (COES). Tulane’s Maya scholar and teacher of Kaqchikel Ixnal Ambrocia Cuma presented an illustrated story about Maya culture and her experiences growing up as a Maya woman. Through the story of Amalia, a girl who wants to become a teacher, students learned about Maya cosmovision and their sacred relationships with nature. Ixnal showed her handmade Mayan textile clothing and gave a short weaving demonstration while discussing its social and religious meanings. M.A.R.I. Archives Manager Emily Davis-Hale explained to the students the importance of historical writing and calendrics for the ancient Maya.

A special thank you to the 5th-grade teachers at Cut Off Elementary: Rebecca Comeaux, Bridget Allen, and Angelle Messer, the South Larose Elementary School: Principal Dana Gros, Guidance Counselor Margo Polkey, Vice Principal Scarlet Griffin, and teachers Hailey Kiger, Angelle Galjour, and Katie Pinell. We would also like to thank Mr. Barry Orgeron for his financial contribution to make this day possible.

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GIS team
Sharing New Technology to Uncover the Past

Three members of Tulane's anthropology department—Marcello Canuto, Professor and M.A.R.I. Director, Luke Auld-Thomas, PhD candidate, and Francisco Estrada-Belli, Research Assistant Professor—discuss the recent expansion of their Geographic Information Systems Technology Lab (GISLAB), which has become a hub for worldwide collaboration in anthropological technology advancement.

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M.A.R.I. Brown Bags

Brown Bag Events invite guest speakers to host seminars at MARI on a wide variety of topics related to the archaeology, history, and ethnography of Mesoamerica and other world areas. Brown bag events typically take place on Fridays around noon and can be delivered in English and Spanish. Light lunch is provided.

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Publication 73 cover
Announcing our new publication: Archaeological Reconnaissance in Eastern Campeche, Mexico

Publication 73, Archaeological Reconnaissance in Eastern Campeche, Mexico: Chactun, Tamchen, and Lagunita

Editor: Ivan Šprajc

This edited volume summarizes recent research and archaeological investigations at the Maya sites of Chactun, Tamchen, and Lagunita, Campeche, Mexico, located in an area previously little-known to researchers. Situated between the Chenes architectural region to the north, and the Río Bec region to the south, this intermediate zone shares many features of the surrounding areas, but there is also evidence that suggests affinities with more distant regions. Data from aerial photographs and lidar mapping reveal a densely occupied and highly modified landscape. The volume includes site descriptions, a discussion of the zoomorphic façade at Lagunita, an analysis of the sites’ ceramics, documentation of stelae and altars, and examination of a possible ceremonial offering. The book features extensive photos and illustrations, including 28 beautiful color plates.

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