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PCSNY March 24 lecture – Vera Tiesler
March 24, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Heads, Skulls, and Sacred Scaffolds:
New Insights on Late Maya Ritual Practices at
Chichen Itzá (and Beyond)
Research Professor and Coordinator of Bioarchaeology Laboratory
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida
Northeastern corner of Chichen Itza’s major tzompantli platform.
Photograph by Vera Tiesler.
Although violence has been abundantly recorded in Maya iconography, only the last two decades of scholarship have seen methodological and interpretive strides towards a more nuanced study of ancient sacrificial practices involving humans. Recent revisions of the human mortuary record of Chichén Itzá has allowed the reconstruction of distinct sacrificial sequences. In this talk, I review different choreographies of ritual slaughter by way of decapitation and/or heart extraction. Each procedure provides cues regarding the ceremonial devices and reifies ancient Maya concepts of the human body as a cosmic model and conduit. My talk finalizes with a number of thoughts regarding the shifts that led to the massification of ritualized violence and body display past the Maya collapse, as showcased at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, and four other late Maya urban centers.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Hosted over Zoom
The Institute of Fine Arts–NYU
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