Skip to main content

Associate Researcher Merideth Paxton Shares Work on Yucatec Maya with International Colleagues

December 10, 2018

Associate Researcher Merideth Paxton Shares Work on Yucatec Maya with International Colleagues

Rituals related to the beginning of the new solar year, pages 25a and 26a of the Dresden Codex.


A Research Associate of the LAII, Dr. Merideth Paxton recently presented a series of three lectures concerning her studies of the Yucatec Maya. These talks for graduate students and professional investigators were given in Mexico City on October 16-18, 2018, at the invitation of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (the Coordinación Nacional de Antropología and the Dirección de Etnohistoría).

Through the presentations, Paxton pursued a line of inquiry focused on the Celestial Influences on Yucatec Maya Concepts of Order. Over the three days, this topic was divided into discussions of “Nuestra comprensión del cosmos maya según la astronomía del siglo XVI en España” (“The Impact of Sixteenth-Century Spanish Astronomy on Our Understanding of the Maya Cosmos”), “Consejos prehispánicos desde los códices mayas de Yucatán” (“Pre-Hispanic Guidance from the Yucatec Maya Codices”) and “Recursos filosóficos de los mayas en el virreinato y la época poscolonial” (“Philosophical Resources of the Viceregal and Post-Colonial Maya”).

Paxton also participated in the Fifty-sixth International Congress of Americanists, held in Salamanca, Spain (July 15-20, 2018). Her paper, “Animales en los códices mayas prehispánicos y el concepto de esencias compartidas,” was presented in the symposium, Las muchas caras de las relaciones entre los humanos y los animals: los registros importantes de la zooarqueología y de la etnozoología en las Américas, which was organized by Albérico Nogueira de Queiroz (Brazil) and Eduardo Corona-M. (Mexico).

These presentations are only the most recent of Paxton's contributions to the field. She has presented various other papers, and published numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes. She is the author of The Cosmos of the Yucatec Maya: Cycles and Steps from the Madrid Codex (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001), the senior editor (with Manuel Hermann Lejarazu) of Texto, imagen e identidad en la pintura maya prehispánica (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2011), and the senior editor (with Leticia Staines Cicero) of Constructing Power and Place in Mesoamerica: Pre-Hispanic Paintings from Three Regions (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2017). She contributed chapters to the two latter books. She is the editor of the Mesoamerican Manuscripts section of the Latin American Indian Literatures Journal.

With former LAII Director Dr. Susan Tiano, she co-organized a conference on Animal Symbolism in the Mesoamerican Codex Tradition, which was sponsored by the LAII (November 19-21, 2009). As well as providing a forum for the presentation of original research by scholars from other universities in the United States and Mexico, the conference held sessions to encourage the integration of information on pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica in lessons for K-12 classrooms in New Mexico. Paxton’s research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Dumbarton Oaks, and the foundation for her career was laid by a Fulbright fellowship to Mexico for her dissertation research.