June 13, 2009 Christopher Jones and Federico Paredes, "Architectural Narratives at Quirigua: 400 to 800 AD"

            History is derived from discovered and/or invented narratives, or chronologically ordered events. When architecture and historical texts both survive, these two mutually independent narrative sources can often enhance, verify or even contradict each other. Dr. Jones and Mr. Paredes discussed archaeological excavations from 1975 through 1979 at Quirigua, which reveal a sequence of six main stages of growth in the probable royal palace. Decipherments from monumental texts found in and near the palace also reveal sequences of important events in the lives of the rulers who perhaps lived in those buildings. Together, these two narratives enrich each other in interesting ways. Newly drafted 3D computer-assisted, or AUTOCAD, images of six principle stages of palace growth have made an easier visualization of the changing architecture of the complex. The developing fortunes and daily lives of the rulers can sometimes be inferred from a combination of building form and historical event. The images were presented through direct manipulation by the speakers, with simulated fly-overs and entry into reconstructed rooms. These flyovers were particularly compelling images!
            Dr. Christopher Jones is presently a Consulting Scholar and a former Senior Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He studied Maya archaeology and epigraphy under Linton Satterthwaite and William Coe at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his PhD. He excavated for four years at Tikal and was director of the Site-Core excavations at Quirigua in 1976 and 1977. His work focuses on the connections between the historical statements of the inscriptions and the processes of change that can be observed in archaeological investigation.  Dr. Jones is the author of Inauguration Dates of Three Late Classic Rulers of Tikal Guatemala, in American Antiquity 42, 1977, The Monuments and Inscriptions of Tikal, with Linton Satterthwaite, 1982, Deciphering Maya Hieroglyphs, 1984, and Excavations in the East Plaza of Tikal, Guatemala, 1996.  Federico Paredes, received his licenciatura in archaeology from the Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala, and was the assistant Director of the Chocola Archaeological Project in 2005. He received a Fulbright Scholarship to attend a university in the United States in 2005, and is now a Doctoral Candidate in the Anthropology Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been assisting Dr. Jones with the computer graphics of the Quirigua project.  A joint paper on the Quirigua sequence was presented at the Mesa Redonda at Palenque, Mexico in November, 2008. Thanks to both for an enlightening presentation!

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