October 10, 2009 Sarah Kurnick: "Women in Stone: Understanding Classic Period Maya Female Ajaws"

    The Classic period Maya created a number of monuments depicting
politically powerful women.  Notably, a handful of these monuments depict
not just politically powerful women, but female ajaws, or female divine
rulers.  Her presentation took a closer look at the Classic period
Maya female ajaws and their representations on monuments – topics that have
attracted the attention of only a few archaeologists.  In particular, it
considered how the female ajaws acquired their authority; how they
transferred their authority to their successors; and how they chose to
portray themselves on monuments as a means of maintaining their authority
during their reigns.

    Sarah Kurnick is a doctoral student in the anthropology department
at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is studying Maya archaeology and is
currently conducting dissertation research in the Mopan Valley of Belize.
She has also done field work along the Pacific coast of Guatemala and in
Yucatán, Mexico.

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