Science Pub: Political Technology and Royal Architectural Design among the Ancient Maya
March 15 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Classic Maya civilization developed between CE 250-900 in Central America and is most famous for its large cities now buried under the tropical forest and its complex hieroglyphic writing system. Both of these cultural traits, attributable to elite material culture, can be traced to enduring forms of centralized governance – royal courts – who sponsored construction projects and recorded their history on stone monuments.
This talk investigates how Classic Maya royals managed to establish and maintain their power through an evolving political apparatus. This discussion highlights changing architectural and communicational technologies which allowed the numerous Classic Maya kingdoms to endure for centuries. In the absence of modern communicational technologies, how did Classic Maya royals maintain their political networks? How did they secure the fealty of allies and vassals? How did they establish their sovereignty with the general population? The answer to these questions address the design of regal palaces, political stages, and politically-charged art programs, along with feasting and scribal practices.
Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire presently is a George Stuart Residential Scholar at the Boundary End Center, NC. Max received his Ph.D. from Tulane University (2018) and his M.A. from Trent University (2011). Max is most fascinated by how ancient governments worked and in trying to understand what this can tell us about our own political and economic systems. Specifically, he studies the nuts and bolts of Classic Maya royal courts as evidenced by their regal palaces. Recently, Max has excavated the regal palace of La Corona, Guatemala, although his archaeological work has also allowed him to dig big holes in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Québec.