5762 - Bird and Human Interactions among the Ancient Maya: An Ethno-ornithological Approach

Birds figure prominently in the iconography, religion, symbolism, and mythology of the ancient Maya. Among the modern Maya, birds are one of the primary sources of divine knowledge for prognostications and signs of future events. In this presentation, I will show how birds among the ancient Maya were also vehicles for transmitting divine knowledge as messengers of supernaturals. Making use of hieroglyphic texts and Classic period iconography, I will reconstruct parts of the complex relationships between birds and humans, both mythological and practical. Then, based on data gathered from ethno-ornithological fieldwork among seven different Maya groups, I will show numerous ideological continuities from the Classic period that survive among many Maya today relating to birds and their roles in Maya society.

Keywords: Maya, Hieroglyphs, ethno-ornithology

Author: Hull, Kerry (Reitaku University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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