Decipherment, Digs, and Discourse: Honoring Stephen Houston's Contributions to Maya Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM (2019)

This collection contains the abstracts of the papers presented in the session entitled "Decipherment, Digs, and Discourse: Honoring Stephen Houston's Contributions to Maya Archaeology," at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Stephen Houston made his first trip to the Maya area to document stelae in 1981. On the occasion of his 60th birthday—3 k’atuns of 20 years in the Classic Maya system of counting—his colleagues are gathering to celebrate his nearly 40 years of research on the Maya. With 350 publications, including 31 books and edited volumes, Houston has been a driving force during a period of prodigious advancement in Maya archaeology. Best known for his contributions to the understanding of Maya writing, Houston was a key player in the decipherment of the script, notably leading a collaboration that identified the language of Classic Maya writing. He has also studied text and imagery at a deeper level, making nuanced interpretations of Maya identity, body, and materiality, which contributed to his being named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008. Houston has also led a number of influential field projects in Maya archaeology, including major research programs that he initiated at Dos Pilas, Piedras Negras, and El Zotz. These projects have contributed data to numerous academic debates within the discipline, while providing training for a new generation of Maya archaeologists, many of whom have gathered to celebrate his career at these meetings.