Description of the project


The basis of the project is to revise the contemporary state of the art in the Maya Preclassic period research according to the newest results of Slovak investigations and to create the synthesis of knowledge and comprehension of the oldest epoch of the Maya civilization. All of the project members have been involved in the Maya culture research in Guatemala over a long period, particularly in an archaeological project which has been, for the last nine years, significantly shifting the knowledge about the initial period of Maya history in an international context. However, the recent state of knowledge is fragmentary due to a narrow focus on very specific methods and objects. We intend to process all of the current data in the context of architecture and urbanism, social and political system, the ceramic and its chronology, iconography and epigraphy, religion, and ritual. Methodic generalizations and theoretic evaluations have the potential to create a significant research shift on a worldwide scale.

Research goals

The main scientific aim of the project is the realization of the motto “back to the origin of Maya history”. While the Classic and Postclassic period of the Maya culture is well explored, the knowledge of the period of its primal upswing, the Preclassic period, is only fragmentary. Taking advantage of the fact, that the team around Prof. Milan Kováč belongs to the significant protagonists at the international scene of Maya Preclassic period investigations and has new relevant data available, the general aim of this project is a revision of all known Preclassic period evidence and the creation of the comprehensive and complete perspective in a historical, cultural and religious context, which is still missing. The partial aims are going to be:

1.Completion of mentioned data by the addition of the most recent results in the direct scientific collaboration, particularly with the five international projects in progress (El Mirador, Ceibal, San Bartolo, Holmul/Cival and Uaxactún).
2.Calibration of the Preclassic period chronology based on the new proposal of Takeshi Inomata and its conversion to the ceramic sequences. The profound revision of Preclassic Uaxactún ceramic classification.
3.Establishing of the Maya Preclassic architectural and urbanistic typology and standardization of its categories.
4.Building the database of Pre-Classic writing system, defining the structure of its use and affinity for individual characters to the later Classic period variants. Classification of the content and character of the inscriptions.
5.Formation of the Preclassic visual forms database, first of all, the visual forms in the stucco, stone and in painting, supplemented with the minority forms of engraving and graffiti. Defining the chronology, regional styles, and cultural influences.
6.Shifting of all of the mentioned categories to the complementary coherent level and creating of the solid image of a historical, social, cultural and religious dynamics of the Maya Preclassic period.


2016 – 2020