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Coming to Tech: South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica

Texas Tech University is proud to host the 3rd Annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica. The conference provides a venue for scholars, students, and the interested public from across the region to share ideas, information, and interpretations. The conference is free and open to the public, and we hope you will join us.

The conference will begin on the afternoon of Friday, October 26 and conclude on Saturday evening. This year, the meetings will feature two keynote speakers, a silent auction, two evening receptions, and papers presented by scholars and students of Mesoamerica.

The conference organizers are Dr. Carolyn Tate, Professor of Art History, and Dr. Brett A. Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology. The conference is supported by Texas Tech University's Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice President for Research; Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work; and School of Art; and the Ryla T. & John F. Lott Endowment for Excellence in the Visual Arts.

Please visit www.southcentralmeso.org for details on the conference.

With the support of Texas Tech University's Office of the Vice-President for Research and Office of the Provost, we are extremely excited to host two keynote speakers at this year's meeting.

Friday's keynote speaker, Dr. Matthew Looper, is a professor of Art History at California State University, Chico. He is the author of six books on Mesoamerican art history and is well known for his research on the art of the ancient Maya city of Quirigua. In his most recent book, To Be Like Gods: Dance in Ancient Maya Civilization, Dr. Looper examines several types of data relevant to ancient Maya dance, including hieroglyphic texts, pictorial images in diverse media, and architecture, using an innovative interdisciplinary approach.

Friday's keynote is entitled "Celestial Raiment: The Netted Costume in Maya Art." During the Maya Classic period, monuments and vessels from a variety of sites depict men and women clothed in tunics or skirts composed in a beaded lattice pattern. In this presentation, Dr. Looper will explore the distribution of this garment, which associates it with a number of distinct celestial deities.

Saturday's keynote speaker, Dr. Anthony Aveni, is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology, serving appointments in both Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University, where he has taught since 1963. Dr. Aveni helped develop the field of archaeoastronomy and now is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy. Dr. Aveni is a lecturer, speaker, and editor/author of over two dozen books on ancient astronomy. His most recent book, The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012, explores theories surrounding 2012 doomsday prophecies, explains their origins, and measures them objectively against evidence unearthed by Maya archaeologists, iconographers, and epigraphers.

Saturday's keynote is entitled “Maya Apocalypse Soon?” This lecture will explore theories about the widely prophesied end of the world on the December solstice of 2012 by measuring them objectively against the evidence of archaeology, iconography, and epigraphy. Special attention will be given to information from the earth sciences and astronomy about the likelihood of world wide Armageddon. Finally, the prophesies will be placed in the broader cultural and historical context of how other cultures, ancient and modern, thought about the “end of things” and why cataclysmic events enjoy wide spread appeal in contemporary American pop-culture.