Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2004:
David F. Mora-Marín

The Primary Standard Sequence:
Database Compilation, Grammatical Analysis, and Primary Documentation
With Addenda:  Description of Digital Database of PSS Texts && Database of PSS Texts
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Glyph band from K4464. See table, page 9.

Research Year:  2003
Culture:  Maya
Chronology:  Late Pre-Classic
Location:  Maya Area
Sites:  Naranjo, Tikal, Uaxactún, Motul de San José, Calakmul

Table of Contents

Stage 1: Database Compilation
Stage 2: Analysis of PSS Glyphs
Stage 3: Analysis of PSS Structures
Stage 4: Synopses of PSS Texts in the Justin Kerr Archives
Stage 5: Primary Documentation of Selected Texts
History of the Primary Standard Sequence (PSS)
List of Figures
Sources Cited
Addendum: Brief Background to the Study of the PSS and the Present Report


The project summarized here is titled The Primary Standard Sequence (PSS): Database Compilation, Grammatical Analysis, and Primary Documentation (#02047). The project, which was funded by the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI) in its entirety, has consisted of the following stages: (1) the compilation of an extensive database of dedicatory texts; (2) the analysis of specific glyphs with problematic readings; (3) the analysis of the structure of the texts in the database; (4) the preparation of a set of synopses based on the database entries to be posted online in the Justin Kerr Archives at; and (5) the primary documentation of a few selected previously unpublished texts. 1   In this report, I summarize the main results and present the following conclusions: (1) the PSS originated in the Late Preclassic period and was standardized in its graphic format by the middle Early Classic period; (2) there are several additional subcomponents of the PSS which have not been properly identified or studied as such (e.g. u-B’AH, che-’e-na); (3) there are several PSS glyphs whose readings need revision or further clarification (e.g. Initial Sign, GOD.N, STEP, ji-chi, yu-lu-BAT.HEAD(-li)); and (4) the grammatical structure of the PSS can be classified into at least fifteen structure types, thirteen of which are basic.

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The Primary Standard Sequence: Database Compilation, Grammatical Analysis, and Primary Documentation (3.53 MB)

Database of PSS Texts (683 KB)

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  1. For the opportunity to study the inscribed objects in question, I am indebted to a private collector who very generously allowed me full access to study an artifact in his care. I am also grateful to Stacey Goodman and Kornelia Kurbjuhn, who helped me locate one of the artifacts of interest, to Julie Jones and Amy Chen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and to Jeffrey Quilter, Loa Traxler, and Jennifer Younger at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C.  I am especially grateful to Justin Kerr and Jessica Costa at FAMSI, who have been very helpful whenever I needed additional information, as well as very understanding, whenever I had minor problems to sort out. And finally, I also want to thank my wife, Heather Bruce; without her support I would have never found the time to complete this project. Some of the texts discussed here were studied and documented with support of a previous FAMSI grant (#99049).

Submitted 02/18/2004 by:

University of Kansas

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