Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

The Research Department is composed of a Mesoamerican-oriented library, access to the Kerr Photographic Collections, the Schele and Montgomery Image Collections, and access to the Bibliografía Mesoamericana. Projects funded by the Foundation are not restricted to investigations conducted on the Foundation premises.

An Indexed Bibliography of Prehistoric and Early Historic Maya Human Osteology
Compiled by Marie Elaine Danforth, Stephen L. Whittington, and Keith P. Jacobi, this bibliography, presents an exhaustive, indexed list of those publications which reference paleodemography, paleopathology, skeletal morphology, and cultural modifications. We hope that this work, the product of extensive exploration of diverse sources from nearly a dozen countries, will allow other researchers to exploit more readily the valuable comparative data and interpretations available in this literature. Click here to learn more about the Maya Osteology Bibliography or here to search the bibliography directly.

The Bibliografía Mesoamericana

Ignacio Bernal’s "Bibliografía de Arqueología e Etnografía" (1962) lists some 15,000 entries covering the period A.D. 1514-1960. While another 50,000 or so items have been published since then, there has not been a corresponding increase in the quality of bibliographic control over this literature. Our Bibliografía Mesoamericana now provides pertinent information of the published literature pertaining to most aspects of the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica. The Bibliografía Mesoamericana, under the direction of Dr. John Weeks, is an ongoing and joint project of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., and the Museum Library of the University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about the Bibliografía Mesoamericana, Click here or here to explore the database directly.

Conference Reports

The Foundation is pleased sponsor conferences that encourage interdisciplinary and cross-cultural interaction in an atmosphere of academic integrity and intellectual freedom while contributing to the advancement of Mesoamerican studies. To view FAMSI-Sponsored Conference Reports, Click here.

Grantee Reports

FAMSI Grantees submit a final report at the conclusion of their projects.
To find their illustrated reports, select from the lists below:

The Graz Codices

Now, courtesy of Akademische Druck - u. Verlagsanstalt - Graz, Austria, FAMSI provides access to their definitive facsimiles of the ancient accordion fold books created hundreds of years ago by Aztec, Maya and Mixtec scribes. To view these codices click here.

The Loubat Codices

Access to the duc de Loubat codex facsimilies in conjunction with Universitätsbibliothek Rostock and Bibliothek der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW), with thanks to Michael Dürr FAMSI project coordinator, Mr. Rosenau of Mikro-Univers, Ms. Danielewski and Dr. Thiemer-Sachse of BBAW. To view these codices click here.

The Kerr Maya Vase Collection

The Maya Vase Database is a photographic archive created by Justin Kerr, who devised a method of peripheral photography to create rollout photographs of circular vessels. Justin Kerr provides his copyrighted photographs at no cost for study purposes. Contact Justin Kerr at for information concerning fees for commercial use and publication rights. To learn more about the Kerr collections, click here or here to explore the Maya Vase data base directly.

The Kerr PreColumbian Portfolio

The PreColumbian Portfolio is an easily searchable database of photographs. It can be searched by selecting an item from a menu or by typing a word. Material is added frequently and spans a myriad of PreColumbian cultures. The Portfolio provides an opportunity to see images of sites, sculpture and ceramics other than vases. Click here to explore the Kerr PreColumbian Portfolio.

Mesoamerican Language Texts Digitization Project

The Mesoamerican Language Texts Digitization Project developed from a desire to make available to scholars, students, and enthusiasts world-wide, a selection of primary documents pertaining to the ethnohistory and linguistics of the indigenous populations of Mexico and northern Central America. This is a collaborative arrangement between Sandra Noble, Ph.D., Director, Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI) and the Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania. To view these pages click here.

The John Montgomery Drawing Collection

This database of John Montgomery’s drawings is designed to allow scholars to study the sculpture and glyphic inscriptions in clear, linear drawings, while retaining the sensibility of the PreColumbian Maya artists. The drawings are primarily of Maya sculpture and objects from the ancient sites of Bonampak, Palenque, Piedras Negras, Seibal, and Tikal, among others. Informative captions accompany each image. While Mr. Montgomery’s copyrighted drawings are freely available for scholarly usage; information concerning fees for publication usage is available by contacting the Foundation. To learn more about John Montgomery with a link to his online "Dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs", click here or here to explore the Drawing Collection directly.

Piedras Negras Archaeology, 1931-1939

An online publication from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Library. To learn more about the Piedras Negras Archaeology, 1931-1939, click here.

Piedras Negras Online

A photographic archive of the Piedras Negras Project, 1997-2000 by Stephen Houston, Héctor Escobedo, Zachary Hruby, and Jessica Skousen. This project excavated at Piedras Negras, Guatemala, over a span of four seasons, from 1997 to 2000. "Our objective as archaeologists has been to collect and share evidence. We are merely the stewards of research results at Piedras Negras, not its owners. For that reason, our database is to be used by anyone and everyone, provided their intent is scholarly." To learn more about the Piedras Negras Project, click here or here to search the photographs directly.

Piedras Negras Archaeological Project

Years of investigations by the Piedras Negras Project of Brigham Young University and the Universidad del Valle, have produced valuable information about the Usumacinta river basin. During the 1999 field season, KBYU Television sent a camera crew to Piedras Negras to capture an "image" of the site and the work being conducted there. Click to view the video clips that provide an audio/visual introduction to the archaeological site. Also the 2000 field season has permitted the completion of works in the South Group and in the Acropolis, adding fresh information on the population and its artifacts. To view this report (only available in Spanish at this time) click here.

Introduction to Mesoamerica

When Mexican historian Paul Kirchhoff first introduced the term "Mesoamerica," he defined it as a cultural zone where the indigenous inhabitants spoke as many as sixty different languages, but were united by a common history and shared a specific set of cultural traits that made their civilization unique in the world. Dr John Pohl, an eminent authority on American Indian civilizations, has put together a primer of Mesoamerican History. To view these pages click here.

Maya Museum Database

An online resource, the Maya Museum Database gives students, scholars, and anyone interested in Maya art a good starting point for their research. Along with a list of Maya collections, the database also provides active features, such as hyperlinks to available homepages and e-mail addresses. To learn more about Maya Museum Database, click here or here to explore the Database directly.

The Linda Schele Drawing Collection

The Schele Drawing Collection consists of about one thousand drawings of Mesoamerican monuments, buildings, objects, and hieroglyphic texts, with an emphasis on ancient Maya objects from México, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. Approximately 960 of Linda Schele’s drawings have been catalogued with brief descriptions. These drawings are available to the public free of charge, with restrictions for commercial use and publication. To learn more about Linda Schele and the drawing collection, click here or here to explore the drawings directly.

The Tikal Digital Access Project

During the fifteen years (1956-1970) that the University of Pennsylvania Museum (UPM) carried out archaeological investigations at the ancient Maya city of Tikal, Guatemala, professional photographers and researchers created over 60,000 photographic images. A great many of these images recorded primary data about the Maya past during architectural restoration, excavation, survey, and laboratory work. Click here to learn more about the Tikal Digital Access Project or here to search the images.

Catalogue of Zapotec Effigy Vessels

The Zapotec, whose ancient culture flourished for over a millennium in southwest Mesoamerica, have been the topic of a diversity of studies primarily because their unique history provides clues about the origins of civilization and how urban societies evolve. One aspect of their material culture has received special attention, the so-called Zapotec urn, a type of ceramic vessel with anthropomorphic or zoomorphic effigies attached. Because these artifacts are rich in iconographic information, their study has offered an unparalleled source of information on ancient Zapotec society. Adam Sellen's catalogue of Zapotec Effigy Vessels is a versatile tool designed to present the most up to date information on the urns in a way that is inter-relational and easy to access. This on-line catalogue of artifacts is a dynamic entity, one that can be constantly updated, corrected and added to as new information comes forth. Click here to learn more about the Catalogue of Zapotec Effigy Vessels.

Independent Works

The Foundation is pleased to post the research of scholarship not funded by FAMSI but that contributes to the advancement of Mesoamerican studies. Potential contributors should contact the director, Dr. Sandra Noble. To view additional resources, click here.

For hints on searching the above data collections, Click here.

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