Brent Woodfill (Winthrop University), The Fight for Maya Sacred Places in the Past and Present”

For the ancient and modern Maya, the landscape is ruled by powerful entities in the form of geographic features such as caves, mountains, springs, and abandoned cities—spirits who must be entreated for permission to plant, harvest, build, or travel through their territories. Some of the most sacred Maya places are in Central Guatemala, where for millennia they have served as points of domination and resistance over the region’s wealth of resources (fertile soil, petroleum, and the only noncoastal salt in the Maya lowlands). In this talk, Woodfill delves into archaeology, epigraphy, ethnohistory, and ethnography to explore the battle for access to and control of the most important places in the region.  From the rise of the first Maya states through the spread of contemporary transnational corporations, these places have served and continue to serve as battlefields between foreign invaders and local resistance movements.