Wikipedia:WikiProject Mesoamerica

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WikiProject Mesoamerica

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About this WikiProject edit | watch
About the subject area edit | watch
Purpose: WikiProject Mesoamerica (or WP:MESO for short) is intended to provide a common forum for Wikipedia editors interested in improving and maintaining articles related to Mesoamerica, with a primary (but not exclusive) focus upon the pre-Columbian history and achievements of Mesoamerican societies.

Activities for discussion on this forum include: identifying in-scope articles and topics, discussing ways to improve article standards and topical coverage, coordinating and prioritising improvement efforts, developing standards and guidelines designed to achieve consistency between related articles, documenting article coverage by topical areas, rating articles by appropriate standards, organising the articles by meaningful categories and links, and sundry other activities to be further refined.

Project structure: WP:MESO has three main pages:

  1. Project Definition (background, description and resources),
  2. Project Activities (open tasks, to-do lists, collaborations and sub-projects),
  3. Project Catalogue (inventory and survey of articles, lists, templates, categories, and an assessment of their current status).

Each is composed of a number of subpages. These main pages contain relevant navigational links and views their subpages' contents. Taken together, they are intended to function somewhat similarly to a Portal, in that the mainpages provide a common access points for associated documentation, activities and discussions. All of the actual detailed work and documentation takes place on the Project's separate subpages, however the main aspects of this work can be viewed directly and all at once from the main pages. Note that what appears in a particular window or box here may be a summary of more extensive material, which can be seen in full using the links and 'edit' tags provided.

Why Mesoamerica?

The Mesoamerican region

Mesoamerica refers to a geographical/cultural/historical region, a territory bounded approximately to the north by the Tropic of Cancer across the present-day central and western Mexico states, and down through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Yucatán peninsula to Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and northwestern Costa Rica.

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures developed and established the cornerstones of complex societies, such as domestication and agriculture, monumental construction and large-scale urban environments, polities and states, trading networks, refined art and iconography, writing systems, astronomical, calendric and mathematical knowledge, and others.

Although diverse, Mesoamerican peoples and their cultures share a number of common traits, which contribute to the region's definition as a specific field of study. With several thousand years' worth of intertwined history, shared cultural aspects and political interactions, articles on Mesoamerican-related topics will have a great deal of common reference and similarity in subject matter.

Project Goals edit | watch
Project Scope edit | watch

A primary motivation in establishing this WikiProject stems from the large degree of interrelatedness of Mesoamerican topics and history. By providing interested editors with a central forum to discuss issues and ideas for improvement, the need to disperse discussion relating to common themes across multiple talk pages is avoided (note, however, that discussion on relevant talk pages is of course still encouraged, particularly where major changes are being considered; the Project's workspace is intended to complement, and not replace, editor best practices).

The goals of this WikiProject are to:

  • [A]- improve and maintain Mesoamerica-related articles and other materials: fact checking, prose checking, expanding, ensuring currency of information, providing reliable citations and references, NPOVing, bringing more selected articles up to Featured article status, via Peer review or Good article processes if necessary;
  • [B]- expand wikipedia coverage of Mesoamerica-related topics: identify gaps, check for completeness of coverage, start new articles, expand entries on little-known or neglected, but still notable, subjects;
  • [C]- apply sensible organisational structures to articles: Within articles, similar articles can have a similar structure, coverage and presentation. Across articles, maintaining categories, lists and links so related articles are easier to locate;
  • [D]- ensure consistency of information and terminology across articles: where similar facts and data are cited or mentioned in several different articles, they should as far as possible be consistent and not contradict. Terminology and the orthography used for names and places should be consistently applied;
  • [E]- propose and establish guidelines for editing: produce materials to assist others in understanding any guidelines or standards;
  • [F]- develop tools and resources for others to use in article production: such as templates, navboxes, infoboxes, 'what to include' checklists, diagrams, base maps, image catalogues, useful and commonly used references;
  • [G]- facilitate coordination and collaboration: between Projects, interwikis and editors, establish priorities, where possible avoid duplication of effort, apply WP:AGF, WP:CIVIL, WP:CON, WP:NPA, and others.

The scope of this WikiProject is proposed to include articles, lists, categories, templates, and the like, with some direct relevance to the Mesoamerican region (with a particular focus upon the pre-Columbian period, but also extending where relevant to other eras and subjects).

Items within this scope will address (one or more) aspects grouped under the following high-level topics or themes (which may cross-reference or overlap with one another as well):

  1. Mesoamerican Geography– regions, locations, natural history, environment, biota, domesticated plants and animals, exploited animal, vegetable and mineral resources, climate, hydrology, geology
  2. Mesoamerican Archaeology– chronologies, horizons and complexes, site descriptions, structures, monuments, pottery and other artefacts, external connections and influences
  3. Mesoamerican History– by time periods, by culture/civilization, of events, of individuals, historical documents and post-colonial accounts,
  4. Mesoamerican Cultures and Civilizations– descriptions of the peoples and their , locations, histories, polities, interactions, accomplishments, society, beliefs, influences, experiences in colonial and post-colonial eras, continuity of heritage to the preset day
  5. Mesoamerican Languages– descriptions of individual languages- phonology, typology, grammar etc., language families, historical and contemporary distribution, lingua francas, use in historical texts, words derived from the indigenous languages
  6. Mesoamerican Writing and Inscriptions– history, development and distribution, relationships, per literate or proto-literate culture, epigraphy, individual inscriptions/texts and their meanings, symbols and glyphs, inscriptional types (monumental, pottery, codices, etc) decipherment and history/status of decipherment
  7. Mesoamerican Society– shared and distinct cultural practices, polities and governance, social structures and order, "daily life", commerce and trade, education, warfare, costume and dress, gender roles, population trends
  8. Mesoamerican People– biographies of notable personages, rulers and dynasties, roles and titles, (includes also notable non-Mesoamerican figures of the conquest and colonisation eras, eg. the conquistadores, and post-colonial, contemporary or near-contemporary figures important to subsequent history)
  9. Mesoamerican Science and Technology– "cognative" achievements, such as writing and inscriptions, mathematics, astronomy, calendars; "technical" or "applied knowledge" achievements, such as medicine, metallurgy, architecture/construction, navigation, agriculture
  10. Mesoamerican Arts– visual arts and decorative styles, iconography, media, cross-cultural influences, music, dance
  11. Mesoamerican Mythology and Religion– belief systems, philosophy, mythologies, deities, rituals and ceremonies
  12. Mesoamerican Studies– history and description of the field, subfields of specialist study, notable Mesoamericanist scholars and works, unresolved aspects/open questions, points of contention.

Participants edit | watch
Related edit | watch

New participants are welcome, use the 'edit' link above to add your name to this list.

Student participants

Project Resources edit | watch
Guidelines and conventions edit | watch

This page is intended as a repository of details and links to resources, references, tools and other materials commonly used when editing Mesoamerica-related articles.

Project (internal) resources

Internal (wikipedia/project) resource pages

Mesoamerica reference works and citations

The project subpage WP:MESO/CITE contains commonly used reference works on Mesoamerican topics, with pre-filled citation templates containing the full reference details. The pre-filled template may be copied and conveniently pasted direct into the "references" section of articles which use them, for consistency and completeness.

Please add more as you find/need them.

Mesoamerica journals and citations

The project subpage WP:MESO/J contains a listing of journals and other periodicals in which papers may be published on Mesoamerican topics. Contains links to online resources for the journals, plus pre-filled citation templates for each journal, that may be used when citing in a particular article.

Please add more as you find/need them.

WP Mesoamerica citations navigation:



Online (external) resources

Accessible (external) resources.

Source documents

links to primary source documents (reproductions of codices, indigenous and Spanish accounts from pre-Columbian, conquest and colonial eras, etc.), and secondary/historical documents.

Primary sources

  • Anonymous Conqueror (1550). Narrative of Some Things of New Spain and of the Great City of Temestitan . Reported eyewitness accounts (possibly a compilation) of Cortes' expedition & description of Central Mexican peoples. FAMSI reproduction of 1917 translation.
  • Cervantes de Salazar, Francisco (1560?). Crónica de la Nueva España. Spanish encounters and description of Mesoamerican cultures. edition. (in Spanish)
  • Martyr d'Anghiera, Peter (ca. 1504–1526). De Orbe Novo. First collected accounts of the New World. Project Gutenberg reproduction.
  • VARIOUS conquistador sources. Crónicas de América. Complete online texts compiled by the arteHistoria online mag (govt. of Castille y León): incl. Hernan Colon, Cristobal Colon, Hernan Cortes, Diaz del Castillo, Cabeza de Vaca, Fernando Ixtlilxochtitl, Rodriguez Freyle, Quiros, Francisco Hernandez, Gamboa, Vision de los vencidos, Lopez de Gomara, Toribio de Benevente, Origen de los mexicanos, Villagra, Sahagun, Alvaro Tezozomoc.
  • VARIOUS explorer sources. Early Modern Spain (King's College London). Online texts of Cabeza De Vaca's Naufragios, Las Casas' Brevísima relación, Columbus' diario of 1492/93 and 1st voyage letter, Cortés' five Cartas de relaciónes, Oviedo y Valdés' Historia general y natural de las Indias.
  • Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division
    • Digitized LoC Materials
    • Jay I. Kislak Collection, MSS., signatures, conquest-era docs
  • [New York Public Library, digital collection (searchable); facsimiles of drawings, publs.
  • LUNA Commons, accumulator of digital collections
    • John Carter Brown Library, Archive of Early American Images,
  • Old Manuscripts & Incunabula, List of facsimile edns of precolumbian & Age of Discovery works and sources
  • Biblioteca Digital Mundial, maps, facsimiles of original source texts

Secondary/Historical sources

  • Brinton, Daniel G. (Ed.) (1890). Rig Veda Americanus. Nahua/Aztec songs and poems. Project Gutenberg reproduction. (in Nahuatl languages) (in English)
  • Kerr, Robert (1824). A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. IV. Has some sections on early Spanish conquistador encounters. Project Gutenberg reproduction.

Languages & dictionaries

  • SUP-INFOR excellent collection of searchable databases for Nauhatl & other Mesoamerican languages, dictionaries, and reproductions of a number of codices. DBs can be downloaded (PC-only support). (in French) (in Nahuatl languages) (in Spanish) (in English)(some pages)
  • Dictionnaire de la langue Nahuatl Classique, by Alexis Wimmer, based on dictionary compiled by Simeon. Comprehensive, with cross-referencing of terms found in the Florentine Codex. (in French) (in Nahuatl languages)
  • Nahuatl Vocabulary, searchable db of en, es & nah terms at Wired Humanities Project, UO
  • The Mayan Languages - A Comparative Vocabulary online searchable database of Mayan vocabulary, Univ. of Southern Denmark
  • Dictionary-Concordance of Yucatecan Mayan language by David Bolles, at FAMSI
  • AILLA, Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, U.Texas. Contains some texts in a number of Mesoamerican langs.
  • ALMG Academia de Lengues Mayas de Guatemala. Authority on Mayan languages, its orthography is used by many Mayanist sources. (in Spanish)
  • OKMA, La Asociación Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’, Guatemalan organisation for investigation and documentation of Mayan langs.
  • PDLMA, Project for the Documentation of the Languages of Mesoamerica, by Kaufman, Justeson & Maldonaldo. Online database, some papers.

Maps & diagrams

  • Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya Sites extremely detailed downloadable maps (PDF) of Maya site locations (over 4400 !)
  • AUM Carnegie Explorer some sample maps & site reports from Carnegie Institution
  • Atlas Arquelógico de Guatemala some maps and a very good repository of Guatemalan archaeological papers published in various sources, all downloadable as PDFs (in Spanish)

Mesoamerican studies websites

American foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • FAMSI Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., just about the most comprehensive source for academic papers, monographs and Mesoamerican resources.
    • online Bibliografía Mesoamericana, FAMSI Research Materials.
    • online Maya Hieroglyph Dictionary, Mathews and Bíró, FAMSI Research Materials.
    • online Maya Vase Database, Justin Kerr, FAMSI Research Materials.
    • AZTLAN mailing list, discussion forum archives
    • NAHUATL-l mailing list, discussion forum archives
  • MESOWEB large repository of many recent academic papers on Mesoamerican studies.
    • PARI Precolumbian Art Research Institute; incl. papers from Palenque Mesa Redonda ("Round Table") meetings
  • MARI Middle America Research Institute, Tulane University
  • MARL Mesoamerican Archaeological Research Laboratory, UT Austin. Publishes mono y conejo journal, & some site reports
  • CMHI, Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions by Peabody Museum, now has some good info & reproductions online
  • Mesoamerican img archives Repository of photos from various Mesoamerican sites, by David R. Hixson. Imgs are copyrighted, but could be approached for use in WP.
  • Puuc (Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil and Labna) docs & imgs, by Charles Rhyne & Reed College; many scans of old (Pub Domain) imgs and maps, also modern ones, of the region; + extensive annotated biblios in PDFs
  • La Milpa Archaeological Project, Boston University
  • Traditional High Cultures, by EcoLinguistics (Lloyd Anderson); Mesoamerican writing links & articles
  • Jay I. Kislak Foundation, non-profit institution for pre-Columbian art and research collections; some papers online
  • University of Utah Digital Collections, facsimiles & commentary for codices Laud & Magliabecchi
  • Dumbarton Oaks, Research Library and Collection, pre-Columbian-Mesoamerican publications, a few important ones downloadable
  • SAA, Society for American Archaeology, pan-Americas but has papers/material relevant to Mesoam. Publishes notable journals:
    • Latin American Antiquity, Abstracts, backissues on JSTOR.
    • American Antiquity, Abstracts, backissues on JSTOR.
    • The SAA Archaeological Record, PDFs. More 'in-house', but some useful stuff.
    • SAA Bulletin, online, replaced 2001 by SAA Archaeological Record.
  • AMNH American Museum of Natural History papers, includes some rare papers on Mesoamerican topics, among others
    • Anthropological Papers, Anthropological papers of the AMNH
  • WHP, Wired Humanities Project, University of Oregon; collection of Mesoam resources and text digitisation projects (some under constr; some pwd protected, others accessible)
    • VMA Virtual Mesoamerican Archive, a portal maintained by University of Oregon's Wired Humanities Project, with extensive material, links, and search facilities specific to Mesoamerican material available online
  • HLAS Online, Handbook of Latin American Studies (online), by Library of Congress; searchable database of annotated bibliographies, journals etc
  • ArchaeoSeek Mesoamerica, listing of Mesoamerican archaeological sites (nb, WP:MESO gets a guernsey!)

European foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • WAYEB European Association of Mayanists
  • IAI-PK, Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Preussischer Kulturbesitz; Library, catalogue & some details on Mesoamerican docs, research and collections (in German) (in Spanish)
    • Online-Katalog der Bibliothek des Ibero-Amerikanischen Instituts Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    • [Biblioteca del Instituto Ibero-Americano, catalogues & dbs; some online material; "largest Latin-American library in Europe"
    • Current-Contents, db listing TOCs of each vol for most ethnohistorical & arch. periodicals
    • Cibera, "is an interdisciplinary search facility for specialised scientists and students of culture, history, politics, economics and sociology of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries and the Caribbean"
  • Arbeitskreis Mesoamerika, University of Vienna, Austrian academic Mesoamericanists (in German) (in English) (in Spanish)
    • Museums and collections in the German-speaking world, links & info re Mesomerican materials in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
  • Учебно-научный Мезоамериканский центр им. Ю. В. Кнорозова, Mesoamerican studies centre "YV Knorozov", at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH/RGGH), director Galina Ershova. (in Russian)
  • Месоамерика, Russian site on Americanist/Mesoamericanist research, materials, by some scholars/students; good info on Maya sites in particular (in Russian)
  • Меxicolore, UK-based educational resource for teachers and students of all ages on the Aztecs/Mexica; the website supports a teaching team that have run over 2,000 school workshops on the Aztecs in schools and museums in England since 1980 (in English) (in Spanish)

Spanish foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, online repository of historical etc works relating to Spanish-speaking cultures
    • Biblioteca Americana, Americas historical source docs online/catalogue
    • Biblioteca Historia, general historical source docs online/catalogue
  • Crónicas de América, at arteHistoria by the Junta de Castile y León. Texts of original conquistador sources, biographies of authors and participants, images (many presumably PD), maps, and links.
  • SOMNI, digital facsimiles collection of historical works held at Universitat de València

Mexican foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • INAH Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico. Main govt organisation overseeing cultural patrimony and research. A number of recent papers (in Spanish)
    • Dimensión Antropológica, quarterly online journal by INAH, contains many full papers on Mesoam. anthropology, history & linguistics (in Spanish)
  • INALI, Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas, national institute for indigenous peoples, languages, stats, laws
    • Catálogo de las lenguas indígenas nacionales, 2007 official catalogue defining indigenous langs, their distribution, etc
  • INAFED, Instituto Nacional para el Federalismo y el Desarrollo Municipal, national institute for municipal govts, stats, laws, info
    • Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México, online (2005) edition of the EMM by INALI, stats & history info for all municipios
  • INEGI, Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, National statistics & geography institute
    • Mapa digital de México, INEGI's searchable configurable digital map
  • UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México main site
    • UNAM library catalogue, historical documents holdings
    • UNAM colleciones mexicanas, materials relating to Mexican history
    • UNAM Latindex, Latin American studies links and journals
    • UNAM e-journals, includes a few online ones that are relevant to Mesoamerican studies
    • UNAM H-Mexico, History of Mexico online resources (in Spanish)
    • UNAM-IIE, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, art history research institute (incl. Pre-columbian) (in Spanish)
      • UNAM-IIE Imágenes, Revista electrónica of the IIE, has some precolumbian & colonial articles (in Spanish)
      • UNAM-IIE La pintura mural prehispánica de México, IIE Bulletin and project on precolumbian murals, all articles online, + other info (in Spanish)
      • UNAM-IIE Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, biannual journal, has some full text articles (incl. precolumbian/colonial) (in Spanish)
  • UADY, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán main site
    • UADY Yucatan identidad y cultura Maya, Yucatan and Maya historical and anthropological studies
  • Biblioteca Virtual de Yucatán, gobierno del estado de Yucatan; literature, history, maya language works

Guatemalan foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • Asociación Tikal, many online full PDFs of just about all papers at the annual Simposios de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala (SIAG)
  • ALMG Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala. Authority on Mayan languages, its orthography is used by many Mayanist sources. (in Spanish)
  • OKMA, La Asociación Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’, Guatemalan organisation for investigation and documentation of Mayan langs.
  • Atlas Arquelógico de Guatemala Govt. site, some maps and a very good repository of Guatemalan archaeological papers published in various sources, all downloadable as PDFs (see in particular "Otras publicaciones") (in Spanish)
  • MUNAE Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología de Guatemala, has imgs and occasional info on exhibits

Honduran foundations, institutions, collections and universities

Salvadoran foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • Congreso Centroamericano de Arqueología en El Salvador, papers from central american archaeological conferences in El Salvador

Colombian foundations, institutions, collections and universities

  • Arqueología en Latinoamérica: historias, formación académica y perspectivas temáticas: Memorias del Primer Seminario Internacional de Arqueología Uniandes, Universidad de los Andes, Bogota.

Mesoamerican lectures and presentations

  • US/Americas-based public lectures, presentations, etc- listing updated maintained at Mike Ruggeri's website

Summary of guidelines/conventions for editing Project-related articles. See WP:MESO/G for full details:

  • M01. Mesoamerica— it's Mesoamerica, not "Meso-America", "MesoAmerica" or "Meso America".
  • M02. English spelling— 'American' spelling is to be preferred over 'Commonwealth' or British spelling, for most articles. In any case, spelling should be consistent within an article.

Q'eqchi7 (talk) 14:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)*M03. "Maya vs. Mayan"— as a rule, only use the form Mayan when referring to languages; otherwise, Maya is used for everything else. In these senses, the two words are true adjectives, thus: "Maya architecture", "Mayan phonetics". The words may also be used as adjectival nouns, in which case "the Maya" can mean the people (as does "the French"), and "to study Mayan" can mean to study the Mayan language family. Both words can also be regular nouns, with regular -s plurals: "Three Mayas were taken to hospital" or "Three Mayans were hired as translators".

  • M04. Orthography of Mayan words— other than for certain widely recognised placenames and some others, it is recommended that when writing Mayan words and terminology that the orthography follow the conventions of the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (1988), a standard adopted by many current sources. The orthography in the former 'standard' (derived from 16thC Yukatek) should also be given where different, and in any case the orthography employed in an article should be consistent and the distinctions made clear between competing orthographies.
  • M05. Use of diacritics/accentsDiacritics (accent marks) should not be used in the names of archaeological sites, cultures, locales, etc. where the name wholly derives from an indigenous Mesoamerican language that doesn't use diacritics. Modern-day localities, municipios, or Spanish-derived names may use diacritics as appropriate.


WikiProject Mesoamerica

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