Textdatenbank und Wörterbuch
des Klassischen Maya

Author Archives: Nikolai Grube

Punctuation Marks in Ceramic Texts

The use of punctuation marks has not been documented for classic Maya hieroglyphic writing so far. However, we know from colonial Yucatec dictionaries of the 16th and 17th century that there was a term for inserting such marks. Two dictionaries, the San Francisco dictionary and the Diccionario de la Lengua Maya by Juan Pio Pérez mention terms such as t’a h ts’ib „tilde, puntos en la escritura“ and u t’ahal sabak, which are compounds based on the nouns t’ah „drops of a liquid“, sabak „ink“ and tz’ib „writing“ respectively. Thunil dzib “drop writing” was another word for “punto en escritura”. Colonial Yucatec scribes thus had access to a philological terminology, but we do not know for sure whether these concepts already existed in the pre-Hispanic period, or whether they are the result of contact with European scribal practice. Only a few authors have so far commented on the topic of punctuation in the Maya script, including Martha Macri and Matthew Looper, who deny the existence of punctuation or signs indicative of reading known from the Maya script.

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A Logogram for YAH „Wound“

Among the many logographic signs which so far have escaped decipherment is a head sign which shows a V-shaped stepped design in its interior. The sign has been identified by Eric Thompson as T1078. A closer look at the sign shows that its full form includes a small attached prefix with “darkness” markings representing an obsidian tool, perhaps a knife that was used for sacrificial purposes. It is argued here that the wounded head with the knife is a logogram YA or YAH for „wound“.

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Annual Report 2017

Project Report 5

The subject of the research project “Text Database and Dictionary of Classic Mayan” (German Textdatenbank und Wörterbuch des Klassischen Maya, TWKM) is the hieroglyphic script of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization that was used between ca. 300 BCE – 1500 CE in the region including the contemporary nation states of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.

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Jahresbericht 2017

Project Report 5

Forschungsgegenstand des Projekts “Textdatenbank und Wörterbuch des Klassischen Maya” (TWKM) ist die Hieroglyphenschrift der vorspanischen Mayakultur, die in der Zeit zwischen circa 300 v. Chr. und 1500 n. Chr. auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Staaten Mexiko, Guatemala, Belize und Honduras verwendet wurde.

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The Logogram JALAM

Research Note 3

Several logographic signs in Maya hieroglyphic writing resist decipherment because they occur only in a few and semantically very limited contexts. One of these idiosyncratic logograms is the sign which is listed as T284 in the Thompson catalogue. However, in the case of this sign, a series of syllabic spellings provides a key for its unequivocal decipherment.

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Nikolai Grube

Studied Anthropology of the Americas, Ethnology, Assyriology, and Indology in Hamburg. Received scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation. Obtained doctorate in Hamburg in 1989 with a dissertation about the development of the Maya script. After completing of doctoral studies, moved to Bonn and organized the exhibition „The World of the Maya“ (Hildesheim, Vienna, Mannheim, Cologne) in collaboration with the Roemer-und-Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim.

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Nikolai Grube

Studium der Altamerikanistik, Ethnologie, Altorientalistik und Indologie in Hamburg. Stipendiat der Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. 1989 Promotion in Hamburg mit einer Arbeit über die Entwicklung der Mayaschrift. Nach der Promotion Wechsel an die Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn und Organisation der Ausstellung „Die Welt der Maya“ in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Roemer-und-Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim.

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Nikolai Grube

Estudios de Maestría en Antropología de las Américas, Orientalística Antigua e Indología en la Universidad de Hamburgo. Becario de la Fundación de Estudios del Pueblo Alemán (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). En 1989 obtiene el doctorado en la Universidad de Hamburgo con un estudio sobre el desarrollo de la escritura maya. Posteriormente se traslada a la Universidad de Bonn y organiza, en colaboración con el museo Roemer y Pelizaeus de Hildesheim, la exposición „El Mundo Maya“ (Hildesheim, Wien, Mannheim, Köln).

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