Wikipedia:WikiProject Mesoamerica

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WikiProject Mesoamerica

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01. Project Definition
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Welcome to WikiProject Mesoamerica, a WikiProject which has been set up to improve the content, coverage and organization of articles related to Mesoamerica and its historical cultures and civilizations.

Sounds interesting- what is there to do?

A number of things:

WikiProject Mesoamerica has three main pages:

This is the Definition mainpage, which gives background, scope and supporting details for the Project.

This introductory section can be "hidden" via the [hide/show] toggle which appears to the right of the "01. Project Definition" title, above.

For more information on WikiProjects generally, please see Wikipedia:WikiProjects and WikiProject best practices.

Noticeboard shared by WP:MESO and WP:AZTEC
Current collaboration target(s): Mesoamerica
Southern Maya area
Classic Maya collapse
Zapotec languages
Moctezuma II (GA drive)

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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.

More on Project structure... | Comments and requests...

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.

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

Student participants[edit]

Details and areas of interest/expertise...

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[edit]

Internal (wikipedia/project) resource pages

Mesoamerica reference works and citations[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Accessible (external) resources.

Source documents[edit]

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[edit]

Secondary/Historical sources[edit]

Languages & dictionaries[edit]

  • 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, Nahuatl languages, Spanish, and 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 and 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[edit]

Mesoamerican studies websites[edit]

American foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

  • FAMSI Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., just about the most comprehensive source for academic papers, monographs and Mesoamerican resources.
  • 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:
  • AMNH American Museum of Natural History papers, includes some rare papers on Mesoamerican topics, among others
  • 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[edit]

Spanish foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Mexican foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Guatemalan foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Honduran foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Salvadoran foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Colombian foundations, institutions, collections and universities[edit]

Mesoamerican lectures and presentations[edit]

More tools and resources...

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".Reply[reply]

  • 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.

Details and exceptions... | Discussion and new proposals...

WikiProject Mesoamerica

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