The European Association of Mayanists, Wayeb, is an academically oriented non-profit association that promotes Maya Studies in Europe. It was created in 1996 by a group of young scholars seeking to build academic contacts.
Maya Studies in Europe
Maya Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that relies on research results from various academic disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics or art history. Important sub-fields of research are epigraphy, iconography, ethnography and ethnohistory. There are very few academic institutions in the world that investigate ancient and modern Maya Culture by interconnecting these disciplines and research fields. Mayanists, therefore, depend on the opportunity to attend international research symposia, organise themselves within academic associations and form research networks.
Although the study of Ancient Maya Culture has a long European tradition, such networks have for the most part remained within the national borders.
Short Wayeb History
The first European Conference on Classic Maya Culture held at the British Museum in London in June 1996 brought together professionals, students and amateurs from Europe interested in Ancient Maya Culture. Later in the year, a group of young scholars met again in Brussels to exchange ideas, foster inter-European communication and create an association that would help Mayanists in Europe maintain contact and academic relations beyond their own countries. Wayeb – Asociación Europea de Mayistas – was registered on 14th of July 1998 under Belgian law with the official registration number: 7/EGLS/14.085/S (3e sectie).
Over the past years, this association that started out in 1996 with less than ten young scholars has grown and has become the basic network and main platform for young Mayanists within Europe.
Although basically European in organisation, Wayeb is open to scholars and amateurs of all nationalities. Today, Wayeb has members from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, as well as Mexico and the United States.
Objectives and Activities
It is Wayeb’s main objective to develop and promote research on Maya civilisation by associating, uniting and disseminating the scientific efforts and actions of European scholars, students and amateurs from various (sub-)disciplines of the field.
Wayeb is designed as a network that forms bonds between European Mayanists, organises scientific exchange and creates space for sharing news, results and data. Wayeb, furthermore, connects academia with the general public. The group of European Mayanists who came together for the first Maya conference at the British Museum in 1996 also organised subsequent meetings in Leiden, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Bonn. In continuing to bring together professionals, students and amateurs for an annual conference and workshop on hieroglyphic writing, they have formed and shaped the European Maya Conference (EMC), which is today an internationally acknowledged academic event.
In 2001, Wayeb officially assumed (institutional) responsibility for the European Maya Conference Series.