Interview Archives

Interview Archives

This archive contains the transcripts of 24 interviews filmed for Breaking the Maya Code. Totaling almost a thousand pages, these interviews explore a wealth of topics in the history of the Maya decipherment and in Maya epigraphy, iconography, linguistics, archaeology, and ethnography. There’s something here for everybody, not just for scholars, as Ian Graham discovers a vast city in the jungle… Barbara MacLeod explores Maya caves filled with clues to ancient rituals… Nikolai Grube encounters a shape-shifting shaman…. Federico Fahsen unearths a hieroglyphic stairway with clues to the Maya collapse. Dig in and see what you unearth!


Ricardo Agurcia
Copán, Honduras
Elizabeth Benson
Pre-Columbian Scholar/Curator
Washington, DC
Michael D. Coe
Archaeologist and Author
Yale University


Federico Fahsen
Epigrapher and Architect
Guatemala City, Guatemala
William. L. Fash
Director, Peabody Museum
Harvard University
David Freidel
Southern Methodist University


Lolmay Garcia Matzar
Linguist and Educator
OKMA, Antigua, Guatemala
Ian Graham
Director Emeritus
Maya Corpus Project
Harvard University
Gillett Griffin
Art Historian
Princeton, New Jersey


Nikolai Grube
Epigrapher and Ethnographer
University of Bonn, Germany
Kathryn Josserand &
Nicholas Hopkins

Florida State University
David Kelley
Archaeologist and Epigrapher
University of Calgary


Justin Kerr
New York City
Barbara MacLeod
Linguist and Epigrapher
Austin, Texas
Simon Martin
Epigrapher and Historian
University of Pennsylvania Museum


Peter Mathews
Archaeologist and Epigrapher
La Trobe University, Melbourne
Merle Greene Robertson
Artist and Photographer
Director, Pre-Columbian
Art Research Institute, San Francisco
Linda Schele
Art Historian and Epigrapher
University of Texas, Austin


Nikté Sis Iboy
Director, OKMA
Antigua, Guatemala
David Stuart
Art Historian and Epigrapher
University of Texas
George Stuart
Archaeologist and Historian
Boundary End Research Center
North Carolina


Barbara and Dennis Tedlock
State University of New York, Buffalo
Angél Xiloj
Momostenango, Guatemala


Please note: Because these are transcripts of interviews made for use in a film, they have certain stylistic idiosyncrasies.  Crew talk and false starts have generally been eliminated here to make for easier reading.  Sometimes the interviewee was asked to repeat a statement for technical reasons or so that a second angle could be filmed; in these cases both statements have been retained if they contain uniquely interesting material.These are informal discussions and reminiscences.  As in all conversations, there may be errors in the recall of specific facts and dates, and past events are often recalled differently by several participants. Single statements should therefore not be taken as historically authoritative without corroboration from other sources.

It should also be kept in mind that these are transcripts prepared for film use by a transcription service. The transcripts have been reviewed by our production staff and in many cases by the interviewees, but not with the scholarly care one would apply to documents intended for publication.  Errors, particularly in the spelling of personal names and Maya words, no doubt remain.  We welcome corrections; if you discover errors, please go to contact us on this web site and send us an email.

The interview with Linda Schele was conducted by Michael Coe and David Lebrun; the interview with Angél Xiloj was conducted by Dennis Tedlock and David Lebrun; all other interviews were conducted by David Lebrun.