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!

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.


Ricardo Agurcia
Copán, Honduras

Elizabeth Benson
Pre-Columbian Scholar and 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