More about the Maya Symposium


A budget for the symposium the following year was zapped but for historical record, here is the wonderful program we used to offer. FLAAR itself is very much alive and well in 1999 (and still in 2009). Presently FLAAR (2007-2009) has been doing projects in Mayan ethno-botany and ethno-zoology.


Speakers in past years have been leading Maya archaeologists from BELIZE,MEXICO, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, FRANCE, and GERMANY so you can look forward to getting a thorough education. After all, the goal of a community college is to serve the public.


What differentiates this BCC+FLAAR conference from the several other fine weekend Maya programs elsewhere in the world is the access to tantalizing samples of the 40,000 color slides of pre-Columbian pyramid-temple, palace,ballcourt architecture, ancient art, and artifacts of the full spectrum of Mesoamerican civilizations.


This conference (in sunny Florida, a nice change during winter) also offers memorable exhibits of photographs of Maya palace, pyramid, and temple architecture,monumental sculpture, and artifacts, by Jack Sulak and by Eldon Leiter,who have participated in F.L.A.A.R. expeditions over the past 15 years.


Architect David Morgan will be exhibiting more of his impressive 3-dimensional reconstruction drawings of BALLCOURT ARCHITECTURE OF MESOAMERICA. These are the preliminary drawings for an upcoming book on the role of ballcourt steps and stairways by Nicholas Hellmuth.

People from out-of-state, the regional Maya Societies (Washington,D.C., Minnesota, and especially the Institute of Maya Studies in Miami,etc.) have reported to us that they came in large part to get access to the renowned color photographic archive of pre-Columbian archaeology. Although the archive is popularly known for its strength in Maya images, in fact the BCC+FLAAR programs offer slide shows on such diverse topics as Mixtec gold, Olmec jade, and on the Teotihuacan aspects of the Cacaxtla murals.A F.L.A.A.R. camera crew spent 18 months full time photographing in museums and on sites throughout Mesoamerica between 1992 and 1995, aided by a quarter of a million dollars in grants, stipends, and donations. So you can calculate the quality of the resulting slides (all in Hasselblad size).


For example, the F.L.A.A.R. sessions feature slide shows with large format color images projected with Hasselblad and Rollei projectors. Thus this is the only Maya weekend which offers slides in 2 1/4 inch format (6x6 cm). These Hasselblad slides are 300% larger and brighter than traditional 35mm images.


People who attend the BCC+FLAAR symposium also have an opportunity to peruse the 4x5 inch format slides and the giant 8x10" format transparencies.The quality of these large format images is becoming legendary. Hellmuth is the only photographer in the world currently using an 8x10 camera out at the Maya sites and in the associated museums (the last person to drag a camera this large into the jungle was Teobert Maler, in the 19th century!).


In past years, attendees have come from California, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Maryland, Missouri, Alabama, Massachusetts,Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Washington, Arizona, and Georgia, because we work hard to prepare an educational event that provides plenty of factual information about advances in archaeological studies.


People have also come all the way from Guatemala, Japan, Canada, Holland, and Germany as well, so evidently the speakers and the F.L.A.A.R. photographic images offer archaeological data of a quantity and quality that Maya enthusiasts really want.


Many people who have already attended the popular Texas glyph workshops as well as the excellent programs at the University of Pennsylvania, have heard about our innovations and thus decided to try out these Florida programs. Once they arrive on campus they realize that BCC+FLAAR has a technological infrastructure which offers the high tech capability you would expect of a college just a few miles from the spaceport launch pads of Cape Canaveral. Several veterans of these other workshops have reported to us how distinctive they have found the BCC+FLAAR format and focus. The quality of the color slides used in Parts I, III and IV seems to leave a favorable impression.


The original photos are tack-sharp, taken with a sophisticated rollout camera (made in Belgium).The 70mm film (similar to 120 size format of a Hasselblad) produces a wonderful print.

Unfortunately, by the time these professional photos are scanned at low resolution, then reduced to 72 dpi for the Internet, then JPEG-ed, there is not much left.

See our site on Digital Photography for the latest infromation.

Copan, Honduras, rollout by Nicholas Hellmuth, F.L.A.A.R. Photo Archive, photography with permission courtesy of IHAH


With our Hasselblad projector, you can now see sample rollouts five feet high by five feet wide. Just imagine how much easier it is to learn about the Maya deities,about Mayan hieroglyphs on polychrome vases. Maya iconography will become much clearer in your mind when you can see the images "life-size"with throne-room scenes enlarged to full proportions on the screen--and with a capable archaeologist to explain these images to you. 

If you like these images at 72 dpi, just imagine what you can expect to see when a Hasselblad projector enlarges the temples, palaces, art, and artifacts on a giant screen. For those of you who like Mayan hieroglyphs,you can certainly see more detail in this format than you can with a miniature thumbnail picture. We have entire PSSequences shot with Hasselblad format with each individual hieroglyph at 1:1 scale, to reveal 100% of the phonetic and iconographic features inside each glyph block.

We will show desktop color printing equipment and in general provide you with everything you need to set this system up in your own home or office. After a 6-month training session in the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan, we have the latest in hardware, software, and digital imaging/desktop publishing techniques to show to you. Jack Sulak was a Research Associate in Japan along with Professor Hellmuth, and he will also be demonstrating the wonders of the digital revolution and how it can be applied to archaeological research.

We will demonstrate how iconography and epigraphy can be revolutionized by being handled in digital format. We will reveal how to bring out details in the traditional photograph of an eroded vase surface that were not fully visible to the naked eye.


To contact people who have attended in past years, in order to get an outside opinion on what you can expect at this annual Maya meeting you may wish to contact :

Eldon Leiter,
tel (816) 826-3738,

or Jack Sulak, e-mail
[email protected]


Updated November 9, 2009
New page format posted July 24, 2009