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Iyaxel Cojti Ren

Doctoral candidate (Postclassic Archaeology of the Highlands, Ethnohistory of Mesoamerica, Maya Epigraphy)

Iyaxel Cojti Ren, a K’iche’ Maya from Chichicastenango, is an archaeologist focused on the Guatemalan highlands during the Postclassic period.  Since the beginning of her  studies in archeology, she was passionate about indigenous texts written during the Colonial Period and how their content was connected with the culture and history of her own linguistic community and other groups from the highlands of Guatemala.  Her dissertation seeks to discuss the internal and external factors that fostered the inception of the Kaqchikel polity and to trace the social relationships between the Kaqchikel and the K’iche’ to better understand how the former managed to go from being dependent allies and military auxiliaries for the K’iche’ elite to become an expansionist polity. This study aims to enrich the discussion about the proliferation of small polities during the Postclassic Period in the Maya Highlands.  For her dissertation, she directed the Chi Awär Archaeological Project, a Kaqchikel site located in the Chichicastenango municipality.   

Her professional experience includes jobs with well-known institutions in Guatemala including UVG, FLACSO, ALMG, FAFG and with the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (IIWF-FIMI).  Iyaxel is also a member of the Sak Chuwen Group since 2010, which aims to organize workshops in indigenous communities throughout Guatemala to study the ancient Maya writing system and a variety of topics related with the Maya civilization. 

Specializations

Postclassic Archaeology of the Highlands, Ethnohistory of Mesoamerica, Maya Epigraphy, and Civil War in Guatemala (specifically the Quiche region).