Research Contribution 13

The Neria Collection, Uaxactún, Guatemala: Volume 2

With the current publication, the Neria Collection is now essentially 100% published online for worldwide access. These remarkable pieces have a range of shapes, styles, motifs, colors, and designs not seen before by Mesoamerican students.

Ceramic studies in the last century have focused on polychrome pots with hieroglyphic inscriptions, the top-tier vessels smuggled out of Petén (and elsewhere) to collectors around the world, pieces that may be the legitimate subject of analysis, interpretation, publication, and museum exhibits, but present a false picture of the totality of Maya ceramics. The second and third tier pieces are not purchased or shown by wealthy collectors and fly under most researchers’ radar.

Thanks to Neria Virginia Herrera Pinelo and her brother José Antonio Pinelo, more than 500 pieces have been saved, and thanks to Sofia Paredes Maury, former student of Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and current director of La Ruta Maya Foundation, they are cataloged and registered with the Guatemalan authorities at the Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage.

As we speak, Neria’s museum is being expanded and improved, benefiting not only the pieces themselves but helping the community of Uaxactún to increase its tourism, an economic boon for the town that is so close to Tikal yet not on most tourists’ itineraries. Bernhard “Bernie” Kurt Mittelstaedt, in close collaboration with Neria and Tono, is overseeing renovation and structural improvements at the museum made possible by various donors.

As I scroll through these images, assembled so tastefully by co-publisher Meghan Rubenstein, I give thanks to Neria and all who have helped to preserve this magnificent body of Classic Maya ceramics.

Ramonalito Stela 1 Regarding the single stela published at the end of the ceramic catalog, this modest-size monument, carved on one side only, is curated by Doña Neria and kept at her El Chiclero compound in Uaxactún. It is from the site of El Ramonalito, a site unknown to me but presumably somewhere near Campamento El Ramonal, which in turn is said to be in the Uaxactún-Dos Lagunas area, a vaguely defined region listed as the place of origin for many of the ceramic pieces in the present catalog.

Bruce Love
March 1, 2023
Juniper Hills, California

Suggested citation: Love, Bruce and Meghan Rubenstein. “La Colección del Museo Dr. Juan Antonio Valdes, Uaxactún, Guatemala: Volumen 2” Contributions to Mesoamerican Studies, March 1, 2023.

Downloadable PDF: La Colección del Museo Dr. Juan Antonio Valdes, Vol. 2, Bruce Love and Meghan Rubenstein

See Research Contribution 11 to download Volume 1 of this collection: La Colección del Museum Dr. Juan Antonio Valdez, Uaxactún, Guatemala: Volumen 1