Research at the Institute of Maya Studies is conducted primarily by Research Director, Joaquin J. Rodriguez III PE, SECB. His expertise as a building engineer and passion for the Maya qualify him to continue his endeavor to understand the methods and materials utilized by the Maya in building the monumental cities they are known for.
The first of his results has been published in "Analysis and Design of Wood Lintel Beams in Maya Building Construction." This culminates about 15 years of research at IMS, with the participation of many of its members and in conjunction with other institutions.
We have also formalized the beginning of another research project. The Board of Directors has approved sponsorship of the "Maya Lime Mortar Mix Project." This project, involving Dr. Ed Kurjack, Professor Emeritus of Western Illinois University, Dr. D. Clark Wernecke of the University of Texas, Tomas Gallareta Negron of INAH Yucatan, and Joaquin will investigate the actual chemical mix of Maya mortar (and its related combination: lime plaster). Although the basic chemistry of slaked lime re-carbonation is well known and still in use today, the actual mix used by the Maya -- or their possible use of silicate admixtures -- is not known.
We intend to test sufficient samples, across regional sub-groups and time spans, to try to establish this. Also we intend to prepare varying mixes to try to approximate the Maya use.
Due to the nature of some of these tests, this project will incur serious expenses. In view of this, the Board of Directors has approved the creation of a separate "Research Fund" to help defray some of these costs. We are planning to apply for grants, but some seed money may be necessary to demonstrate the viability of the program.
We urge members to contribute to this fund, either personally or from friendly corporate sources. All donations are fully tax deductible. Just mark clearly "for research fund" on any donation check, which can be sent to our treasurer, Beth Wiggert, at our museum address. No donation is too small.