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date: 03 December 2022

Digital Resources: Multepal, Mesoamerican Studies, and the Popol Wujlocked

Digital Resources: Multepal, Mesoamerican Studies, and the Popol Wujlocked

  • Allison Margaret BigelowAllison Margaret BigelowDepartment of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia
  •  and Rafael C. AlvaradoRafael C. AlvaradoData Science Institute, University of Virginia


The Multepal project is an online thematic research collection devoted to the aggregation, integration, and presentation of primary and secondary sources to support the teaching and research of Mesoamerican culture. The current focus of the project is to create a digital critical edition of the Popol Wuj, or Popol Vuh, as it appears in colonial orthography, a genre-defying work from the Maya K’iche’ world that is considered one of the most important indigenous texts to survive the Spanish conquest. The Multepal edition of the Popol Wuj consists of page facsimiles, marked-up textual transcriptions (using TEI), scholarly annotations, and a linked network of characters, places, technologies, and other topics referenced in the story. These tools allow readers to understand the text in its full historical, cultural, and cosmological complexity. The project was originally developed in a graduate seminar in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. It is currently supported by the School of Data Science and the DH@UVa initiative at the University of Virginia. The project title derives from the Yukatekan word Multepal, which refers to a pre-Columbian model of collaborative political organization that the project seeks to emulate through interdisciplinarity and collaboration with early-career and established scholars in the United States and, eventually, through substantial and sustainable exchanges with colleagues in Guatemala.


  • History of Central America
  • Digital Innovations, Sources, and Interdisciplinary Approaches
  • Indigenous History

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