Maya Exploration Center: Education Through Exploration
Staff and Associates
Alonso Mendez
»Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Middlebury College, Vermont 1993
»Creating scale replicas of Palenque's ceramic incense burners
»Discovered unknown solar alignments in the temples at Palenque 2002

» Dr. Edwin Barnhart
» Dr. Christopher Powell
» Alonso Mendez
» Carol Karasik
» Chip Morris
» Dr. Kirk French
» James Eckhardt
» Dr. Michael Grofe
» Lilia Lizama
» Dr. David Hixson
» Dr. Gerardo Aldana
Born in San Cristobal de las Casas on February 6, 1964, Alonso spent much of his youth surrounded by the vibrant highland Maya culture of the Tzeltal and Tzotzil, as well as the emergent movement in anthropology and ethnography that occurred during the '60s and '70s. His Father, Alonso Mendez Ton, a Tzeltal Maya of Tenejapa, Chiapas, participated prominently in these studies as a cultural informant, translator, and liaison, while his Mother, Francisca T. Mendez, also played a key role in the Maya communities as an historian, facilitator, friend and participant in the social and ritual life of the Highland Maya. In this enivronment of dynamic contact between cultures Alonso grew and witnessed critical changes that altered the physical and cultural landscape of Chiapas.

Alonso attended Middlebury College, graduating in 1987 with a degree in Fine Arts. His skill as an artist would prove critically useful when in 1997 he joined the archaeological projects in Palenque, first as project artist with the Palenque Mapping Project and subsequently with the Proyecto Grupo de las Cruces and the Proyecto Arqueológico Palenque. During this time Alonso produced drawings that documented the new discoveries and developed 3D reconstructive drawings of the site.

In this atmosphere of discovery, he began to conduct astronomical investigations at Palenque and other important sites in the area, and discovered many new astronomical alignments in the major temples as well as new understanding of the hieroglyphic texts. He has published these findings and presented many of these in symposiums and conferences, and has participated in educational programs with focus on Indigenous science and knowledge. His most recent participation is as co-scriptwriter for the full dome planetary production of Maya astronomy for the Chabot Planetarium in San Francisco.
Suggested reading books can be bought at JungleCasts with Dr. Barnhart