post by Helen

Sorry for the lag in blog posts recently, but things have been crazy busy! Alex and I have been celebrating the birthdays of our host-brother Andrei and our host-father Filemón--a very exciting week!

We've also been spending our afternoons studying the Zapotec language variant from the town of Teotitlán del Valle, but on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, we wake up extra early to go to paleography class. For those of you unfamiliar with the discipline of paleography (as I was) It turns out that paleography actually is as awesome as it sounds. Essentially, paleography is the discipline of transcribing ancient documents. 

PictureThis is our wonderful teacher, Claudia
Most of the things that Alex and I are transcribing are documents from the 1500-1600s: photocopies of wills, royal provisions, and business documents that are housed in an amazing archive here in Oaxaca. Most of the work involves deciphering not only the intricate script but also memorizing the commonly-used abbreviations and symbols. It's hard work, but by the end of our time here Alex and I will hopefully be able to read any kind of document imaginable (maybe even my own handwriting...)

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