The Maya Image Archive

The Maya Image Archive is freely accessible and provides free content. It is provided by the project Textdatenbank und Wörterbuch des Klassischen Maya (TWKM) directed by Nikolai Grube.

The project was established at the Department for the Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities in 2014.

search picture
The Maya Image Archive is intended to host research materials provided by various scholars, such as Karl Herbert Mayer, Berthold Riese, Stephan Merk and others. Comprising image collections with photographs, drawings, notes and manuscripts, the Maya Image Archive allows the user to browse through the results of several decades of research trips through the entire Maya region.

Forming the backbone of the Maya Image Archive, the black-and-white photo archive of Karl Herbert Mayer comprises thousands of photographs, dating from 1974 to 2006. During his numerous trips, Karl Herbert Mayer focused particularly on documenting sculpted and painted monuments with iconographic or epigraphic content. For that purpose he not only visited numerous museums and archaeological collections, but also explored the most remote archaeological sites in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. In the near future, the complete collection of Karl Herbert Mayer’s photographs will be made accessible to the public, enhancing and complementing the comprehensive documentation that Karl Herbert Mayer had already provided in his well known series of publications on unprovenanced Maya monuments (published 1978, 1980, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1995) and hundreds of articles in academic journals. Monuments of unknown origin are designated as “Unknown Provenance” and abbreviated with PNK (“provenance not known”). The following abbreviation KHM 4 – 74 for example refers to Karl Herbert Mayer’s volume 4 (1987) and catalogue number 74.

Free content and access without login


All media and information presented in the database are freely accessible. The database can be used immediately and without login. You are automatically logged in as a guest. Start your search and click on the Simple Search or on the Expert Search which you find in the menu on the left and you’re ready to go!

For detailed information about the Maya Image Database go to: Help

​Note: Internet Explorer cannot display images of the Maya Image Archive. Please use a different browser.