Architecture and the Origins of Preclassic Maya Politics highlights the dramatic changes in the relationship of ancient Maya peoples to the landscape and to each other in the Preclassical period (ca. 2000 BC–250 AD). Offering a comprehensive history of Preclassic Maya society, James Doyle focuses on recent discoveries of early writing, mural painting, stone monuments, and evidence of divine kingship that have reshaped our understanding of cultural developments in the first millennium BC. He also addresses one of the crucial concerns of contemporary archaeology: the emergence of political authorities and their subjects in early complex polities. Doyle shows how architectural trends in the Maya Lowlands in the Preclassic period exhibit the widespread cross-cultural link between monumental architecture of imposing intent, human collaboration, and urbanism.
The Maya World brings together over 60 authors, representing the fields of archaeology, art history, epigraphy, geography, and ethnography, who explore cutting-edge research on every major facet of the ancient Maya and all sub-regions within the Maya world. The Maya world, which covers Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, contains over a hundred ancient sites that are open to tourism, eight of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and many thousands more that have been dug or await investigation. In addition to captivating the lay public, the ancient Maya have attracted scores of major interdisciplinary research expeditions and hundreds of smaller projects going back to the 19th century, making them one of the best-known ancient cultures. The Maya World explores their renowned writing system, towering stone pyramids, exquisitely painted murals, and elaborate funerary tombs as well as their creative agricultural strategies, complex social, economic, and political relationships, widespread interactions with other societies, and remarkable cultural resilience in the face of historical ruptures. This is an invaluable reference volume for scholars of the ancient Maya, including archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists.
A demographic evaluation of an ancient Mayan citadel which helps to resolve debates about how the Maya made a living, the nature of their socio-political systems, how they created an impressive built environment, and places them in plausible comparative context with what is known about other ancient complex societies.
3,000 Years of War and Peace in the Maya Lowlands presents the cutting-edge research of 25 authors in the fields of archaeology, biological anthropology, art history, ethnohistory, and epigraphy. Together, they explore issues central to ancient Maya identity, political history, and warfare. The Maya lowlands of Guatemala, Belize, and southeast Mexico have witnessed human occupation for at least 11,000 years, and settled life reliant on agriculture began some 3,100 years ago. From the earliest times, Maya communities expressed their shifting identities through pottery, architecture, stone tools, and other items of material culture. Although it is tempting to think of the Maya as a single unified culture, they were anything but homogeneous, and differences in identity could be expressed through violence. 3,000 Years of War and Peace in the Maya Lowlands explores the formation of identity, its relationship to politics, and its manifestation in warfare from the earliest pottery-making villages through the late colonial period by studying the material remains and written texts of the Maya. This volume is an invaluable reference for students and scholars of the ancient Maya, including archaeologists, art historians, and anthropologists.
Urbanization is a phenomenon that brings into focus a range of topics of broad interest to scholars. It is one of the central, enduring interests of anthropological archaeology. Because urbanization is a transformational process, it changes the relationships between social and cultural variables such as demography, economy, politics, and ideology. As one of a handful of cases in the ancient world where cities developed independently, Mesoamerica should play a major role in the global, comparative analysis of first-generation cities and urbanism in general. Yet most research focuses on later manifestations of urbanism in Mesoamerica, thereby perpetuating the fallacy that Mesoamerican cities developed relatively late in comparison to urban centers in the rest of the world. This volume presents new data, case studies, and models for approaching the subject of early Mesoamerican cities. It demonstrates how the study of urbanism in Mesoamerica, and all ancient civilizations, is entering a new and dynamic phase of scholarship.
This volume accompanies a major international loan exhibition featuring more than three hundred works of art, many rarely or never before seen in the United States. It traces the development of gold working and other luxury arts in the Americas from antiquity until the arrival of Europeans in the early sixteenth century. Presenting spectacular works from recent excavations in Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico, this exhibition focuses on specific places and times—crucibles of innovation—where artistic exchange, rivalry, and creativity led to the production of some of the greatest works of art known from the ancient Americas. The book and exhibition explore not only artistic practices but also the historical, cultural, social, and political conditions in which luxury arts were produced and circulated, alongside their religious meanings and ritual functions. Golden Kingdoms creates new understandings of ancient American art through a thematic exploration of indigenous ideas of value and luxury. Central to the book is the idea of the exchange of materials and ideas across regions and across time: works of great value would often be transported over long distances, or passed down over generations, in both cases attracting new audiences and inspiring new artists. The idea of exchange is at the intellectual heart of this volume, researched and written by twenty scholars based in the United States and Latin America.
Ancient Maya Political Economies examines variation in systems of economic production and exchange and how these systems supported the power networks that integrated Maya society. Using models originally developed by William L. Rathje, the authors explore core-periphery relations, the use of household analysis to reconstruct political economy, and
This book is concerned with the historical reality recorded on Classic Maya monuments of the first millennium AD, its interpretation in terms of social and political interaction within and between states, and the better understanding of Maya civilization that is emerging from a more accurate perception of the role of its ruling elites.
The Pre-Columbian Maya were organized into a series of independent kingdoms or polities rather than unified into a single state. The vast majority of studies of Maya states focus on the apogee of their development in the classic period, ca. 250-850 C.E. As a result, Maya states are defined according to the specific political structures that characterized classic period lowland Maya society. The Origins of Maya States is the first study in over 30 years to examine the origins and development of these states specifically during the preceding preclassic period, ca. 1000 B.C.E. to 250 C.E. Attempts to understand the origins of Maya states cannot escape the limitations of archaeological data, and this is complicated by both the variability of Maya states in time and space and the interplay between internal development and external impacts. To mitigate these factors, editors Loa P. Traxler and Robert J. Sharer assemble a collection of essays that combines an examination of topical issues with regional perspectives from both the Maya area and neighboring Mesoamerican regions to highlight the role of interregional interaction in the evolution of Maya states. Topics covered include material signatures for the development of Maya states, evaluations of extant models for the emergence of Maya states, and advancement of new models based on recent archaeological data. Contributors address the development of complexity during the preclassic era within the Maya regions of the Pacific coast, highlands, and lowlands and explore preclassic economic, social, political, and ideological systems that provide a developmental context for the origins of Maya states. Contributors: Marcello A. Canuto, John E. Clark, Ann Cyphers, Francisco Estrada-Belli, David C. Grove, Norman Hammond, Richard D. Hansen, Eleanor King, Michael Love, Simon Martin, Astrid Runggaldier, Robert Sharer, Loa Traxler.
How did the ancient Maya rule their world? Despite more than a century of archaeological investigation and glyphic decipherment, the nature of Maya political organization and political geography has remained an open question. Many debates have raged over models of centralization versus decentralization, superordinate and subordinate status—with far-flung analogies to emerging states in Europe, Asia, and Africa. But Prudence Rice asserts that neither the model of two giant "superpowers" nor that which postulates scores of small, weakly independent polities fits the accumulating body of material and cultural evidence. In this groundbreaking book, Rice builds a new model of Classic lowland Maya (AD 179-948) political organization and political geography. Using the method of direct historical analogy, she integrates ethnohistoric and ethnographic knowledge of the Colonial-period and modern Maya with archaeological, epigraphic, and iconographic data from the ancient Maya. On this basis of cultural continuity, she constructs a convincing case that the fundamental ordering principles of Classic Maya geopolitical organization were the calendar (specifically a 256-year cycle of time known as the may) and the concept of quadripartition, or the division of the cosmos into four cardinal directions. Rice also examines this new model of geopolitical organization in the Preclassic and Postclassic periods and demonstrates that it offers fresh insights into the nature of rulership, ballgame ritual, and warfare among the Classic lowland Maya.