Data spanning the Archaic to Early Postclassic are presented, with particular analytical focus given to the end of the Early Classic through the Late and Terminal Classic and the geopolitical tumult that defined this period. Cast in the framework of political ecology, together these studies not only shed light on specific class histories of the region. They also advance a theory for understanding the contributions of non-elites to political growth and change over time. Classic Maya Political Ecology opens a window into pre-Columbian political processes grounded in environmental productivity and a mutual interdependence that defined class relations in northwestern Belize. This volume also outlines a theoretical approach that defines commoners and elites alike as political actors, people who contributed to the long term success and adaptability of local and regional political communities and the networks that sustained them.
Ancient Maya Commerce presents nearly two decades of multidisciplinary research at Chunchucmil, Yucatan, Mexico—a thriving Classic period Maya center organized around commercial exchange rather than agriculture. An urban center without a king and unable to sustain agrarian independence, Chunchucmil is a rare example of a Maya city in which economics, not political rituals, served as the engine of growth. Trade was the raison d’être of the city itself. Using a variety of evidence—archaeological, botanical, geomorphological, and soil-based—contributors show how the city was a major center for both short- and long-distance trade, integrating the Guatemalan highlands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the interior of the northern Maya lowlands. By placing Chunchucmil into the broader context of emerging research at other Maya cities, the book reorients the understanding of ancient Maya economies. The book is accompanied by a highly detailed digital map that reveals the dense population of the city and the hundreds of streets its inhabitants constructed to make the city navigable, shifting the knowledge of urbanism among the ancient Maya. Ancient Maya Commerce is a pioneering, thoroughly documented case study of a premodern market center and makes a strong case for the importance of early market economies in the Maya region. It will be a valuable addition to the literature for Mayanists, Mesoamericanists, economic anthropologists, and environmental archaeologists. Contributors: Anthony P. Andrews, Traci Ardren, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Timothy Beach, Chelsea Blackmore, Tara Bond-Freeman, Bruce H. Dahlin, Patrice Farrell, David Hixson, Socorro Jimenez, Justin Lowry, Aline Magnoni, Eugenia Mansell, Daniel E. Mazeau, Travis Stanton, Ryan V. Sweetwood, Richard E. Terry
For instance, traditional subsistence agriculture is broadly sustainable at current population densities, but hunting is not, and modern mechanized agriculture has an uncertain future." "Bringing the voice of contemporary Maya to every page, the authors offer an encyclopedic overview of the region: history, environment, agriculture, medicine, social relations, and economy. Whether discussing the fine points of beekeeping or addressing the problem of deforestation, they provide a remarkably detailed account that immerses readers in the landscape.".
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.
This exciting collection explores the interplay of religion and politics in the precolumbian Americas. Each thought-provoking contribution positions religion as a primary factor influencing political innovations in this period, reinterpreting major changes through an examination of how religion both facilitated and constrained transformations in political organization and status relations. Offering unparalleled geographic and temporal coverage of this subject, Religion and Politics in the Ancient Americas spans the entire precolumbian period, from Preceramic Peru to the Contact period in eastern North America, with case studies from North, Middle, and South America. Religion and Politics in the Ancient Americas considers the ways in which religion itself generated political innovation and thus enabled political centralization to occur. It moves beyond a "Great Tradition" focus on elite religion to understand how local political authority was negotiated, contested, bolstered, and undermined within diverse constituencies, demonstrating how religion has transformed non-Western societies. As well as offering readers fresh perspectives on specific archaeological cases, this book breaks new ground in the archaeological examination of religion and society.
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.
This volume summarizes many aspects of more than twenty years of field research at the ancient Maya city of Blue Creek in northwestern Belize. Blue Creek was a medium-sized Maya kingdom whose wealth was built upon access to large-scale and high-quality agricultural lands and its location at the headwaters of the Rio Hondo. The Rio Hondo is the northern-most river draining the Maya lowlands into the Caribbean Sea and provided access to markets and polities of northern Yucatan. The studies in the volume provide an overview of Blue Creek combined with detailed studies of aspects of production, trade, distribution, and the organization and functional interactions within the community.
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 rich findings of recent exploration and research are incorporated in this completely revised and greatly expanded sixth edition of this standard work on the Maya people. New field discoveries, new technical advances, new successes in the decipherment of Maya writing, and new theoretical perspectives on the Maya past have made this new edition necessary.