Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya provides an A-to-Z overview of the ancient Maya culture from its inception to the Spanish Conquest. Exploring Maya society, celebrations, and achievements, as well as new insights into Maya culture and collapse, this is a sophisticated yet accessible introduction suitable for students and general readers.
To the four great calligraphic traditions - ancient Egyptian, East Asian, Islamic, and western European - is now added a fifth: that of the ancient Maya. Long known but little understood, Maya writing has now largely been deciphered, leading to a new understanding of the Maya scribes and the society in which they lived. This volume is the first to make full use of the latest research and the first to consider Maya writing both aesthetically and in terms of its meaning. Michael D. Coe begins by examining the origins and character of the script. He then explores the world of the scribes and "keepers of the holy books", decoding their depiction in Maya art and describing the mediums in which they worked, their tools, and techniques.
Trading was the favorite occupation of the Maya, according to early Spanish observers such as Fray Diego de Landa (1566). Yet scholars of the Maya have long dismissed trade—specifically, market exchange—as unimportant. They argue that the Maya subsisted primarily on agriculture, with long-distance trade playing a minor role in a largely non-commercialized economy. The Ancient Maya Marketplace reviews the debate on Maya markets and offers compelling new evidence for the existence and identification of ancient marketplaces in the Maya Lowlands. Its authors rethink the prevailing views about Maya economic organization and offer new perspectives. They attribute the dearth of Maya market research to two factors: persistent assumptions that Maya society and its rainforest environment lacked complexity, and an absence of physical evidence for marketplaces—a problem that plagues market research around the world. Many Mayanists now agree that no site was self-sufficient, and that from the earliest times robust local and regional exchange existed alongside long-distance trade. Contributors to this volume suggest that marketplaces, the physical spaces signifying the presence of a market economy, did not exist for purely economic reasons but served to exchange information and create social ties as well. The Ancient Maya Marketplace offers concrete links between Maya archaeology, ethnohistory, and contemporary cultures. Its in-depth review of current research will help future investigators to recognize and document marketplaces as a long-standing Maya cultural practice. The volume also provides detailed comparative data for premodern societies elsewhere in the world.
Located within the deep tropical rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico, the Maya site of Bonampak is home to the most complete and magnificent mural program of the ancient Americas. In three rooms, a pageant of rulership opens up, scene by scene, like pages of an ancient Maya book. Painted c. AD 800, the murals of Bonampak reveal a complex and multifaceted view of the ancient Maya at the end of their splendor during the last days of the Classic era. Members of the royal court engage in rituals and perform human sacrifice, dance in extravagant costumes and strip the clothing from fallen captives, acknowledge foreign nobles, and receive abundant tribute. The murals are a powerful and sophisticated reflection on the spectacle of courtly life and the nature of artistic practice, a window onto a world that could not know its doomed future. This major new study of the paintings of Bonampak incorporates insights from decades of art historical, epigraphic, and technical investigation of the murals, framing questions about artistic conception, facture, narrative, performance, and politics. Lavishly illustrated, this book assembles thorough documentation of the Bonampak mural program, from historical photographs of the paintings—some never before published—to new full-color reconstructions by artist Heather Hurst, recipient of a MacArthur award, and Leonard Ashby. The book also includes a catalog of photographs, infrared images, and line drawings of the murals, as well as images of all the glyphic texts, which are published in their entirety for the first time. Written in an engaging style that invites both specialists and general readers alike, this book will stand as the definitive presentation of the paintings for years to come.
The meanings of ritualized head treatments among ancient Mesoamerican and Andean peoples is the subject of this book, the first overarching coverage of an important subject. Heads are sources of power that protect, impersonate, emulate sacred forces, distinguish, or acquire identity within the native world. The essays in this book examine these themes in a wide array of indigenous head treatments, including facial cosmetics and hair arrangements, permanent cranial vault and facial modifications, dental decorations, posthumous head processing, and head hunting. They offer new insights into native understandings of beauty, power, age, gender, and ethnicity. The contributors are experts from such diverse fields as skeletal biology, archaeology, aesthetics, forensics, taphonomy, and art history.
Proceedings of the conference "The Origins of Maya States," held in Philadelphia, April 10-13, 2007.
"This catalogue was published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the occasion of the exhibition Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico"--Colophon.
A gorgeously produced volume of over 500 pages, "The Maya: Voices in Stone" is a breathtaking visual appraisal of the enormous diversity of Mayan culture, buttressed by contributions from the leading contemporary scholars of classical Mayan culture, and covering Mayan art, writing, religion, rituals, social structures, government, architecture, warfare and geopolitical landscape. Objects found at various archaeological sites help to reconstruct the Maya's customs, tracing the New World's greatest civilization of antiquity through the classical period until the Spanish conquest and subsequent colonialism. With over 300 images, this is both a groundbreaking work of scholarship-archaeological, historical, sociological and anthropological-as well as a gorgeously illustrated sourcebook for the general reader. It also includes a Mayan area map, chronological chart, index, list of further reading, as well as various infographics throughout. An indispensable book for anyone approaching the rich, complex world of the ancient Maya and their artistic accomplishments, political organization, scientific advancement and many other aspects of this great civilization, it offers a new image of a living, vibrant people-with glories and miseries alike-that contrasts sharply with the idealized image of the Maya established by scholars in the first half of the 20th century. Alongside the magnificent sculpture and architecture, astounding scientific knowledge and sophisticated religion, we now also encounter the Mayan lust for power, conflict, war, social injustice, hunger and destruction. "The Maya: Voices in Stone" presents a fresh vision of the extraordinary Pre-Hispanic civilization.
Copan in modern Honduras was one of the great cities of the Classic Maya. Abandoned to the rain forest for nearly a thousand years, it was rediscovered in the early 1800s. Now, two centuries later, an international team of scholars is solving the puzzle of Copan and the ancient Maya. William Fash, himself one of the key contributors to the recent breakthroughs, describes how decipherment of the Maya inscriptions together with tomb finds have unlocked the secrets of Copan's history. For this revised edition, Professor Fash shows how recent discoveries in the Acropolis, urban wards, and rural redoubts of the Copan kingdom reveal fascinating insights into the life and times of royalty, nobles, and commoners in this distinguished Maya city. The uncovering of the extraordinary tomb of the dynasty's founder provides illuminating information on his origins and accomplishments, while archaeological and hieroglyphic studies have demonstrated the importance of Tikal and the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the founding and long-term legitimization of the Copan royal line. New excavations in the royal residential area give a blueprint for the layout and functioning of Maya palaces, as well as dramatic evidence for the violent and sudden end to dynastic rule. 11 color and 109 b/w illustrations.
This stunning new volume features objects from the internationally renowned Bourne Collection of pre-Columbian art (spanning 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1530) assembled by John Bourne in the 1950's and 1960's. It features fine examples of painted earthenware vess
The two volumes of Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya provide current archaeological perspectives on Maya courts conceived as vital, functioning social groups composed of lords, courtiers, scribes, priests, and entertainers, among many others. In addition to archaeological data on the architecture and other spatial attributes of courts, the studies in the two volumes bring to bear on the topic the most recent evidence from inscriptions, vase paintings, murals and friezes, and ethnohistoric records in order to flesh out a portrait of the actors and roles that made up Maya courts through time and across space. The attributes of courts are explored in the Maya highlands and lowlands, from the origins of early kingship through the Classic period to the Postclassic and Terminal epochs. Pertinent comparisons are also drawn from the Aztecs and other ancient and contemporary societies. Volume 1: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis establishes a carefully considered framework for approaching the study of courts and their functions throughout the world of the ancient Maya. Volume 2: Data and Case Studies provides authoritatively current data and insights from key Maya sites, including Cop? Tikal, Caracol, Bonampak, and Calakmul.
While Europe was buried in the Dark Ages, the Maya were producing astonishing sculpture, stelae, and wall murals, as well as building magnificent temples, tombs, and ball courts. This extraordinary volume pairs the leading Maya scholar and one of the world’s finest photographers of ancient sites to trace the rise and fall of Mayan civilization through its great royal cities. From El Mirador to the cities of the Maya Renaissance and finally to Chichen Itza, where the 700-year flowering of the Mayan people came to a halt, the riveting history of powerful dynasties, political intrigues, and a flourishing culture is illuminated through new research and evocative photographs. A new reading of artifacts, reliefs, murals, maps, and other archaeological evidence allows Coe to untangle the complex sequence of internecine ritual warfare that fatally weakened the late Maya era.
A stunning survey of the indigenous art, architecture, and spiritual beliefs of the Americas, from the Precolumbian era to the 20th century This landmark publication catalogues the Art Institute of Chicago's outstanding collection of Indian art of the Americas, one of the foremost of its kind in the United States. Showcasing a host of previously unpublished objects dating from the Precolumbian era to the 20th century, the book marks the first time these holdings have been comprehensively documented. Richard Townsend and Elizabeth Pope weave an overarching narrative that ranges from the Midwestern United States to the Yucatán Peninsula to the heart of South America. While exploring artists' myriad economic, historical, linguistic, and social backgrounds, the authors demonstrate that they shared both a deep, underlying cosmological view and the desire to secure their communities' prosperity by affirming connections to the sacred forces of the natural world. The critical essays focus on topics that bridge traditions across North, Central, and South America, including materials, methods of manufacture, the diversity of stylistic features, and the iconography and functions of various objects. Gorgeously illustrated in color with more than 500 vibrant images, this handsome catalogue serves as the definitive survey of an unparalleled collection.
Northeast of modern-day Mexico City stand the remnants of one of the world's largest preindustrial cities, Teotihuacan. Monumental in scale, Teotihuacan is organized along a three-mile-long thoroughfare, the Avenue of the Dead, that leads up to the massive Pyramid of the Moon. Lining the avenue are numerous plazas and temples, which indicate that the city once housed a large population that engaged in complex rituals and ceremonies. Although scholars have studied Teotihuacan for over a century, the precise nature of its religious and political life has remained unclear, in part because no one has yet deciphered the glyphs that may explain much about the city's organization and belief systems. In this groundbreaking book, Annabeth Headrick analyzes Teotihuacan's art and architecture, in the light of archaeological data and Mesoamerican ethnography, to propose a new model for the city's social and political organization. Challenging the view that Teotihuacan was a peaceful city in which disparate groups united in an ideology of solidarity, Headrick instead identifies three social groups that competed for political power—rulers, kin-based groups led by influential lineage heads, and military orders that each had their own animal insignia. Her findings provide the most complete evidence to date that Teotihuacan had powerful rulers who allied with the military to maintain their authority in the face of challenges by the lineage heads. Headrick's analysis also underscores the importance of warfare in Teotihuacan society and clarifies significant aspects of its ritual life, including shamanism and an annual tree-raising ceremony that commemorated the Mesoamerican creation story.
Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World investigates the complex structure of economic systems in the pre-Hispanic Americas, with a focus on the central highlands of Mexico, the Maya Lowlands, and the central Andes. Essays examine the use of marketplaces, the role of merchants and artisans, and the operation of trade networks.
Unlock the mysteries of the Mayan world. Deep in the rain forests of South and Central America, the Mayan culture thrived for almost 4,000 years. From the earliest Mayan farmer in 2,600 BC through the thirteenth century AD, the Maya developed an elaborate society, built great cities and temples, and created the only real system of writing native to the Americas. Although many of the intricacies of the Mayan culture remain shrouded in mystery, hundreds of new discoveries have come to light in recent years, and our body of knowledge about the Maya has grown by leaps and bounds. Now, the most fascinating new discoveries have been compiled into one volume: Secrets of the Maya, a book from the editors of Archaeology Magazine. From the discovery of ancient caves used for religious rituals—including human sacrifice—to the search for the long-lost "White City," Secrets of the Maya will take readers on an exciting and surprising archaeological journey. Featuring articles on the latest research, a comprehensive time line, and a special section on Mayan hieroglyphs, Secrets of the Maya will appeal to experts and amateurs alike.
The archaeological sites of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are among the most visited ancient cities of the Americas. Archaeologists have recently made great advances in our understanding of the social and political milieu of the northern Maya lowlands. However, such advances have been under-represented in both scholarly and popular literature until now. 'The Ancient Maya of Mexico' presents the results of new and important archaeological, epigraphic, and art historical research in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Ranging across the Middle Preclassic to the Modern periods, the volume explores how new archaeological data has transformed our understanding of Maya history. 'The Ancient Maya of Mexico' will be invaluable to students and scholars of archaeology and anthropology, and all those interested in the society, rituals and economic organisation of the Maya region.
This indispensable resource provides an illustrated introduction to and overview of the archaeological study of food and foodways today.

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