James John Aimers
Ancient Maya Pottery: Classification, Analysis, and Interpretation
“Aimers has brought together leading Maya ceramicists who provide their candid views on how they classify pottery. This volume is of particular theoretical strength for the discussion on terminology in classification, both for critically evaluating the type-variety system and for general classification of pottery.”–Heather McKillop, author of Salt
“At last, we have the opportunity to learn the potential strengths as well as the pitfalls of a single method for the study of the prehistoric Maya.”–Fred Valdez Jr., coeditor of Ancient Maya Commoners
“An intriguing journey through an analytical technique that is foundational to building deep and complex histories yet is deployed with a flexibility that some accept and others question.”–Patricia A. McAnany, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
“Aimers has pulled together a series of theoretical, methodological, and substantive papers by prominent Maya ceramicists that evaluate the development, current utility, and limitations of the type-variety method.”–E. Wyllys Andrews, Tulane University
The ancient Maya produced a broad range of ceramics that has attracted concerted scholarly attention for over a century. Pottery sherds–the most abundant artifacts recovered from sites–reveal much about artistic expression, religious ritual, economic systems, cooking traditions, and cultural exchange in Maya society.
Today, nearly every Maya archaeologist uses the type-variety classificatory framework for studying sherd collections. This impressive volume brings together many of the archaeologists signally involved in the analysis and interpretation of ancient Maya ceramics and represents new findings and state-of-the-art thinking. The result is a book that serves both as a valuable resource for archaeologists involved in pottery classification, analysis, and interpretation and as an illuminating exploration of ancient Mayan culture.
Brett A. Houk
Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands (Ancient Cities of the New World)
“Brings together for the first time all the major sites of this part of the Maya world and helps us understand how the ancient Maya planned and built their beautiful cities. It will become both a handbook and a source of ideas for other archaeologists for years to come.”—George J. Bey III, coeditor of Pottery Economics in Mesoamerica
“Skillfully integrates the social histories of urban development.”—Vernon L. Scarborough, author of The Flow of Power: Ancient Water Systems and Landscapes
“Any scholar interested in urban planning and the built environment will find this book engaging and useful.”—Lisa J. Lucero, author of Water and Ritual
For more than a century researchers have studied Maya ruins, and sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá have shaped our understanding of the Maya. Yet cities of the eastern lowlands of Belize, an area that was home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, are treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture.
Using data collected from different sites throughout the lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Brett Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique ruins and discusses methods for mapping and excavating them. Considering the sites through the analytical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, considers how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and examines what they tell us about Maya city building.
Geoffrey E. Braswell
The Ancient Maya of Mexico: Reinterpreting the Past of the Northern Maya Lowlands
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.
Olivia C. Navarro-Farr, Michelle Rich
Archaeology at El Peru-Waka’: Ancient Maya Performances of Ritual, Memory, and Power
Archaeology at El Peru-Waka’ is the first book to summarize long-term research at this major Maya site. The results of fieldwork and subsequent analyses conducted by members of the El Peru-Waka’ Regional Archaeological Project are coupled with theoretical approaches treating the topics of ritual, memory, and power as deciphered through material remains discovered at Waka’. The book is site-centered, yet the fifteen wide-ranging contributions offer readers greater insight to the richness and complexity of Classic-period Maya culture, as well as to the ways in which archaeologists believe ancient peoples negotiated their ritual lives and comprehended their own pasts. El Peru-Waka’ is an ancient Maya city located in present-day northwestern Peten, Guatemala. Rediscovered by petroleum exploration workers in the mid-1960s, it is the largest known archaeological site in the Laguna del Tigre National Park in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. The El Peru-Waka’ Regional Archaeological Project initiated scientific investigations in 2003, and through excavation and survey, researchers established that Waka’ was a key political and economic center well-integrated into Classic-period lowland Maya civilization, and reconstructed many aspects of Maya life and ritual activity in this ancient community. The research detailed in this volume provides a wealth of new, substantive, and scientifically excavated data, which contributors approach with fresh theoretical insights. In the process, they lay out sound strategies for understanding the ritual manipulation of monuments, landscapes, buildings, objects, and memories, as well as related topics encompassing the performance and negotiation of power throughout the city’s extensive sociopolitical history
Antonia E. Foias
Ancient Maya Political Dynamics
“An impressive overview of recent scholarship coupled with the results of a long-term research project at the site and region of Motul de San José. It contributes significantly to the anthropological literature on politics and power.” —Daniela Triadan, coeditor of Burned Palaces and Elite Residences of Aguateca “A long overdue and particularly welcome piece of scholarly work. It synthesizes, digests, and makes available the results of the tremendous boom in political studies in the Maya area that has occurred in the last twenty years as a consequence of rapid glyph decipherment, increased archaeological data, and more sophisticated theoretical modeling.” —Eleanor M. King, Howard University
The study of politics, a dominating force throughout history, can provide great insight into the lives of ancient people. Because of the richness and complexity of Maya society, archaeologists and anthropologists have spent decades attempting to reconstruct its political systems.
In Ancient Maya Political Dynamics, Antonia Foias argues that there is no single Maya political history but multiple histories, no single Maya state but multiple polities that need to be understood at the level of the lived, individual experience. She explores the ways in which the dynamics of political power shaped the lives and landscape of the Maya and how this information can be used to look at other complex societies.