Ancient Maya Commoners

Overview

Much of what we currently know about the ancient Maya concerns the activities of the elites who ruled the societies and left records of their deeds carved on the monumental buildings and sculptures that remain as silent testimony to their power and status. But what do we know of the common folk who labored to build the temple complexes and palaces and grew the food that fed all of Maya society?

This pathfinding book marshals a wide array of archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ...

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Ancient Maya Commoners

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Overview

Much of what we currently know about the ancient Maya concerns the activities of the elites who ruled the societies and left records of their deeds carved on the monumental buildings and sculptures that remain as silent testimony to their power and status. But what do we know of the common folk who labored to build the temple complexes and palaces and grew the food that fed all of Maya society?

This pathfinding book marshals a wide array of archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic evidence to offer the fullest understanding to date of the lifeways of ancient Maya commoners. Senior and emerging scholars contribute case studies that examine such aspects of commoner life as settlement patterns, household organization, and subsistence practices. Their reports cover most of the Maya area and the entire time span from Preclassic to Postclassic. This broad range of data helps resolve Maya commoners from a faceless mass into individual actors who successfully adapted to their social environment and who also held primary responsibility for producing the food and many other goods on which the whole Maya society depended.

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What People Are Saying

Robert J. Sharer
This is a landmark volume that begins to fill a longstanding and critical gap in our understanding of the ancient Maya. . . . [It] will serve as an essential work for students and professional scholars alike to begin to correct the prevalent emphasis on the elite Maya.
Robert J. Sharer, Shoemaker Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Robert J. Sharer
This is a landmark volume that begins to fill a longstanding and critical gap in our understanding of the ancient Maya. . . . [It] will serve as an essential work for students and professional scholars alike to begin to correct the prevalent emphasis on the elite Maya.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292726109
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 563,705
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon C. Lohse, a Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin, is Principal Investigator of the Blue Creek Regional Political Ecology Project in northwestern Belize.

Fred Valdez, Jr., is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He coordinates multidisciplinary research in northwestern Belize as Director of the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Examining Ancient Maya Commoners Anew
Jon C. Lohse and Fred Valdez, Jr.
2. Daily Life in a Highland Maya Community: Zinacantan in Mid-Twentieth Century
Evon Z. Vogt
3. The Role of Pottery and Food Consumption among Late Preclassic Maya Commoners at Lamanai, Belize
Terry G. Powis
4. Of Salt and Water: Ancient Commoners on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala
Bárbara Arroyo
5. Down on the Farm: Classic Maya "Homesteads" as "Farmsteads"
Nicholas Dunning
6. Intra-Site Settlement Signatures and Implications for Late Classic Maya Commoner Organization at Dos Hombres, Belize
Jon C. Lohse
7. Heterogeneous Hinterlands: The Social and Political Organization of Commoner Settlements near Xunantunich, Belize
Jason Yaeger and Cynthia Robin
8. The Spatial Mobility of Non-Elite Populations in Classic Maya Society and Its Political Implications
Takeshi Inomata
9. Commoners in Postclassic Maya Society: Social versus Economic Class Constructs
Marilyn A. Masson and Carlos Peraza Lope
10. Methods for Understanding Classic Maya Commoners: Structure Function, Energetics, and More
Nancy Gonlin
11. Maya Commoners: The Stereotype and the Reality
Joyce Marcus
Contributors
Index
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