The Ancient Maya: New Perspectives

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Overview

"Comprehensive…clearly written…Highly recommended."—Choice
Temples lost in the rainforest. Strange inscriptions and ritual bloodletting. Such are the images popularly associated with the ancient Maya of Central America. But who really were the people of this lost civilization? How and why did their culture achieve regional dominance? Could such pressing contemporary problems as climate change and environmental degradation hold the key to the collapse of Maya civilization?
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Overview

"Comprehensive…clearly written…Highly recommended."—Choice
Temples lost in the rainforest. Strange inscriptions and ritual bloodletting. Such are the images popularly associated with the ancient Maya of Central America. But who really were the people of this lost civilization? How and why did their culture achieve regional dominance? Could such pressing contemporary problems as climate change and environmental degradation hold the key to the collapse of Maya civilization?
Of interest to scholars and general readers alike, The Ancient Maya brings the controversies that have divided experts on the ancient Maya to a wider audience. Heather McKillop examines the debates concerning Mayan hieroglyphs, the Maya economy, and the conflicting theories behind the enigmatic collapse of the Maya civilization. The most readable and accessible work in the field, this book brings the general reader up to date with the latest archaeological evidence.

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Editorial Reviews

Chuck Hamsa - Reviewers Consortium
“A one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328905
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/17/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 699,175
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather McKillop is the William G. Haag Professor of Archaeology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the author of In Search of Maya Sea Traders. She lives in Louisiana.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps xi
Series Editor's Preface xiii
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Part 1 Introduction
Chapter 1 Introduction 3
Overview of Maya Civilization 7
Sources of Information on the Maya 14
Part 2 Maya Civilization
Chapter 2 Location of Maya Area and Environmental Setting 29
General Natural and Cultural Subdivisions 29
Modern Environmental Changes 36
Chapter 3 Historical and Chronological Setting 41
History of Research 41
Chronology of the Maya 59
Creation Myth 62
Ethnohistoric Accounts 63
Chapter 4 Origins, Growth, and Decline of the Maya Civilization 71
Pre-Maya People: The Paleoindians 72
Small Game Hunters of the Archaic 75
The Early Preclassic Period 77
The Earliest Maya on the Pacific Coast 77
Middle Preclassic Expansion of Village Farming 78
Antecedents to the Classic Maya Civilization: Olmec and Izapa 80
The Origins of Maya Civilization 88
Classic Maya Civilization 90
The Terminal Classic Florescence in the Northern Maya Lowlands (A.D. 800-1000) 100
Chichen Itza 102
Mayapan and the Late Postclassic Maya 104
The Spanish Conquest 105
Chapter 5 Economics 114
Maya Workshops and Craft Production 119
Household Production 122
Classic Maya Workshops 123
Craft Production for Maya Royalty 126
Systems of Subsistence 127
Maya Trade 130
Summary 141
Chapter 6 Social Organization and Social Structure 150
Settlement Patterns 150
Community Patterns 150
Regional Settlement Patterns 154
Pan-Lowland Settlement Patterns 155
Marriage and the Family 155
Social Stratification 159
Population Estimates 162
Ancient Maya Demography 167
Population Data for the Maya Lowlands 169
Chapter 7 Politics 175
Political Structure 176
The Preclassic Origins of Maya Kingship 181
Politics and the Development of Kingship in the Early Classic Period 182
Teotihuacan "Influence" 182
Late Classic Politics and Warfare 186
Warfare 188
Political Geography 196
Chapter 8 Religion and Ideology 204
Maya Ideology: The Popol Vuh 206
Cosmology 213
The Ball Game 213
Pantheon of Gods, Goddesses, and Other Supernatural Beings 217
Rituals 221
Evidence 223
Chapter 9 Material Culture 229
Natural Resources 229
Architecture and Urban Planning 233
Maya Pottery 243
Stone Tools and Other Artifacts 247
Food Plants 251
Minerals 252
Mural Painting 252
Sculpture 256
Paper Books 258
Metalwork: Gold and Copper 259
Wooden Artifacts 260
Bone and Shell Artifacts 261
Food Animals 262
Death 263
Chapter 10 Intellectual Accomplishments 276
Mathematics 276
Calendars 277
Astronomy 282
Astronomy and Maya Architecture 287
Language and Writing 288
Sample Maya Text with Translation 297
Part 3 Current Assessments
Chapter 11 Major Controversies and Future Directions in the Study of the Maya Civilization 307
The Classic Maya Collapse 307
City-State, Empire, or Chiefdom 313
Feeding the Masses 316
Illegal Trade in Maya Antiquities 316
Future Directions in Maya Archaeology 318
Glossary 323
Chronology 343
Resources for Further Study 355
Index 423
About the Author 453
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a thorough summary review of the state of knowledge of the Mayans

    The book lends itself slightly better to use as a reference than reading straight through (with much repetition of concepts and ideas across the subject areas), but was thought-provoking. The author does a good job at fairly presenting different hypotheses, as there are still many gaps in knowledge, both as of the date of publishing and currently. There were only a few misspellings that distracted (heiroglyphics for hieroglyphics was the worst offender).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    The Ancient Maya

    I thought this was an excellent book. I bought it to read for a research project. It has a lot of useful informations. I would recommend anyone to read this. I thought it was really interesting.

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