The Ancient Maya

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The rich findings of recent exploration and research are incorporated in this completely revised and greatly expanded edition of the standard work on the New World's most brilliant civilization—that of the Maya people of northern Central America and southern Mexico.

From its shadowy beginnings centuries before Christ, the history of the Maya is traced through its periods of cultural growth, mysterious decline, renewed prosperity, and eventual ...
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Overview

The rich findings of recent exploration and research are incorporated in this completely revised and greatly expanded edition of the standard work on the New World's most brilliant civilization—that of the Maya people of northern Central America and southern Mexico.

From its shadowy beginnings centuries before Christ, the history of the Maya is traced through its periods of cultural growth, mysterious decline, renewed prosperity, and eventual downfall following the Spanish Conquest. Ever since the awesome remains of this civilization, which spanned some 2,000 years, were discovered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the ancient Maya have attracted widespread fascination. Where had this civilization come from? How could the Maya have sustained themselves so successfully in such an inhospitable environment? What catastrophes had overwhelmed their long-abandoned cities? Today, scientific research in a variety of disciplines has made considerable progress in answering such questions.

Still, the allure of the maya persists. Part of this fascination undoubtedly derives from the romantic image of a “lost civilization” that left scores of ruined cities deep in the jungle. But the more we learn of the Maya, the deeper becomes our respect and admiration. For these were a people of astonishing achievement: in mathematics, astronomy, calendrics, an writing systems; in technology, political organization, an commerce; and in sculpture, painting, and architecture.

Because of the veritable explosion of reserch on the Maya in recent years, we are for the first time beginning to understad the origins of the civilization and the reasons for both itsflowering and its decline. New field discoveries, new technical advances, new successes in the decipherment of Maya writing, and new theoretical perspectives on the Maya past have made necessary this present edition of The Ancient Maya

, which is more than one-fourth longer than the previous edition.

"Comprehensive synthesis of ancient Maya scholarship. Extensive summary of the archaeology of the Maya world provides the historical context for a detailed topical synthesis of chronological and geographic variability within the Maya cultural tradition"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804711371
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1983
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 708

Table of Contents

A Note on Names, Pronunciation, and Conventions
Introduction 1
1 The Setting 19
2 The Origins of Maya Civilization 44
3 The Preclassic Maya 71
4 The Early Classic and the Rise of Tikal 138
5 The Late Classic and the Expansion of the Lowland States 211
6 The Terminal Classic 338
7 The Postclassic 384
8 Subsistence Systems 435
9 Trade and External Contact 452
10 The Organization of Maya Society 464
11 Ideology and Cosmology 513
12 Arithmetic, Calendrics, and Astronomy 556
13 Language and Writing 582
14 Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting 630
15 Artifacts 674
Epilogue: The Spanish Conquest 731
Appendix: Conversion Between Maya and Gregorian Chronologies 755
Reference Material 763
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