Archaeological Mexico: A Guide to Ancient Cities and Sacred Sites


This guide is a must for anyone interested in personally exploring Mexico's prehistoric ruins. Author Andrew Coe takes an in-depth look at Mesoamerican culture, from the early mammoth hunters to the magnificent civilizations encountered by Cortes, and explores the newest and most exciting scientific theories on each site.
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This guide is a must for anyone interested in personally exploring Mexico's prehistoric ruins. Author Andrew Coe takes an in-depth look at Mesoamerican culture, from the early mammoth hunters to the magnificent civilizations encountered by Cortes, and explores the newest and most exciting scientific theories on each site.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566913218
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 450
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

Site Ranking Chart xvi
Preface xvii
Introduction 2
The Land 3
The Cultures 5
Visiting the Ruins 15
Special Topics
Warriors vs. Astronomers: Views of Pre-Columbian Mexico 8
Mesoamericanists 12
The Politics of Architectural Restoration 18
Valley of Mexico 22
The Land 25
History 29
Cuicuilco: Lava covered the pyramids of the Valley of Mexico's first advanced culture 31
Teotihuacan: The most spectacular site in Mexico, with its massive Pyramids of the Sun and Moon 36
Tula: Home to the Toltecs, with warrior columns atop the main temple 55
Tenayuca: The sides of this well-preserved Aztec-era temple are lined with hundreds of stone snakes 66
The Great Temple: The center of the Aztec universe, scene of the most spectacular finds in the last two decades 70
Tlatelolco: Home to the great Aztec market and the terminus of a network of trading routes that covered Mesoamerica 84
Santa Cecilia Acatitlan: Its small pyramid was reconstructed to depict a finished Aztec temple 95
Special Topics
Lodging and Food in the Valley of Mexico 25
The Anthropology Museum 26
Mesoamerican Architecture 54
Tula in Yucatan 60
Tula in Tollan 61
The Aztec Royal Succession 72
The Phases of Tenochtitlan 73
Motecuhzoma's Meal 79
Five Suns: An Aztec Lament 88
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child 94
Valley of Puebla 98
The Land 99
History 101
Cholula: In volume, this huge, mostly unexcavated pyramid was larger than the pyramids of Egypt 104
Xochitecatl: Contains a collection of rebuilt temples, including a unique circular pyramid 111
Cacaxtla: These recently discovered Mayan murals are among the finest in Mexico 113
Special Topics
City of Puebla 101
Central Mexican Gods 102
Valley of Morelos 120
The Land 121
History 123
Chalcatzingo: An Olmec outpost, this early site is dotted with remarkable carvings 124
Xochicalco: The Maya made this hilltop site the center of their expansion into central Mexico 130
Malinalco: With temples carved from raw rock, this tiny site was a ritual center for elite Aztecs 138
Special Topics
Cuernavaca Hotels 123
Cuernavaca Museum 124
Valley of Patzcuaro (Michoacan) 144
The Land 145
History 147
Tzintzuntzan: The capital of the Tarascan empire, with five distinctive temples 150
Ihuatzio: This little-known Tarascan site is filled with mysterious temples and walls that double as causeways 157
Special Topics
Morelia Museum 147
How to Raze a Village 148
The North 160
The Land 161
History 163
Paquime (also known as Casas Grandes): The Toltecs made this an outpost for their trade with the American Southwest 166
Special Topics
The Tarahumara 164
Coast of Veracruz 172
The Land 173
History 175
Tres Zapotes: A remote, unreconstructed site that was a late center of Olmec culture 179
El Tajin: Over a dozen ballcourts fill this huge and densely built Classic-era center, where many new discoveries have been made 182
Quiahuiztlan: On a hilltop overlooking the Gulf, this Totonac town is filled with tombs in the shape of miniature temples 191
Zempoala: Cortes made this large Totonac city his camp before he marched on Tenochtitlan 195
Special Topics
Jalapa Museum 175
The Ballgame: Playing for Keeps 176
The Totonacs 184
Valley of Oaxaca 202
The Land 203
History 206
Monte Alban: On this hilltop site, the Zapotecs built one of the most spectacular cities in Mesoamerica 208
Mitla: Home to Zapotec kings and high priests, these temples display some of the finest stonework in Mesoamerica 218
Yagul: From this fortified hill, the Zapotecs controlled the eastern Valley of Oaxaca 225
Lambityeco: Beautiful stucco reliefs adorn this tiny Zapotec ruin 228
Dainzu: These cactus-covered ruins contain ballplayer reliefs 232
Zaachila: Only a fraction of this site has been excavated, including two perfectly preserved Mixtec tombs 235
Special Topics
Oaxaca Hotels 205
Oaxaca Museums 206
Ruins Tours 207
The Juchitan Zapotecs 234
Chiapas 240
The Soconusco Coast
The Land 242
History 244
Izapa: Set in the lush coastal jungle, it was the center of a culture that linked the Olmecs and the Maya 244
The Usumacinta Basin
The Land 256
History 258
Palenque: The Maya made this beautiful jungle site the capital of a great city-state 259
Yaxchilan: Deep in the Usumacinta jungle, stunning temples and reliefs are set among a profusion of wildlife 277
Bonampak: Remote but well worth a visit, its high point is a temple filled with murals that are crucial to our understanding of the ancient Maya 290
Tonina: From a massive acropolis covered with temples and sculptures, the Maya controlled the Valley of Ocosingo 300
Chinkultic: The Maya chose this remarkable hilltop site for a complex of temples and sculpture-lined ballcourts 311
Comalcalco: Built of brick rather than stone, it became a Maya capital after the fall of Palenque 316
Special Topics
Tuxtla Gutierrez 243
Cycles within Cycles: The Mesoamerican Calendar 246
Popol Vuh: The Maya Book of the Dawn of Life 252
The Lacandon Maya 257
The Lords of Palenque 262
Traveling to Yaxchilan and Bonampak 279
Maize: The Staff of Life 297
Astronauts, Africans, and Israelites 308
Tenam Puente Ruins 313
Yucatan Peninsula 322
The Land 324
History 326
Kohunlich: Beautiful stucco sun god masks line a temple in this remote early Maya site 327
The Rio Bec Region: Xpujil, Becan, Chicanna
History 333
Archaeological Record 334
Xpujil: Its main temple contains three false temple towers that mimic Tikal's pyramids 335
Becan: A huge moat surrounds this dense assemblage of Rio Bec-style temples and elite residences 337
Chicanna: Features a temple with a remarkable serpent-mask doorway 340
Edzna: The center of this huge Maya site is the Building of the Five Stories 343
The Puuc Region: Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Labna, Xlapak
History 350
Archaeological Record 352
Uxmal: The largest Puuc city, it contains many beautiful structures, including the famous Nunnery Quadrangle 354
Kabah: Linked by a causeway to Uxmal, it is home to the Codz-Poop, a temple covered with long-snouted monster masks 363
Sayil: A huge palace and numerous temples are built along a causeway at this Puuc site 366
Labna: Contains two palace complexes covered with fine Puuc facades 368
Xlapak: Tiny but worth a visit, this site includes a number of small temples and residences covered with stonework 370
Loltun Cave: Human occupation in this cave complex spanned thousands of years 371
Dzibilchaltun: This Maya site sprawls on the hot coastal plain, traversed by numerous causeways 375
Izamal: The Spanish built a church and monastery on top of the main temple, but large unreconstructed pyramids are still scattered throughout the town 380
Chichen Itza: This capital of northern Yucatan during the Early Postclassic era contains dozens of must-see structures, including the Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors, and the largest ballcourt in Mexico 383
Balankanche Cave: Chichen's rulers made this steamy cave their elite ceremonial center 397
Mayapan: This densely built center was the power in northern Yucatan after the fall of Chichen Itza 400
Coba: Connected by a network of causeways, its towering pyramids loom over the forests of Yucatan 404
Tulum: The main temples perch on cliffs over the Caribbean at this late Maya trading port 410
Muyil: Now engulfed by forests, this was an important Maya center 415
El Rey: The temples of this Putun Maya port lie in the shadow of Cancun's hotels 417
Special Topics
Traveling to Yucatan 324
Merida Museum 327
Dzibanche and Kinichna Ruins 331
The Rio Bec Sites 332
Calakmul 340
History of Chilam Balam 350
Archaeoastronomy 392
The Yucatec Maya 409
Resources 420
Alphabetical List of Sites 422
Cultures of Mexico Index 423
Index of Sites by Era 425
Archaeological Sites and Areas 427
Mesoamerican Internet Sites 429
Suggested Reading 431
Spanish Phrasebook 437
General Index 444
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