Ancient Mesoamerica drew world interest in the 19th century when photographs, drawings, and descriptions of discoveries of ruined cities in exotic locations in Mexico and Central America were published. These accounts from early explorers, archaeologists, and travelers made the cultures and archaeological sites of ancient Mesoamerica including the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Mixtec, Tarascan, Toltec, Zapotec, and other civilizations a major focus of intensive research, public and private funding, and lay interest.

The A to Z of Ancient Mesoamerica covers some of the major discoveries throughout ancient Mesoamerica from the last 100 years. The results of previous and continuing research and explorations, plus recent interpretations of ancient cultures and new work at archaeological sites in Mesoamerica are summarized here. Included in this volume are information and insights on archaeological sites, material culture, social and economic organization, religion and belief systems, and the social history of ancient Mesoamerica. The entries contain geographical, chronological, historical, and interpretive data that serve as a condensed and accessible resource of reference material. Also presented here are select historical personages of ancient times and some brief notes on their lives and accomplishments taken from hieroglyphic texts, painted books or codices, and written documents and oral histories from the colonial period. With a bibliography and chronology, this text will be the perfect starting point for high school or undergraduate research, and a helpful ready-reference for more experienced scholars.
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