Hendon conducted research on three contemporaneous Native American civilizations that flourished from the seventh century through the eleventh CE: the Maya kingdom of Copan, the hilltop center of Cerro Palenque, and the dispersed settlement of the Cuyumapa valley. She analyzes domestic life in these societies, from cooking to crafting, as well as public and private ritual events including the ballgame. Combining her findings with a rich body of theory from anthropology, history, and geography, she explores how objects—the things people build, make, use, exchange, and discard—help people remember. In so doing, she demonstrates how everyday life becomes part of the social processes of remembering and forgetting, and how “memory communities” assert connections between the past and the present.
Julia A. Hendon is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Gettysburg College. She is the co-editor of Mesoamerican Archaeology: Theory and Practice.
It is tempting to think of these structures as funerary monuments, but this is only a supposition. Their relationship with rulers may have been much more complex. This report is the primary record of these important buildings in Tikal's urban landscape. It provides clear, precise, and usable architectural analyses for Mayanists, archaeologists, art historians, architectural historians, urbanists, and those interested in construction techniques and in the uses of Maya buildings.
University Museum Monograph, 146
In this groundbreaking work, Abrams explicates his theory of architectural energetics, which involves translating structures into volumes of raw and manufactured materials that are then multiplied by the time required for their production and assembly to determine the labor costs of past construction efforts. Applying this method to residential structures of the Late Classic period (A.D. 700-900) at Copan leads Abrams to posit a six-tiered hierarchic social structure of political decision making, ranging from a stratified elite to low-ranking commoners. By comparing the labor costs of construction and other economic activities, he also prompts a reconsideration of the effects of royal construction demands on commoners.
How the Maya Built Their World will interest a wide audience in New and Old World anthropology, archaeology, architecture, and engineering.
Masson and Peraza Lope's detailed overview provides evidence of a vibrant market economy that played a critical role in the city's political and economic success. They offer new perspectives from the homes of governing elites, secondary administrators, affluent artisans, and poorer members of the service industries. Household occupational specialists depended on regional trade for basic provisions that were essential to crafting industries, sustenance, and quality of life. Settlement patterns reveal intricate relationships of households with neighbors, garden plots, cultivable fields, thoroughfares, and resources. Urban planning endeavored to unite the cityscape and to integrate a pluralistic populace that derived from hometowns across the Yucatán peninsula.
New data from Mayapán, the pinnacle of Postclassic Maya society, contribute to a paradigm change regarding the evolution and organization of Maya society in general and make Kukulcan's Realm a must-read for students and scholars of the ancient Maya and Mesoamerica.
Joyce organizes her study in a novel way. Rather than presenting each category of excavated material (ceramics, lithics, etc.) in a separate chapter, she integrates this data in discussions of what people did and where they did it, resulting in a reconstruction of social activity more than in a description of material culture.
Joyce’s findings indicate that the precolumbian elites of the Ulua Valley had very strong and diversified contacts with Lowland Maya culture, primarily through the Bay of Honduras, with far less contact with Copán in the Highlands. The elites used their contacts with these distant, powerful cultures to reinforce their difference from the people they ruled and the legitimacy of their privileged status. Indeed, their dependence on foreign contacts ultimately led to their downfall when their foreign partners reorganized their economic and social order during the Terminal Classic period.
Although archaeological research in the region has been undertaken since the 1890s, Cerro Palenque is the first full-length study of an Ulua Valley site ever published. Joyce’s pioneering approach—archaeological ethnography—will be of interest to scholars dealing with any prehistoric people whose material remains provide the only clues to their culture.
They examine the production, use, and disposal of marriage figurines from six sites—Campo Dos, Cerro Palenque, Copán, Currusté, Tenampua, and Travesia—and explore their role in rituals and ceremonies, as well as in the forming of social bonds and the celebration of relationships among communities. They find evidence of historical traditions reproduced over generations through material media in social relations among individuals, families, and communities, as well as social differences within this network of connected yet independent settlements.
Material Relations provides a new and dynamic understanding of how social houses functioned via networks of production and reciprocal exchange of material objects and will be of interest to Mesoamerican archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians.