The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period

The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period

Francisco Estrada-Belli

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0415429943

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When the Maya kings of Tikal dedicated their first carved monuments in the third century A.D., inaugurating the Classic period of Maya history that lasted for six centuries and saw the rise of such famous cities as Palenque, Copan and Yaxchilan, Maya civilization was already nearly a millennium old. Its first cities, such as Nakbe and El Mirador, had some of the largest temples ever raised in Prehispanic America, while others such as Cival showed even earlier evidence of complex rituals. The reality of this Preclassic Maya civilization has been documented by scholars over the past three decades: what had been seen as an age of simple village farming, belatedly responding to the stimulus of more advanced peoples in highland Mesoamerica, is now know to have been the period when the Maya made themselves into one of the New World's most innovative societies. This book discusses the most recent advances in our knowledge of the Preclassic Maya and the emergence of their rainforest civilization, with new data on settlement, political organization, architecture, iconography and epigraphy supporting a contemporary theoretical perspective that challenges prior assumptions.


















ceramics (Healy et al. 2004b). All these finds present a consistent pattern of association of PreMamom ceramics with ritual spaces, ritual activity and high-status structures, suggesting that early ceramics were possibly used primarily in elite or ritual contexts. This pattern is especially significant at large sites such as Tikal (and now also at Cival), where excavations have been extensive and yet failed to encounter Pre-Mamom ceramics away from the center. All known samples of Pre-Mamom

match vessels in Burial 85, such as the tall Altamira fluted jars and one spouted tall-necked chocolate jar, and there is frequent use of Usulutan wavy line decoration, although there is less variety of decoration and imports. The tomb was placed on the open western side of the acropolis plaza and a low platform was built above it (5D-Sub 11). In terms of its position in time, this tomb was separated from Burial 85 by two re-paving episodes on the acropolis plaza, so it is likely that this

His publications include The Archaeology of Southeastern Pacific Coastal Guatemala: A regional GIS approach (1999). THE FIRST MAYA CIVILIZATION Ritual and Power before the Classic Period Francisco Estrada-Belli First published 2011 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in

space framed by towering temples. The second-to-last stage of the eastern temple of the Triad consisted of a temple pyramid fully enclosed within the latest stage of construction. Its upper temple would have risen 6 meters from the platform’s top and 26 meters from the plaza below it. Its pyramidal platform consisted of three terraces decorated with sloping apron-moldings and a 2-meter-wide inset central stairway, all of which were coated with a 5-centimeter thick stucco lining. This pyramid is

Formative Prehistory of the Central Belize Valley: An Examination of Architecture, Material Culture, and Sociopolitical Change at Blackman Eddy,” in: Garber, J. F. (ed.) The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research. Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 25–47. Gifford, J. (1965) “Ceramics,” in: Willey, G. R., Bullard, W. R., Glass, J. B. and Gifford, J. (eds) Prehistoric Maya Settlement Patterns in the Belize Valley. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of

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