The Maya has long been established as the best, most readable introduction to the New World's greatest ancient civilization. In these pages Professor Coe distills a life-time's scholarship for the general reader and student. Since the publication of the sixth edition of The Maya, new sites have been uncovered and further excavations in old sites have proceeded at an unprecedented pace. Among the many new discoveries is the chance find of extraordinary murals dating to ca. AD 100 at San Bartolo in the Peten. New epigraphic, ...
The Maya has long been established as the best, most readable introduction to the New World's greatest ancient civilization. In these pages Professor Coe distills a life-time's scholarship for the general reader and student. Since the publication of the sixth edition of The Maya, new sites have been uncovered and further excavations in old sites have proceeded at an unprecedented pace. Among the many new discoveries is the chance find of extraordinary murals dating to ca. AD 100 at San Bartolo in the Peten. New epigraphic, archaeological, and osteological research has thrown light on the identity of the "founding fathers" of such great sites as Tikal and Copan, and their close affiliation with Teotihuacan in central Mexico. The previously little known center of Ek' Balam in northeastern yucatan has turned out to be a regional kingdom of major importance, with extraordinary stucco reliefs and a plethora of painted inscriptions. It has now become apparent that the birth of Maya civilization lies not in the Classic but during the Preclassic period, above all in the Mirador Basin of northern Guatemala, where the builders of gigantic ancient cities (interconnected by causeways) erected the world's largest pyramid as early as 200 BC. All of these finds suggest that we must rethink what we mean by "Classic." The seventh edition also presents new evidence for the use of wetlands by the Classic Maya, and fresh perspectives on the catastrophic demise of Classic civilization by the close of the ninth century.
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Coe brings past civilizations back to life. Archaeology is a fascinating field. It is the forensics science of past civilizations. It's amazing what archaelogists can discover by digging and studying pollen in tree rings. Trees are living witnesses of what went on, especially when it comes to crop successes and failures, which caused people to move from one location to another while the soil recovered. Coe's book provides us with insights into what daily life was like during the various phases of Mayan history. It's especially interesting to study their diet and to realize that it hasn't changed much in our day. It seems to me, and I mention this as an observation, that these indigenous people that change over to today's fast food diet tend to develop health problems that lead to diabetes and heart disease, so I am an advocate of stressing to these people that they should keep their old diet as a basis, and add anything else that won't hurt them. In other words, they should stick to a low carb diet. It's too bad that most of their records were burned; they could have taught us a lot. It is true that some things are better left buried, but not in all cases. There were certain practices and rituals that are unaceptable today in Western society; they still go on in our world, but we can learn from the mistakes and successes of past civilizations. They speak from the dust.
Apr 1, 2007
Easy to Read
This book is a great overview of the Maya and easy to read. It's a classic.
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