"Patricia McAnany's book is a gem. The writing style is elegant and stimulating, the argument tight and logically organized, the mix between concept and empirical data balanced, and the focus steadfast. She set out to write a 'different' kind of archaeology of the ancient Mayas, and she succeeded in doing just that. What we get is an 'anthropology' of Maya society rather than a description of artifacts, dates, material sequences, and theoretical jargon. I highly recommend this most readable book."
Robert M. Carmack, Ethnohistory
"This well-written book will repay reading by Mayanists and non-Mayanists alike. Besides its holistic approach, its strengths include the explicit recognition that ancient Maya society showed considerable variation over both space and time, and cannot be simply pigeonholed into one or another convenient typological category ... [McAnany] has certainly given Maya archaeologists a lot of ideas to consider in their future research."
William A. Haviland, American Anthropologist
"McAnany's book is a constructive and creative attempt to dissolve the conceptual dichotomies that so often in the past have pushed Mayanists into opposed theoretical camps ... McAnany's principal contribution is her attempt to demonstrate through theoretical innovation why such an integrative approach is justified. With her book, a new chapter in the ongoing dialogue among Mayanists is initiated."
Kevin J. Johnston, Reviews in Anthropology
The first edition of this book proved to be extremely useful to students of archaeology because it provided a highly readable explanation for why people might bury valued family members under house and plaza floors in Preclassic and Classic Maya societies of the first millennium BCE and CE. By casting this ancestralizing practice within the larger framework of land, inheritance, identity, and genealogies of place, the author demonstrates the cultural logic of a practice that initially appears alien to Western eyes. This new edition contains an entirely new introduction that synthesizes new scholarship, as well as an updated bibliography.
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