From Library Journal
Building on what was already known and on some ideas from other scholars, Schele (The Blood of Kings, LJ 10/15/93) and Mathews (archaeology, Univ. of Calgary) used the syntactic approach to break the Maya glyph code, making it possible to learn about Maya customs and beliefs where scholars previously had to guess about the meaning of what they found. Here the authors deal with the glyphs and the architecture of seven sites to explain their uses. The names of some are well known, even though their true purpose and function were not understood in the past. Some questions remain unanswered, but there are also new insights into the beliefs of the Maya. This well-illustrated tour of Maya ruins also has a key to pronunciation and a glossary of gods and supernaturals that add interest for the casual reader. Recommended.?Marilyn K. Dailey, Natrona Cty. P.L., Casper, Wy.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mayan civilization, with its hieroglyphic writing and dazzling city ruins, is among the most spectacular in the world. Mayanists Schele and Mathews explain the recently deciphered script and give a vivid guided tour through the cities. Focusing on seven of the most famous buildings in Mayan archaeology, these experts show how the Maya used glyphs to literally inscribe their architecture with accounts of their history and sacred myths. The buildings described include the palace at Tikal, a shrine to the celebrated "Great-Jaguar-Claw," who, like George Washington to Americans, symbolized his city for centuries; and King Pakal's tomb, whose construction and inscriptions this patron of the arts, obsessed with preserving his memory for posterity and his soul for the afterlife, spent his last years overseeing. Stories of the text-covered monuments of Mayan kings will intrigue serious readers who seek depth of coverage on this civilization but will also appeal to those who simply want to dip into archaeology's mysteries. Philip Herbst