- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 22, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415429943
- ISBN-13: 978-0415429948
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period 1st Edition
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"Francisco Estrada-Belli's new book on the early Maya stems from a decade of excavations and survey by the Holmul Project at Holmul, Cival, La, Sufricaya, and other sites in the northeast Peten of Guatemala...the writing is clear and lively...Estrada-Belli's book contains many valuable and instructive insights and convincing arguments and is well worth reading." – E. Wyllys Andrews, Tulane university, New Orleans, USA.
About the Author
Francisco Estrada-Belli is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Boston University, USA. He is also member of the Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad San Carlos, Guatemala, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. For the last ten years he has directed the Holmul Archaeological Project in the Peten district of northeastern Guatemala (bu.edu/holmul/). In February 2010 he co-founded the Maya Archaeological Initiative (mayaarchaeology.org), a not-for-profit organization that supports archaelogical research, preservation and education in Guatemala.
Top customer reviews
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Estrada-Belli strongly advocates for Maya civilization's deep roots in the lowlands, and the first section of the book is essentially a refutation of early- and mid-20th-Century highland-to-lowland diffusionist scenarios that were mostly built on biased data and faulty ecological premises.
Estrada-Belli then moves on to an overview early Maya cities and monuments throughout the southern lowlands, before getting into the "meat" of the book, which draws heavily from his own archaeological project in the Holmul region, near the Guatemala-Belize border.
In the three chapters at the book's heart, he describes (1) the founding of Maya sites between 1000 and 700 BC, which often involved massive modifications of natural hills and the sculpting of bedrock to into spaces for ritual; (2) the development of iconography linking celestial, agricultural, and ancestor symbolism, which became tied to divine kingship; and (3) the demise of some Preclassic kingdoms and the rise of others at the onset of the Classic period, around 150-250 AD.
The book is not particularly long, but it has a very high signal-to-noise ratio. I recommend it as a one-stop-shop on the origins of Maya civilization, or as a companion volume to the newly-released edited volume The Origins of Maya States, by Loa Traxler and Robert Sharer.