- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 7, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195183630
- ISBN-13: 978-0195183634
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World
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This useful new source for readers interested in the Maya is arranged in 12 readable chapters covering topics such as archaeology, geography, government, cosmology, architecture, astronomy, and daily life. These chapters are subdivided into sections that are usually several pages in length; examples are "Agriculture," "Other Food Production," "Craft Production, " and "Trade" in the chapter "Economy, Industry, and Trade." The subdivisions are in turn divided into smaller sections that each address a specific topic, such as "Soil Conservation and Intensive Cultivation or "Salt Production." An extensive index gives access to all of the topical subdivisions, and there are cross-references within the essays. Each chapter includes a reading list. The volume also includes a chronological chart of Maya history, an extensive bibliography, black-and-white illustrations and photographs, and maps.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: The Civilizations of Mexico and Central America (Oxford, 2001) [RBB S 1 01] and Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia (Garland, 2001) [RBB Mr 1 01] each covers a wider scope of geography and cultures and is organized alphabetically instead of thematically. If forced to choose only one reference source on ancient Mesoamerican cultures, Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia provides the best balance of comprehensive coverage and relatively low price ($150). The Handbook would be a useful addition to public and academic library collections that need more extensive coverage of the Maya. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"The authors of this book have done a masterful job in amassing information about Maya civilization from a wide variety of sources and from some reports that are so recent that they have not yet been published...In a field where new information emerges almost daily, and major discoveries still occur several times each year, the authors are impressively current in the information they provide...this book is an easy-to-read and most up-to-date account of ancient Maya civilization." -Peter Mathews --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Why not a 5 star? Well every teacher has to believe the holy grail of texts exists out there but has yet to be found.
What I like about it is its organization...a special long, long section is starting at the earliest history and going up to the (Evolution of Maya Civilization).....placing the many many Mayan sites in place historically, importance, etc...then another section is every ??site listed alphabetically with a summary of where, when it's apex, and why it's unique or not. Then geography, Then a long debate, well done, of City-states, vs Regional States and Superpowers....
Many other sections...Architecture, economy, daily life, etc.
For me it's a wonderful synthesis of so many different readings...it puts the information for me into a more cohesive and rememberable and reasonable system. She often provides alternative current beliefs among the archaeologists and ethno-historians, etc...saying that more study is necessary, but so far they believe this or that.
Especially useful for me was the placement of when and what for the Maya sites.
As an example...the changing of all powerful divine leaders to later the elite classes having more say in government...fewer stalae, more wall paintings, etc. She even has a unit on TRAPS....how the Mayan used setting up a trap for their enemies...
The only disappointing thing about the book is the photos. They are small and bxw. The line drawings are very well reproduced, however. It seems that one is often forced to choose between really good text and great photography. The price goes way up when a book is filled with beautiful color photos and the text is usually the standard same-old, same-old. The value here is in the condensed info in the text rather than in the photos.
This is a great reference book, especially good for finding info quickly and easily. Plus the very well written text is interesting and comprehensive.