- Gebundene Ausgabe: 453 Seiten
- Verlag: Handbooks to Ancient Civilizat; Auflage: New. (1. August 2004)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1576076962
- ISBN-13: 978-1576076965
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 17,8 x 2,5 x 25,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.232.330 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Ancient Maya: New Perspectives (Understanding Ancient Civilizations Series) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. August 2004
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"While the style of writing is still academic, the author took a quantum leap forward to boil down much of the information that we have on the Mayan civilization to place this book as a one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own." -
"The clearly written book boasts an extensive glossary, a long chronology listing major events from Maya origins to current research, and good maps and illustrations. It is excellent as a text and professional reference and for general readership. Summing up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." -
" ... a one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own." -
"[A] one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own." -
"The clearly written book boasts an extensive glossary, a long chronology listing major events from Maya origins to current research, and good maps and illustrations. It is excellent as a text and professional reference and for general readership. Summing up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." - Choice
"[A] one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own." - Whispering Wind
"While the style of writing is still academic, the author took a quantum leap forward to boil down much of the information that we have on the Mayan civilization to place this book as a one-stop reference book that clearly stands on its own." - Reviewer's Consortium
This is an introduction to the Mayan civilization, including new interpretations and ongoing controversies. The book features examples of artifacts such as the murals of Bonampak and the Hieroglyphic Stairway of Copan.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Organized like a textbook (and I understand it is used as such in some college courses), it is divided into eleven chapters. The first chapter is a general introduction, the author noting some of the evolution in scholarly understanding of the Maya, due to a huge growth in the amount of fieldwork and critical breakthroughs in decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphics, particularly thanks to the efforts of such scholars as Yuri Knorozov (who pointed out that the hieroglyphs were phonetic and not logographs or based on picture writing) and Tatiana Proskouriakoff (who discovered that hieroglyphs on carved stone monuments or stelae recorded historical information and the exploits of Classic Maya royalty, not priestly writings on astronomy and mathematics). McKillop introduced three competing theories that attempted to explain the collapse of the classic Maya civilization in the ninth century, something that she would revisit several times (briefly, they were ecological disaster resulting form overpopulation and overuse of the land, escalating endemic warfare between the various Maya city-states, and catastrophic environmental change brought about by climatic shifts).
Chapter two looked at where the ancient Maya civilization existed, dividing the Maya area into three regions; the northern Maya lowlands (the Yucatan peninsula), the southern Maya lowlands (Belize, the Peten area of Guatemala, the Chiapas area of Mexico, and part of Honduras), and the southern Maya highlands (southern Guatemala). She noted the rock types used by the ancient Maya - chert (which she said is erroneously referred to as flint), limestone, obsidian, basalt - and their sources and issues in studying existing plant and animal communities in the region (ramon trees, which produce an edible nut, are prolific around Maya ruin sites but were not a major component of the Classic Maya diet; these trees love the lime-rich soil found around deteriorating limestone buildings).
Chapter three looked at the history of the archaeology of the Maya. She noted how far study has advanced, from destructive digging ("Gann holes" are still found in the center of some stone mounds, the legacy of enthusiastic explorer Thomas Gann) and forgeries (the famous crystal skull found in 1927) to sophisticated modern techniques (including studies of debitage - flakes left over from making stone tools - and obsidian hydration, which can pinpoint the source of obsidian used for tools and help trace Maya trade routes).
Chapter four is on the origins, growth, and decline of Maya civilization. An important chapter, she provided a good definition of the Classic period (approximately A.D. 300 to 900, when Maya kings and queens had stone monuments erected with historical information and dates in the Maya long count and the peak of the civilization in terms of population, architecture, and the arts). She provided an overview of the great importance in studying Maya pottery, an overview of Maya architecture, and a discussion of Postclassic Maya civilization.
Chapter five was devoted to economic matters, which is divided by scholars into the prestige economy (production and distribution of goods for the royal Maya) and the subsistence economy (goods for the daily use of all classes of Maya society). There is still considerable debate over the degree of elite control and centralization of the ancient Maya economy as well as how specialized the means of production was; was there mass production or cottage industries?
Chapter six covered Maya society. It was interesting to learn that there was a Maya middle class and even "garden cities" or suburbs in some of the 80 Maya polities that existed. She covered the evolution in understanding of Maya population (from concepts of Maya cities as largely empty ceremonial centers to instead that of teeming metropolises) and the different social levels of Maya society; there were two classes of elites (ahau and cahal), while the remaining 98 percent of Maya society was made up two classes of commoners and perhaps slaves (it is debated).
Chapter seven looked at Maya politics. There is debate over whether the Maya city-states were fairly autonomous and operated independently (the segmentary model) or whether there was more centralization and various regional superpowers rose and fell. Other debates center over the nature of warfare; was it related to expansionistic empire-building by Maya royalty, or was it to obtain captives for sacrifice? She covered the development of defensive walls in Maya cities, noting that some cities apparently hastily built defensive walls and moats using the stone from buildings, causeways, and paths of their own city.
Chapter eight looked at Maya religion and ideology, with lots of coverage of the ball game and of Maya deities.
Chapter nine looked at the material culture, with much discussion of the types of items found and how they are studied. Interesting facts; chert was sometimes used to make complex renditions of Maya rulers and their method of manufacture "defies modern replication," Maya painters showed frame-by-frame action, something not shown in Western art until the late 19th century, and pumice was used to make fishing floats.
Chapter ten looked at the intellectual accomplishments of the Maya, notably their mathematics, calendars, writing, and astronomy. Though books were apparently once common in the Classic period, only four Postclassic books survive. They were made of fig bark paper whose surface was coated with a white coating of plaster or gesso (a calcium sulphate), written on with either a sharp quill pen or a brush pen, and were fan-folded with text and images on both sides. Maya glyphs were quite variable, reflecting the decentralized nature of the Classic Maya political landscape.
The final chapter summarized future issues for Mayanists, notably discussions of the Classic collapse (an issue complicated by the fact that the collapse took 150 years to happen and some areas in northern Belize, the coast, and the northern Maya lowlands actually climaxed after the collapse), the nature of Mayan politics, food, and issues of illegal trade in Maya antiquities.