Secrets of the Maya, by Archaeology Magazine

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Ed. Hatherleigh Press, 2004. Size 23 x 18 cm. Condition: Used, excellent. 202 pages.

Secrets of the Maya 001Since the first issue of archaeology rolled off the presses more than fifty-five years ago, the magazine has been on the forefront of discovery, a privileged witness to the unfolding field of Maya studies. Archaeology Magazine was among the first to bring to a wider audience the discoveries of early pioneers in the field, notables such as Matthew Sterling, Floyd Lounsbury, Tatiana Proskouriakoff and Gordon Willey. Back then, a mere five percent of Maya glyphs had been deciphered. Sites as Tikal and Palenque, now major tourist attractions, were in the earliest stages of excavation. Today, en estimated 80 percent of the hieroglyphs can be read, and scores of new sites have been discovered with the aid of space-age technology.

The articles in this volume, publishing within the past sixteen years, further document the phenomenl growth in our understanding of this ancient culture, from its origins in the preclasic cultures of Mesoamerica around 1000 B.C. through its rise and eventual collapse ca. A.D. 1000.

My own personal journey among the Maya began in 1990 when I first encountered the late Linda Schele, a brilliant epigrapher with a flair of for communicating the thrill of research and discovery. A humanist, able by dint of superior intellect and long hours poring over Maya glyphs to conceive the world like a Maya, Schele could hold an audience transfixed. During an appearance at New York University, she recounted a moment of professional triumph -the discovery, meticulously cross-checked with scholars the world over- of mthe celestial origin of the Maya creation myth. “It’s like being able to read Genesis in the heavens”, she declared. Her enthusiasm was infectious.

We also explored the musical sophistication of the ancient Maya, examined videographic detail of artwork no longer visible to the naked eye, compared modern-day Maya religious practice with those of ancient forbears, and asked what could be doine to stem the systematic plundering of sites throughout the region.

You might say that contributors to this collection of articles have drawn back the curtain of an ancient stage, revealing people and places hitherto poorly understood, surpassing in their art, spirituality, and political savagery our wildest imagination.

Preface, by Peter A. Young
Introduction: The New Maya, by T. Patrick Culbert
1- Scribes, Warriors & Kings. The lives of the Copán Maya, by William L. Fash and Barbara W. Fash
2- Uncovering a Royal Tomb in Copán. Rescue excavations after Hurricane Mitch yield a ruler’s burial, by Angela M. H. Schuster
3- Maya Superstates. How a few powerful kingdoms vied for control of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic period, by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube
4- Maya Palace Uncovered. Extensive palace found at the Maya site of Cancuén in Guatemalas Petén Region, by Angela M. H. Schuster
5- Life & Death. In a Maya War Zone. Within a Yucatan pyramid lie the frim traces of a violent change in rulership-the remains of a slaughtered royal familiy, by Charles Suhler and David Freidel
6- A Mightly Maya Nation. How Caracol built an empire by cultivating its “middle class”, by Arlen F. Chase and Diane Z. Chase
7- Tropical Time Capsule. An ancient village preserved in volcanic ash yields evidence of Mesoamerican Pompeii, by James Wiseman
8- Music of the Maya. A grave-site trove of flutes and figurine ocarinas in western Belize suggest musical sophistication among the
ancient Maya, by Paul F. Healy
9- Imaging Maya Art. Infrared video “prospecting” of Bonampak’s famous murals yields critical details no longer visible to the naked eye, by Mary Miller
10- The Search for Site Q. For years scholars have been looking for the source of an array of unprovenienced Maya sculptures in collections here and abroad, by Angela M. H. Schuster
11- Mision to La Corona. A new Maya site may fail to qualify as Site Q, by Ian Graham
12- Written in the Stars. The celestial origin of Maya creation Myth, by Richard A. Wertime and Angela M. H. Schuster
13- The Great Chronicler of Maya Art. Merle Greene Robertson has spent a lifetime documenting Mesoamerican sculpture, carvings, and paintings, by Tom Gidwitz
14- The Maverick Mayanist. Ian Graham’s crusade to record every known maya monument has earned him a place in the constellation of great Mesoamerican explorers, by John Dorfman and Andrew L. Slayman
15- The Glyph Decoder. Pioneering epigrapher and scholar Linda Schele has helped shape a whole new vision of the humanity of the Maya, by Gillett Griffin
16- Honoring Linda Schele. Students and colleagues gather to pay homage to magnificient Mayanist, by Angela M. H. Schuster
17- A Triumph of Spirit. How Yuri Knorosov cracked the Maya hieroglyphic code form far-off Leningrad, by Michael D. Coe
18- From Parlours to Pyramids. Fleeing the “gilded cage of English civilization”, artist and adventurer Adela Breton became a skilled copiuer of Maya murals and reliefs in the early 1900s, by Mary McVicker