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Bones of the Maya

Studies of Ancient Skeletons

Edited by Stephen L. Whittington and David M. Reed, with contributions from Lori

Publication Year: 2006

Landmark research underrepresented in the study of Maya civilization.
This volume, which includes an indexed bibliography of the first 150 years of Maya osteology, pulls together for the first time a broad spectrum of bioarchaeologists that reveal remarkable data on Maya genetic relationship, demographic, and diseases.
Stephen L. Whittington is Director of the Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University. David M. Reed is a research scientist at the University of Michigan.
Carl Armstrong, Jane E. Buikstra, Diane Z. Chase, Mark N. Cohen, Della Collins Cook, Marie Elaine Danforth, Andrés del Ángel, Robert E. Ferrell, John P. Gerry, Karen D. Gettelman, Lorena M. Havill, Keith P. Jacobi, Harold W. Krueger, Nora M. López Olivares, Lourdes Márquez, , Virginia K. Massey, D. Andrew Merriwether, Kathleen O'Connor, K. Anne Pyburn, David M. Reed, Frank P. Saul, Julie Mather Saul, D. Gentry Steele, Rebecca Storey, Diane M. Warren, David Webster, Christine D. White, Stephen L. Whittington, Lori E. Wright

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

"Near the end of Breaking the Maya Code, Michael Coe (1992) describes a Dumbarton Oaks conference held in Washington D.C. during the fall of 1989. The conference dealt with the Classic Maya collapse and some of the more..."

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Preface to the New Edition

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pp. xiii-xvi

"It has been more than eight years since the publication of Bones ofthe Maya. Some things have changed: The original edition of the book is out of print, and the Smithsonian Institution Press has gone out of business. The Web site described..."

PART 1 Introduction

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pp. 1

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1 Studying Maya Burials

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pp. 3-12

"When I was first a graduate student in the mid 1960s, there were very few specialized studies of Maya burials or osteological remains. Some impressive tombs, such as those discovered at Tikal and Kaminaljuyu, were described in much..."

PART 2 Osteological Studies

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pp. 13

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2 Southern Lowland Maya Archaeology and Human Skeletal Remains: Interpretations from Caracol (Belize), Santa Rita Corozal (Belize), andTayasal (Guatemala)

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pp. 15-27

"One class of data that is crucial to archaeological interpretations of prehistoric populations, their health, status, and demographic patterns, is that derived from human burials. These are..."

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3 The Preclassic Skeletons from Cuello

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pp. 28-50

"Located in northern Belize between the Rio Hondo and New River, the Preclassic Maya site of Cuello has been extensively excavated since 1975 (Hammond 1991). Excavations were concentrated on Platform 34, a raised area of..."

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4 Height among Prehispanic Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula: A Reconsideration

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pp. 51-61

"Physical anthropologists have long been interested in the study of height and its variation among populations because of its potential to further understanding of some evolutionary changes and their causes. The influence of the..."

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5 A Maya Skull Pit from the Terminal Classic Period~ Colha~ Belize

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pp. 62-77

"Excavation during the 1980 field season at Colha, Belize, uncovered a remarkable collection of human remains (Eaton 1980, 1982; Massey 1989, 1994; Massey and Steele 1982; Steele et al. 1980). Next to the staircase on a..."

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6 Archaeology and Osteology of theTipu Site

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pp. 78-86

"According to ethnohistorical documents (Graham et al. 1989; Jones 1989; Jones and Kautz 1981a,b; Jones et al. 1986) the town of Tipu (in what is now Belize) was the site of a Spanish visita mission at the edge of the Spanish colonial..."

PART 3 Dental Studies

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pp. 87

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7 Late Postclassic Tooth Filing at Chau Hiix and Tipu, Belize

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pp. 89-104

"An old and fascinating human practice, body ornamentation can be achieved through a variety of means including clothing, piercings, tattooing, and scarification, among others. Another such method, artificial dental modification..."

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8 Cultural Odontology: Dental Alterations from Peten, Guatemala

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pp. 105-115

"From the archaeological perspective, especially in the Peten region of the Maya lowlands, during the recovery of human skeletal remains one should consider all relevant factors. In addition..."

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9 Individual Frailty, Children of Privilege, and Stress in Late Classic Copan

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pp. 116-126

"One of the important skeletal samples available from the Late Classic period (A.D. 700-1000) for the important Maya center at Copan, Honduras, was recovered from a large elite compound, 9N-8, in the residential barrio of Sepulturas..."

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10 Late Classic Maya Health Patterns: Evidence from Enamel Microdefects

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pp. 127-137

"Most well-known models of the Classic Maya collapse (e.g., Culbert 1988; Lowe 1985; Santley et al. 1986; Willey and Shimkin 1973) incorporate a number of factors, including increased warfare, ecological devastation, and..."

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11 Dental Genetic Structuring of a Colonial Maya Cemetery, Tipu, Belize

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pp. 138-153

"Teeth are not everlasting but they come close. Natural elements only slowly break down enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. For this reason, teeth provide an excellent source of information about burials recovered..."

PART 4 Stable Isotope and DNA Studies

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pp. 155

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12 Commoner Diet at Copan: Insights from Stable Isotopes and Porotic Hyperostosis

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pp. 157-170

"Archaeological excavations, even when directed by someone sensitive to the value of human skeletal remains for helping answer important questions about Maya civilization, do not always result in large, well-preserved, well..."

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13 Ancient Diet at Lamanai and Pacbitun: Implications for the Ecological Model of Collapse

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pp. 171-180

"Mayanists in archaeology and physical anthropology have been preoccupied with unravelling the mystery of the so-called "collapse" of Maya civilization for years. The current prevailing explanatory theory, the ecological model, happens..."

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14 Ecology or Society? Paleodiet and the Collapseof the Pasion Maya Lowlands

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pp. 181-195

"Over the last few decades, archaeologists have taken great strides in investigating the interaction of ancient cultures with their natural environments. This progress is particularly apparent..."

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15 Regional Diversity in Classic Maya Diets

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pp. 196-207

"Maize is the dominant staple in the Maya subsistence base. It is prepared in a variety of ways and eaten at every meal, and it accounts for more than 70% of the calories and proteins consumed in modern Maya households (Behar..."

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16 Ancient and Contemporary Mitochondrial DNA Variation in the Maya

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pp. 208-217

"With the advent of the polymerase chain reaction (peR) (Saiki et al. 1988) it is now possible to extract DNA from ancient human bone, tissue, teeth, and hair and to amplify the number..."

PART 5 Conclusion

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pp. 219

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17 Studying Maya Bioarchaeology

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pp. 221-228

"My great desire was to discover an ancient sepulchre, which we had sought in vain among the ruins of Uxmal. ... ... We continued the work six hours, and the..."

Appendix. An Indexed Bibliography of Prehistoric and Early Historic Maya Human Osteology: 1839-1994

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pp. 229-259

References Cited

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pp. 261-285


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pp. 287-290

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383831
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817353766

Page Count: 306
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Central America -- Antiquities.
  • Mexico -- Antiquities.
  • Human remains (Archaeology) -- Mexico.
  • Mayas -- Anthropometry.
  • Human remains (Archaeology) -- Central America.
  • Mayas -- Antiquities.
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