University Press of Colorado

Mesoamerican Worlds Series

Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University, and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, El Colegio Nacional, Mexico, Series General Editors

Published by: University Press of Colorado

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After Monte Albán

Transformation and Negotiation in Oaxaca, Mexico

Edited by Jeffrey P. Blomster

"After Monte Albán truly fills a void in current archaeological perspectives on the development of late Pre-Hispanic Oaxacan civilizations, placing them at the forefront of a new synthesis and at the same time highlighting a frontier of exciting research avenues for the future." —Marilyn Masson, University at Albany (SUNY)

After Monte Albán reveals the richness and interregional relevance of Postclassic transformations in the area now known as Oaxaca, which lies between Central Mexico and the Maya area and, as contributors to this volume demonstrate, achieved cultural centrality in pan-Mesoamerican networks. Large nucleated states throughout Oaxaca collapsed after 700 C.E., including the great Zapotec state centered in the Valley of Oaxaca, Monte Albán. Elite culture changed in fundamental ways as small city-states proliferated in Oaxaca, each with a new ruling dynasty required to devise novel strategies of legitimization. The vast majority of the population, though, sustained continuity in lifestyle, religion, and cosmology. Contributors synthesize these regional transformations and continuities in the lower Rio Verde Valley, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta. They provide data from material culture, architecture, codices, ethnohistoric documents, and ceramics, including a revised ceramic chronology from the Late Classic to the end of the Postclassic that will be crucial to future investigations. After Monte Albán establishes Postclassic Oaxaca's central place in the study of Mesoamerican antiquity.

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The Apotheosis of Janaab' Pakal

Science, History, and Religion at Classic Maya Palenque

By Gerardo Aldana

"This book represents a major step in looking at the intellectual development of Maya astronomy in a particular historical context and reflects the emerging new understainding of Maya science."—Stephen McCluskey, ISIS

The Apotheosis of Janaab' Pakal takes up anew the riddles within a number of Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions first recognized by Floyd Lounsbury. Gerardo Aldana unpacks these mathematical riddles using an approach grounded in a reading of the texts made possible by recent advances in decipherment. Using a history of science methodology, he expands upon (and sometimes questions) the foundational work of archaeoastronomers. Aldana follows three lines of investigation: a reading of the hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Classic period (a.d. 250-900), mathematical analysis to recover Classic Maya astronomical practice, and a historiography of Maya astronomy. Quoted hieroglyphs appear throughout the text for cross-examination. Aldana reveals the social and political context of Maya astronomy by explicating the science and calendrical calculations found in the tablets of the Temple of Inscriptions and the Cross Group from the city of Palenque. He offers a compelling interpretation of an 819-day count, demonstrating its utility as an astronumerological tool that Maya scribes used to simplify complex calculations. During troubled times in Palenque, Aldana contends, Kan Balam II devised a means to preserve the legitimacy of his ruling dynasty. He celebrated a re-creation of the city as a contemporary analogue of a mythical Creation on three levels: monumental construction for a public audience, artistic patronage for an elite audience, and a secret mathematical astronomical language only for rulers-elect. Discussing all of these efforts, Aldana focuses on the recovery of the secret language and its historical context.

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Commoner Ritual and Ideology in Ancient Mesoamerica

Edited by Nancy Gonlin and Jon C. Lohse

"The best treatment of the subject matter to date."—Marcello A. Canuto, Yale University

Were most commoners in ancient Mesoamerica poor? In a material sense, yes, probably so. Were they poor in their beliefs and culture? Certainly not, as Commoner Ritual and Ideology in Ancient Mesoamerica demonstrates. This volume explores the ritual life of Mesoamerica's common citizens, inside and outside of the domestic sphere, from Formative through Postclassic periods. Building from the premise that ritual and ideological expression inhered at all levels of society in Mesoamerica, the contributors demonstrate that ideology did not emanate solely from exalted individuals and that commoner ritual expression was not limited to household contexts. Taking an empirical approach to this under-studied and under-theorized area, contributors use material evidence to discover how commoner status conditioned the expression of ideas and values. Revealing complex social hierarchies that varied across time and region, this volume offers theoretical approaches to commoner ideology, religious practice, and sociopolitical organization and builds a framework for future study of the correlation of ritual and ideological expression with social position for Mesoamericanists and archaeologists worldwide.

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Invasion and Transformation

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico

Edited by Rebecca P. Brienen and Margaret A. Jackson

"Invasion and Transformation provides exciting readings of indigenous rationalizations of the history of the Spanish invasion and the colonizers' effort to assert their sense of superiority in their allegiance to Spanish imperial expansion. Together, these essays successfully force the reader to question conventional readings of both Spanish and indigenous conquest narratives."—Cristián Roa de la Carrera, University of Illinois at Chicago

Invasion and Transformation examines the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and transformations in political, social, cultural, and religious life in Mexico during the Conquest and the ensuing colonial period. In particular, contributors consider the ways in which the Conquest itself was remembered, both in its immediate aftermath and in later centuries. Was Moteuczoma really as weak as history portrayed him? As Susan D. Gillespie instead suggests in "Blaming Moteuczoma," the representation of Moteuczoma as a scapegoat for the Aztec defeat can be understood as a product of indigenous resistance and accommodation following the imposition of Spanish colonialism. Chapters address the various roles (real and imagined) of Moteuczoma, Cortés, and Malinche in the fall of the Aztecs; the representation of history in colonial art; and the complex cultural transformations that actually took place. Including full-color reproductions of seventeenth-century paintings of the Conquest, Invasion and Transformation will appeal to scholars and students of Latin American history and anthropology, art history, colonial literature, and transatlantic studies.

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The Kowoj

Identity, Migration, and Geopolitics in Late Postclassic Petén, Guatemala

Edited By Prudence M. Rice and Don S. Rice

". . . . Substantially enhances our understanding of Petén, its peoples, and its history. This book should attract a broad readership for its nuanced examination of material reflections of identity in a complex and shifting sociopolitical landscape."—John S. Henderson, American Anthropologist

Neighbors of the better-known Itza in the central Petén lakes region of Guatemala, the Kowoj Maya have been studied for little more than a decade. The Kowoj summarizes the results of recent research into this ethno-political group conducted by Prudence Rice, Don Rice, and their colleagues. Chapters in The Kowoj address the question "Who are the Kowoj?" from varied viewpoints: archaeological, archival, linguistic, ethnographic, and bioarchaeological. Using data drawn primarily from the peninsular site of Zacpetén, the authors illuminate Kowoj history, ritual components of their self-expressed identity, and their archaeological identification. These data support the Kowoj claim of migration from Mayapán in Yucatán, where they were probably affiliated with the Xiw, in opposition to the Itza. These enmities extended into Petén, culminating in civil warfare by the time of final Spanish conquest in 1697. The first volume to consider Postclassic Petén from broadly integrative anthropological, archaeological, and historical perspectives, The Kowoj is an important addition to the literature on late Maya culture and history in the southern lowlands. It will be of particular interest to archaeologists, historians, ethnohistorians, art historians, and epigraphers.

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Lords of Lambityeco

Political Evolution in the Valley of Oaxaca during the Xoo Phase

By Michael Lind and Javier Urcid

"The story presented by the authors and the artifact collection remains a rich and by no means exhuasted mine of information. . .The Lords of Lambityeco succeeds in conveying the richness and complexity of the Mesoamerican archaeological record and the possibilities for interpretations at a level of detail most educated laypersons would not think possible."—Stephen A. Kowalewski, Colonial Latin American Historical Review The Valley of Oaxaca was unified under the rule of Monte Albán until its collapse around AD 800. Using findings from John Paddock's long-term excavations at Lambityeco from 1961 to 1976, Michael Lind and Javier Urcid examine the political and social organization of the ancient community during the Xoo Phase (Late Classic period). Focusing on change within this single archaeological period rather than between time periods, The Lords of Lambityeco traces the changing political relationships between Lambityeco and Monte Albán that led to the fall of the Zapotec state. Using detailed analysis of elite and common houses, tombs, and associated artifacts, the authors demonstrate increased political control by Monte Albán over Lambityeco prior to the abandonment of both settlements. Lambityeco is the most thoroughly researched Classic period site in the valley after Monte Albán, but only a small number of summary articles have been published about this important locale. This, in combination with Lambityeco's status as a secondary center - one that allows for greater understanding of core and periphery dynamics in the Monte Albán state - makes The Lords of Lambityeco a welcome and significant contribution to the literature on ancient Mesoamerica.

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The Madrid Codex

New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript

Edited by Gabrielle Vail and Anthony F. Aveni

“The Madrid Codex offers a new and nuanced understanding of one of the few surviving Maya hieroglyphic books, a porthole into the ancient Maya mind and a poignant reminder of how much was in a world now lost. [It is] a barrage of scholarship from leading scholars in everything from iconography to archaeoastronomy. . . . The Madrid Codex, on the basis of the impressive scholarship in every chapter of this book, now takes its place as a crucial document of this cultural ferment and fusion." —Antiquity

This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, this manuscript includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated in the Petén region of Guatemala and postdates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatán and was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico.

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Maya Creation Myths

Words and Worlds of the Chilam Balam

By Timothy Knowlton

"The Chilam Balam books of Yucatan rank with the Popol Vuh as major works of Maya literature, and the most important book about them is this one. Timothy Knowlton's interpretation is the most insightful, sophisticated, and nuanced that has ever been written."—Dennis Tedlock, State University of New York at Buffalo There is no Classical Yucatecan Maya word for "myth." But around the close of the seventeenth century, an anonymous Maya scribe penned what he called u kahlay cab tu kinil, "the world history of the era," before Christianity came to the Peten. He collected numerous accounts of the cyclical destruction and reestablishment of the cosmos; the origins of gods, human beings, and the rituals and activities upon which their relationship depends; and finally the dawn of the sun and the sacred calendar Maya diviners still use today to make sense of humanity's place in the otherwise inscrutable march of time. These creation myths eventually became part of the documents known today as the Books of Chilam Balam. Maya Creation Myths provides not only new and outstanding translations of these myths but also an interpretive journey through these often misunderstood texts, providing insight into Maya cosmology and how Maya intellectuals met the challenge of the European clergy's attempts to eradicate their worldviews. Unlike many scholars who focus primarily on traces of pre-Hispanic culture or Christian influence within the Books of Chilam Balam, Knowlton emphasizes the diversity of Maya mythic traditions and the uniquely Maya discursive strategies that emerged in the Colonial period.

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Maya Daykeeping

Three Calendars from Highland Guatemala

By John M. Weeks, Frauke Sachse, and Christian M. Prager

"This volume makes available priceless documents about the Maya of highland Guatemala. Their transcription and translation conserves vital legacies of Maya thought, conservation even more critical in light of the especially brutal repression and violence against Maya peoples in recent decades. . . . The three calendars are - individually and collectively - invaluable resources for scholars." —Wendy Ashmore, University of California Riverside

In Maya Daykeeping, three divinatory calendars from highland Guatemala - examples of a Mayan literary tradition that includes the Popul Vuh, Annals of the Cakchiquels, and the Titles of the Lords of Totonicapan - dating to 1685, 1722, and 1855, are transcribed in K'iche or Kaqchikel side-by-side with English translations. Calendars such as these continue to be the basis for prognostication, determining everything from the time for planting and harvest to foreshadowing illness and death. Good, bad, and mixed fates can all be found in these examples of the solar calendar and the 260-day divinatory calendar. The use of such calendars is mentioned in historical and ethnographic works, but very few examples are known to exist. Each of the three calendars transcribed and translated by John M. Weeks, Frauke Sachse, and Christian M. Prager - and housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - is unique in structure and content. Moreover, except for an unpublished study of the 1722 calendar by Rudolf Schuller and Oliver La Farge (1934), these little-known works appear to have escaped the attention of most scholars. Introductory essays contextualize each document in time and space, and a series of appendixes present previously unpublished calendrical notes assembled in the early twentieth century. Providing considerable information on the divinatory use of calendars in colonial highland Maya society previously unavailable without a visit to the University of Pennsylvania's archives, Maya Daykeeping is an invaluable primary resource for Maya scholars.

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Maya Worldviews at Conquest

By Timothy W. Pugh and Leslie G. Cecil

"This book is significant, as it is the first edited volume in more than two decades to focus on the Postclassic and Colonial period Maya. It brings together a diverse body of literature, useful for scholars studying all periods of Maya history. It also provides excellent comparative case studies to be used by Colonial period scholars working around the globe."—Maxine Oland, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Maya Worldviews at Conquest contributes a renewed perspective on the anthropological concept of worldview by focusing on the articulation of multiple worldviews: past and present, familiar and foreign, conflictive and collaborative. This contribtion is best seen as a collective rather than as a singular argument from any one individual chapter." —Christina T. Halperin, Cambridge Archaeological Journal

Maya Worldviews at Conquest examines Maya culture and social life just prior to contact and the effect the subsequent Spanish conquest, as well as contact with other Mesoamerican cultures, had on the Maya worldview. Focusing on the Postclassic and Colonial periods, Maya Worldviews at Conquest provides a regional investigation of archaeological and epigraphic evidence of Maya ideology, landscape, historical consciousness, ritual practices, and religious symbolism before and during the Spanish conquest. Through careful investigation, the volume focuses on the impact of conversion, hybridization, resistance, and revitalization on the Mayans' understanding of their world and their place in it. The volume also addresses the issue of anthropologists unconsciously projecting their modern worldviews on the culture under investigation. Thus, the book critically defines and strengthens the use of worldviews in the scholarly literature regardless of the culture studied, making it of value not only to Maya scholars but also to those interested in the anthropologist's projection of worldview on other cultures in general.

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