The Maya has long been established as the best, most readable introduction to the New World’s greatest ancient civilization. In The Maya Michael D. Coe distils a lifetime’s scholarship for the general reader and student.
This, the eighth edition of the book, incorporates the latest archaeological and epigraphic research, which continues to proceed at a fast pace. Among the finest new discoveries are the spectacular polychrome murals of Calakmul, which provide archaeological evidence for the importance of marketplaces in the Classic Maya cities as well as giving a unique glimpse into Maya daily life. Other recent finds relate to the initial peopling of the Maya area by Early Hunters and Archaic peoples.
It is clear that the birth of Maya civilization lies not in the Classic but during the Preclassic period, above all in the Mirador Basin of northern Guatemala, where the builders of gigantic ancient cities erected the world’s largest pyramid as early as 200 BC. In addition, the persistent influence of the precocious Olmec civilization of southeast Mexico on the development of complex society in the Maya area has become more apparent. These and other discoveries continue to suggest that we must rethink what we mean by the term ‘Classic.’
This edition concludes with new historical evidence for the crucial role played by collaborationist native leaders in the Spanish conquest of the region.