“Skillfully integrates the social histories of city development.”—Vernon L. Scarborough, writer of The circulate of strength: historical Water platforms and Landscapes
“Any student drawn to city making plans and the outfitted setting will locate this booklet enticing and useful.”—Lisa J. Lucero, writer of Water and Ritual
For greater than a century researchers have studied Maya ruins, and websites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá have formed our realizing of the Maya. but towns of the japanese lowlands of Belize, a space that used to be domestic to a wealthy city culture that persevered and developed for nearly 2,000 years, are handled as peripheral to those nice vintage interval websites. the new and humid weather and dense forests are inhospitable and make upkeep of the ruins tough, yet this oft-ignored quarter unearths a lot approximately Maya urbanism and culture.
utilizing facts accrued from various websites during the lowlands, together with the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Brett Houk provides the 1st synthesis of those distinctive ruins and discusses tools for mapping and excavating them. contemplating the websites in the course of the analytical lenses of the equipped atmosphere and old city making plans, Houk vividly reconstructs their political background, considers how they healthy into the bigger political panorama of the vintage Maya, and examines what they let us know approximately Maya urban building.
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Additional info for Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands
Whereas a city represents a single site on the landscape, a polity or kingdom represents a capital city, its surrounding secondary centers and countryside, and its ruling family. In addition to emblem glyphs, Stuart and Houston (1994) have identified place names in Maya texts. An emblem glyph refers to a large political unit, but a place name refers to a specific feature on the landscape such as a hill, a particular Maya site, or even a specific building at a site (Stuart and Houston 1994:2). However, to stress the role of Maya cities as essential accessories of rulership, it is worth noting that the place name for the capital of a polity served as the main sign in its emblem glyph in most cases.
Furthermore, high humidity and hot weather caused exposed plaster and limestone to discolor within only a few years. 32 Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands As a result, Maya cities required nearly constant maintenance, and archaeologists commonly find evidence of floors having been resurfaced and walls having been repaired or modified. Another extremely important characteristic of Maya architecture, however, was the fact the Maya apparently did not intend for buildings to be in use forever.
The stone raw material available to the Maya varied from area to area, and, although limestone was the most common, other rock was used in constructions where it was available. The quality of stone, however, was not uniform across the Maya world, and architects without access to fine-grained or less-fractured raw material faced great challenges. Additionally, in areas with limited amounts of suitable construction material, each successive generation of builders found their supply of raw material more and more depleted and the quality of raw material to be lower (Pendergast 1990b:70).