By Francisco Estrada-Belli
When the Maya kings of Tikal devoted their first carved monuments within the 3rd century A.D., inaugurating the vintage interval of Maya historical past that lasted for 6 centuries and observed the increase of such recognized towns as Palenque, Copan and Yaxchilan, Maya civilization was once already approximately a millennium previous. Its first towns, resembling Nakbe and El Mirador, had the various greatest temples ever raised in Prehispanic the USA, whereas others resembling Cival confirmed even past facts of complicated rituals. the truth of this Preclassic Maya civilization has been documented by way of students during the last 3 many years: what were visible as an age of easy village farming, belatedly responding to the stimulus of extra complex peoples in highland Mesoamerica, is now understand to were the interval whilst the Maya made themselves into one of many New World's so much cutting edge societies. This publication discusses the newest advances in our wisdom of the Preclassic Maya and the emergence in their rainforest civilization, with new information on payment, political association, structure, iconography and epigraphy aiding a modern theoretical point of view that demanding situations past assumptions.
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Extra resources for The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period
Seen from the vantage point of Chichén Itzá, 27 MAYA CIVILIZATION IN PERSPECTIVE the Postclassic was a new era of greatness and political cohesion in the Maya Lowlands. The center of gravity had just shifted to the north. In the end, the environmental/drought theories’ greatest weakness lies in their failure to explain how the generally drier and more thin-soiled north could prosper during the droughts of the 10th century. As many others have pointed out, the final explanation for the Maya collapse may be out of reach at the moment, but hopefully not for ever.
15 Copan’s Altar Q, dedicated by Yax Pasac to commemorate his 15 predecessors and the dynasty’s founder, Yax K’uk’ Mo’ Source: © F. Estrada-Belli Note: Yax K’uk Mo’ is depicted here (center left) passing Yax Pasac a lit torch, symbol of royal office K’uk’ Mo’ and a small number of Early Classic rulers, including Tikal’s Yax Nuun Ayiin, may have traveled to Teotihuacan to receive the insignia of power at the Pyramid of the Sun, which included in its front a sanctuary of the new fire ceremony (also known as the Adosada structure).
In the 7th century, Palenque was ruled by Kinich Janaab Pakal, or Pakal the Great. During his seven-decade reign, he led the city into its golden age. Today the Palace and the Temple of the Inscriptions, containing his tomb, are his most evident legacies. Many today consider this the most beautiful among the surviving Maya temples. He built the central throne-room of the palace, House E (appropriately named the Sak nuuk naah, “White Skin House”). Its simple initial floor-plan was greatly expanded by his successors and turned into a labyrinth of well-lit rooms around secluded courtyards, all set atop underground hallways.