Ancient Maya

Ancient Maya : The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization

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In this new archaeological study, Arthur Demarest brings the lost pre-Columbian civilization of the Maya to life. In applying a holistic perspective to the most recent evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, and epigraphy, this theoretical interpretation emphasises both the brilliant rain forest adaptations of the ancient Maya and the Native American spirituality that permeated all aspects of their daily life. Demarest draws on his own discoveries and the findings of colleagues to reconstruct the complex lifeways and volatile political history of the Classic Maya states of the first to eighth centuries. He provides a new explanation of the long-standing mystery of the ninth-century abandonment of most of the great rain forest cities. Finally, he draws lessons from the history of the Classic Maya cities for contemporary society and for the ongoing struggles and resurgence of the modern Maya peoples, who are now re-emerging from six centuries of oppression.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 389 pages
  • 154 x 226 x 24mm | 621.43g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 111 b/w illus. 16 maps
  • 0521533902
  • 9780521533904
  • 416,476

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Review quote

'In Ancient Maya, Arthur Demarest, an authority on the Olmec and Maya civilisations, applies an holistic, theoretically-integrated perspective to this study of archaeology, paleoecology, and epigraphy, as well as to his evaluations of fellow scholars. The resulting interpretation covers both practical and spiritual aspects of Classic Maya life from the first to the eighth centuries, including their adaptations to their rainforest environment (agriculture, arboriculture, hydraulic works, and so on), economics and trade, religion and ideology, and politics.' British Bulletin of Publications

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About Arthur A. Demarest

Dr Demarest is the Ingram Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. For more than twenty-five years he has directed archaeological field excavations at ancient sites in the highlands, coasts and rain forests of Central America and is considered a leading authority on early Olmec, particularly Mayan civilization.

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