Death and the Classic Maya Kings

Death and the Classic Maya Kings

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Like their regal counterparts in societies around the globe, ancient Maya rulers departed this world with elaborate burial ceremonies and lavish grave goods, which often included ceramics, red pigments, earflares, stingray spines, jades, pearls, obsidian blades, and mosaics. Archaeological investigation of these burials, as well as the decipherment of inscriptions that record Maya rulers' funerary rites, have opened a fascinating window on how the ancient Maya envisaged the ruler's passage from the world of the living to the realm of the ancestors. Focusing on the Classic Period (AD 250-900), James Fitzsimmons examines and compares textual and archaeological evidence for rites of death and burial in the Maya lowlands, from which he creates models of royal Maya funerary behavior. Exploring ancient Maya attitudes toward death expressed at well-known sites such as Tikal, Guatemala, and Copan, Honduras, as well as less-explored archaeological locations, Fitzsimmons reconstructs royal mortuary rites and expands our understanding of key Maya concepts including the afterlife and ancestor more

Product details

  • Hardback | 321 pages
  • 185.42 x 259.08 x 27.94mm | 861.82g
  • University of Texas Press
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • English
  • 12 color images in section, 60 line drawings, 4 maps, 6 tables
  • 029271890X
  • 9780292718906
  • 1,575,537

Table of contents

A Note on Orthography Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Celebrations for the Dead Anthropology and Death Rituals The Classic Maya Case Methodological Concerns Kingship and the Ancestors Chapter 2: Death and the Afterlife in the Lowlands Earth Maize Mortality Writing Death The Self and the Soul Breaths of Life and Death Way To the Afterlife Celestial Bodies and Maize Gods Chapter 3: Royal Funerals Waiting for Interment Gravemakers Tombs as Underworld Surfaces Tombs as Caves Tombs as Houses Timing and the Ritual Process Embalming and Processing Dressing and Bundling the Corpse Painting Arranging the Body, Arranging the Furniture Sealing the Tomb Chapter 4: Death and Landscape K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' Lowland Founders and Local Variations Cults of Personality Bird Jaguar IV Gods and Orchards at Palenque Souls within Buildings Ancestor Shrines Chapter 5: Entering the Tombs of the Classic Maya Kings Patterns of Reentry at Piedras Negras Fire in the Motmot Burial Fire and History at Tonina Family Affairs False Reentry Painting, Drilling, and Bone Peeling The Portable Dead Chapter 6: The Dead King and the Body Politic Royal Funerals: Public or Private? Bodies and Monuments Corpses, Souls, and Mourners in Transition Guide to Appendixes Appendix 1: Burial Structures and Contexts Appendix 2: Body Preparations and Funerary Activities Appendix 3: Grave Goods Notes References Indexshow more

About James L. Fitzsimmons

James L. Fitzsimmons is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Middlebury College and is currently directing excavations at the site of Zapote Bobal, more