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Author: Robert J. Sharer

Chalchuapa

Investigations at a Highland Maya Ceremonial Center

By: Robert J. Sharer

The archaeological ruins of Chalchuapa lie within a broad, fertile valley in the western por­tion of seldom-visited El Salvador, the smallest of the Central American Republics. Seen today, the site consists of clusters of ruined earth-adobe mounds surrounded by fragments of stone sculp­ture and surfaces littered by broken cultural debris, all gathered about the fringes […]


The Copan Corte: A Window on the Architectural History of a Maya City

Reports from the Field

By: Robert J. Sharer and Loa P. Traxler and Julia C. Miller

Sylvanus G. Morley referred to the river cut through the Acro­polis at Copan, Honduras, as “the largest archaeological cross-section in the world” (The Ancient Maya 1948:324). Although perhaps overstated, these words certainly convey the magnitude of this fea­ture, known simply as the cortex (or “cut”). The cortex is the result of centuries of erosion by […]


Alfred P. Maudslay: Pioneer Maya Archaeologist

A Review Article

By: Robert J. Sharer

A century ago the splendid ruins of Maya civilization, first made famous by the travel accounts of John Lloyd Stephens and the illus­trations of Frederick Catherwood published nearly fifty years previously, were the subjects of much speculation but little scientific knowledge. Today all that has changed due to the efforts of scholars in archaeology, linguis­tics, […]


The Quirigua Project, 1974-1979

A brief outline of the development and structure of the research

By: Robert J. Sharer

In December 1973, after over one year of feasibility studies and negotiations in Guatemala, a contract forming the Quirigun Project was signed by representatives of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, and the Ministry of Educa­tion, Government of Guatemala. Once ratified by the President of Guatemala and his Council of Ministers, the Quirigua Project commenced its […]


Archaeological Investigations in the Site Core of Quirigua

Epigraphic and archaeological data now provide evidence of an occupation history spanning half a millennium

By: Christopher Jones and Robert J. Sharer

Quirigua’s dynastic and constructional history was of central concern to the site-core excavations. Since we last considered these topics (Jones 1977: Sharer 1978] several new findings at Quirigua have provided information that considerably amplifies the history of the site. Thus, our purpose here is to integrate these new findings into our former reconstruction of Quirigua’s […]


Archaeology and History in the Royal Acropolis, Copan, Honduras

By: Robert J. Sharer

In a tropical valley on the western edge of Honduras lie the mas­sive ruins of Copan. Here Maya farmers once lived, ruled by powerful kings who built magnificent decorated temples and were buried amid a wealth of objects. Today Copan’s importance is recognized in its designation as a World Heritage Site. During the Classic period […]


Uncovering Copan’s Earliest Royal Tombs

By: Ellen E. Bell and Loa P. Traxler and David W. Sedat and Robert J. Sharer

The royal tombs found buried deep within the core of the Acropolis are a potent source of information about Early Classic life at Copan. In order to glean as much information as possible about the tomb occupants and the jumble of objects surrounding them (Fig. I), precise excavation techniques—and infinite patience—are called for. The Margarita […]


Introduction – Winter 1985

By: Robert J. Sharer

The civilization created by the ancient Maya is recognized throughout the world as one of the most notable achievements of pre-industrial human society. But while many ancient civilizations in the Old World have long been known arid investigated, knowledge of the ancient Maya is a relatively recent phenomenon. The study of this brilliant civilization, centered […]


Archaeology and Epigraphy Revisited

An Archaeological Enigma and the Origins of Maya Writing

By: Robert J. Sharer

In a previous paper (Sharer in press), I discussed the question of the origins of Maya civiliza­tion and one of its principal hall­marks, Maya writing, as viewed from the perspective of current ar­chaeological evidence. One of the themes touched on involved the fundamental changes occurring within Maya archaeology, as it is being transformed from a […]


The Margarita Tomb at Copan, Honduras

A Research Update

By: Ellen E. Bell and Robert J. Sharer and David W. Sedat and Marcello A. Canuto and Lynn Grant

In an earlier issue of Expedition (41[2]), we reported on the first five years of work in an Early Classic burial at the Maya center of Copan, Honduras. The multichambered Margarita Tomb (An 440-450) lies deeply buried at the center of the core of the Late Classic Copan Acropolis. It contains the remains of a […]