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Volume 27 : Articles

Lords of the Northern Maya

Dynastic History in the Inscriptions of Uxmal and Chichen Itza

By: Jeff Karl Kowalski

During the past thirty years significant advances have been made in the inter­pretation of Maya hieroglyphic writing. The glyphic inscriptions, formerly thought to pertain exclu­sively to calendrical, astronomical, and ritual matters, are now recog­nized to he also records of human history, recounting the principal events in the lives of the rulers of the Maya cities […]


Mary Louise Baker and the Maya

From the Archives

By: Caroline G. Dosker

An interview in 1908 with Dr. George Byron Gordon, Curator of North American Archaeology at The Uni­versity Museum, began Mary Louise Baker’s 30-year association with Maya art. Her first assignment for the Museum was to draw the Maya pots in the Peabody Museum at Harvard Uni­versity. Later she traveled to Europe and Central America to […]


Rebuilding the Ruins

Making a Scale Model of the Ancient Maya City of Tikal

By: Chris Ray

On February 1984, Dr. Gregory Possehl (Associate Director of The University Museum) asked me if I could make the Mu­seum a scale model of the Maya city of Tikal. It was to serve as the centerpiece for an exhibition on Maya art funded by NEH and cur­ated by Dr. Arthur Miller, a Consulting Scholar of […]


Population and Social Dynamics

The Dynasties and Social Structure of Tikal

By: William A. Haviland

When dealing with a complex society, whether your own, that of the Maya, or any other, scholars gener­ally adopt one of two approaches: they look at the society from the top down, or from the bottom up. Although there are exceptions, his­torians, in their fascination with the doings of kings or other ruling aristocracies, have […]


Send Me Mr. Burkitt…Some Whisky and Wine!

Early Archaeology in Central America

By: Elin C. Danien

At the end of the last century, the pre-Columbian ruins of Mexico and Gua­temala attracted adven­turers and archaeologists whose names are known to every modern student of the Maya. Maler . . . Morley . . . Maudslay . . . Thompson . . . these men helped write some of the most impor­tant chapters […]


Maya Hieroglyphs

A History of the Decipherment

By: Christopher Jones

To those familiar with the deci­pherment of Egyptian hiero­glyphs and Babylonian or As­syrian cuneiform, the lack of progress in the reading of Maya hieroglyphs must seem strange. The language has not died out: it is still the native tongue of more than a million people in Mexico and Central America. Moreover. Maya vocabulary, grammar and […]


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 […]


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 […]


Tikal, Guatemala

A Rationale for the Placement of the Funerary Pyramids

By: Mary Ellen Miller

For more than a hundred years, the towering pyramids at Tikal, Guatemala, have captured both popular and scholarly fancy. They form the very basis of our notion of a Maya pyramid, and since they appeared on the secret enemy planet in “Star Wars,- the Tikal pyramids have entered the consciousness of countless people. Six great […]


The Game of Trigon

By: Donald White

From Roman Athletics: Classical Antecedents to the National Mania “All at once we saw a bald old man [Trimalchio–Ed.] in a reddish shirt playing at ball with some long-haired boys. It was not the boys that attracted our notice, though they deserved it, but the old gentleman, who was in his house-shoes, busily engaged with […]