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Ancient Maya Political Dynamics$
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Antonia E. Foias

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044224

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044224.001.0001

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Reconstructing Classic Maya Polities

Reconstructing Classic Maya Polities

The Macro Scale of Political Analysis

Chapter:
(p.59) 4 Reconstructing Classic Maya Polities
Source:
Ancient Maya Political Dynamics
Author(s):

Antonia E. Foias

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813044224.003.0004

This chapter presents the different sources of data used by Maya archaeologists to reconstruct ancient politics at the macroscale or polity and inter-polity level: settlement patterns, epigraphy, and ethnohistory. These bodies of knowledge show that Maya polities were highly variable; therefore, general concepts of centralization versus decentralization are not very useful in understanding the sources of this variability. Case studies from projects in the Upper Grijalva Basin; Chiapas, Mexico; at Xunantunich, Belize; and Motul de San José, Guatemala highlight the similarities and differences between these bodies of knowledge, and the sources of some of the variability in Classic Maya politics.

Keywords:   Guatemala Classic Maya, centralization, decentralization, settlement patterns, epigraphy, hegemony, Mexico, Belize

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