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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

(p.59) 4 Reconstructing Classic Maya Polities
Ancient Maya Political Dynamics

Antonia E. Foias

University Press of Florida

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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