An objective methodology, based upon the rank-ordering and spatial patterning of Maya centers of the central Peten and central Yucatan zones, is used to infer developmental sequencing in the Maya Lowlands. If courtyard counts are employed as the basic measure of center importance, the Tikal and Calakmul regions each exhibit a size continuum of centers, consistent with the rank-size rule. The Rio Bec and Chenes regions exhibit a size distribution characterized by the existence of several large centers of nearly the same size, i.e., a situation of pluralism. These findings suggest that at the end of the Classic period, Tikal and Calakmul were dominant centers in economically mature regions, with a balance between external and internal growth forces. On the other hand, the later Rio Bec and Chenes centers appear to be in a state of growth redistribution or decline, their external ties truncated by the collapse to the south. Spatial patterning is less conclusive and suggests a relatively dispersed pattern of centers in all regions. The overall conclusion, especially from the frequency distributions of centers by size, is that the "periphery" (exemplified by Rio Bec-Chenes) developed first, reached a period of stasis, and developed further only on the collapse of the "core" centers (Tikal-Calakmul).