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Two recent articles (Sload 2015; Sugiyama et al. 2013) and the resulting exchange raise important questions about the dating of Teotihuacan. I will not reinterpret other scholars’ excavations or their understandings of contexts, or take a position in this fruitful debate. Instead, my purpose is to draw the attention of readers of the journal who do not work at Teotihuacan to the broader implications for the Maya region and Mesoamerica.
Con el primer número del volumen 29 de Latin American Antiquity (LAQ) estamos muy contentos de poder anunciar buenas noticias para nuestros lectores y colaboradores. A partir de la edición de marzo 2018, el recuento anual de páginas de LAQ se incrementará a 880, al igual que American Antiquity (AAQ). Hace solo dos años se le asignaron a LAQ 576 páginas, por lo que esto significa un aumento del 53%, el mayor en la historia de la revista.
The March 2017 issue of Latin American Antiquity brings with it momentous changes. It also marks the conclusion of our first term as coeditors. We think it important to let you know how LAQ has grown this decade and especially over the past three years, and to inform you of significant changes that commence with this issue.
We describe a remarkable artifact discovered during our 2015 excavations at the Maya site of Nim li Punit, Belize. It is a T-shaped jade pectoral worn on the chest by ancient Maya kings during rites in which they scattered copal incense (Figure 1). These rituals are described or depicted on six carved stone monuments (stelae) at the site. What is more, two stelae at the site depict rulers wearing the pectoral. The reverse side of the jade contains a long historical hieroglyphic text. Had the piece been recovered by illegal means and ended up in a private collection, much of the text would make little sense and it could not possibly be ascribed to Nim li Punit. The priceless worth of the Nim li Punit pectoral, therefore, lies not only in its hieroglyphic inscription but also in its known archaeological context and contemporary images of its use. We briefly describe that context and present a translation of the important text on the jade pectoral, which we interpret as a “wind jewel.”
The largest monumental construction at Chichen Itza is the Great Platform, a leveled surface so large that it dwarfs the Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors, the Group of 1000 Columns, and all the other structures that stand upon it. Yet the construction history of this platform has been poorly understood. Archaeological investigations conducted in 2009 reveal at least ten major construction episodes for the Great Platform, and serve to link the construction sequences of many of the buildings that the platform supports. This long history indicates that the basic orientation and planning of the Great Platform was established at an early date, and that the center of Chichen Itza was not built all at once—by “Toltec” invaders or by “Mexicanized” Maya—but instead slowly evolved. Moreover, the “International” style of art and architecture that dominates the final stages of construction in the heart of Chichen Itza also developed gradually over time, revealing a pattern of adoption, innovation, and adaptation. In sum, the rulers, architects, and artists of Chichen Itza were not the passive recipients of foreign influence, but instead were active participants in the creation of the International style.
Chichen Itza is justly famous for its beautiful architecture, carved lintels, hieroglyphic texts, stone sculpture, and even painted murals (Figures 1.1, 9.1, and 10.1). For this reason, Chichen Itza has become the most visited archaeological site in southern Mexico and Central America. Each day, an average of 5,000 tourists visit the ancient city, and during the equinoxes the number can be more than 40,000.
The archaeological sites of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are among the most visited ancient cities of the Americas. Archaeologists have recently made great advances in our understanding of the social and political milieu of the northern Maya lowlands. However, such advances have been under-represented in both scholarly and popular literature until now. The Ancient Maya of Mexico presents the results of new and important archaeological, epigraphic, and art historical research in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. Ranging across the Middle Preclassic to the Modern periods, the volume explores how new archaeological data has transformed our understanding of Maya history. The Ancient Maya of Mexico will be invaluable to students and scholars of archaeology and anthropology, and all those interested in the society, rituals and economic organisation of the Maya region.
The three modern Mexican states of Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo compose roughly half of the Maya area. The northern Maya lowlands, whose southern boundary runs east–west through south central Quintana Roo and Campeche at approximately 19 degrees north latitude, is—with the exception of the Puuc hills—a generally flat plain characterized by low scrub forest, moderate to low rainfall, little surface water, a subtropical climate, and many of the most spectacular cities ever built in the New World. For this reason, the archaeological sites of the Yucatan peninsula, including Chichen Itza, Tulum, Uxmal, and Coba, are among the most visited anywhere in the Americas.
The northern lowlands have long been the focus of Mexican archaeologists studying the Maya. Most of the projects of the past 30 years have been directed by investigators at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) center in Merida, or by investigators at newer INAH centers in Campeche and Chetumal. Other important projects have been conducted by faculty and students at Mexican universities, by foreign scholars, and, recently, by a small group of independent Mexican archaeologists (see Bey 2006:14-15 for a partial publication list of many of these projects). Results of archaeological research in the northern Maya lowlands are regularly presented at meetings held in Mexico, Guatemala, the United States, and Europe.