By Francisco Estrada-Belli
When the Maya kings of Tikal committed their first carved monuments within the 3rd century A.D., inaugurating the vintage interval of Maya heritage that lasted for 6 centuries and observed the increase of such well-known towns as Palenque, Copan and Yaxchilan, Maya civilization was once already approximately a millennium previous. Its first towns, equivalent to Nakbe and El Mirador, had a number of the biggest temples ever raised in Prehispanic the USA, whereas others resembling Cival confirmed even prior proof of advanced rituals. the truth of this Preclassic Maya civilization has been documented through students during the last 3 a long time: what have been visible as an age of straightforward village farming, belatedly responding to the stimulus of extra complex peoples in highland Mesoamerica, is now comprehend to were the interval while the Maya made themselves into one of many New World's such a lot cutting edge societies. This publication discusses the latest advances in our wisdom of the Preclassic Maya and the emergence in their rainforest civilization, with new info on cost, political association, structure, iconography and epigraphy assisting a latest theoretical viewpoint that demanding situations earlier assumptions.
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Extra info for The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period
According to recent epigraphic evidence (Hansen and Guenter 2005), the Snake kingdom may be traced back to a great Preclassic city somewhere in the vicinity, perhaps even El Mirador, which was the seat of the greatest potentates of the Preclassic Maya. Another possibility is the recently discovered Preclassic site of Xcabal, located near Dzibanché and the Bay of Bacalar, on the east of the Yucatan 15 MAYA CIVILIZATION IN PERSPECTIVE Peninsula. The Early Classic history of the Snake dynasty, new decipherments show, appears to focus on Dzibanché, some 130 kilometers northwest of Calakmul.
Impressive new data from the Gulf Coast led an increasing number of scholars to embrace the Mother Culture theory. The Olmec of San Lorenzo and La Venta, with their monumental sculptures, pyramids, earthworks, caches and complex imagery (partly related to kings), appeared to predate any other civilization in Mesoamerica. How the trappings of civilization were exported from the Olmec heartland of the Gulf Coast into the Maya Lowlands was less clear. Indeed, if the Classic Maya had adopted the attributes of civilization from the Olmecs, this transformation would necessarily have happened centuries after La Venta was abandoned and the Olmecs as a culture had disappeared.
Its center was founded by a lord named Yax K’uk’ Mo’ who appeared in Teotihuacan garb in later Copan art, but was actually born and raised somewhere in the east-central Maya Lowlands, according to his bone chemistry (Sharer 2004; Stuart 2007b). One of his titles was Wite’ Naah Ajaw—an epithet apparently reserved for Maya rulers of this epoch who claimed to have received their power from a place or temple called Wite’ Naah, which may have been at Teotihuacan. Comparing references in the Maya Lowlands with the iconography of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Fash et al.