Article

The Late Classic to Postclassic Transition among the Maya of Northern Yucatán

William M. Ringle and George J. Bey

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390933.013.0027

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Late Classic to Postclassic Transition among the Maya of Northern Yucatán

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This article reviews archaeological evidence of the Late Classic and Postclassic Mayan cultures in northern Yucatán. It suggests that one way of understanding the connections between Chichén Itzá, Mayapán, and Uxmal, as well as the exaggerated territories claimed for each, is to see them as regional Tollans, active in legitimizing the rulers and high elites of a wide network of client communities. As with Tula, the Feathered Serpent served as the paramount political symbol, but active political control may have been exerted over a fairly limited area, with only indirect influence beyond that. Later mention of these three as constituting the “League of Mayapán” may have resulted from the historical conflation of three sites similar in kind, though of different periods. If true, this may explain the presence of foreign influence (mostly imitated) as the local emulation and expression of a political ideology based in western Mesoamerica.

Keywords: Maya civilization; Late Classic period; Chichén Itzá; Mayapán; Uxmal; Tollans; Feathered Serpent

Article.  8321 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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