Chapter

Early Civilization In the Maya Lowlands, Monumentality, and Place Making: A View from the Holmul Region

Francisco Estrada-Belli

in Early New World Monumentality

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780813038087
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043128 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813038087.003.0008
Early Civilization In the Maya Lowlands, Monumentality, and Place Making: A View from the Holmul Region

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Contrary to accepted views on the origin of Maya civilization, which place the earliest manifestations of Maya civilization towards the end of the Preclassic period (i.e. 100 B.C.), several lines of evidence suggest that the most important turning point in the developmental trajectory of Lowland Maya civilization occurred around 800 B.C. At this time, a number of Lowland ceremonial centers were founded and public ceremonial architecture manifested itself. At Cival, large-scale construction projects took place by 800 B.C. in connection with the center's founding event. In light of the differences in labor investment and scale between initial and later public building projects at Cival and Holmul, two major phases of development are suggested, which may correlate with different but equally significant changes in Early Lowland Maya social organization, economy, and long-distance networks of interaction. After considering the newly documented developments in ideology, public ritual, and monumentality at Cival and at other Lowland centers, this chapter proposes a re-examination of commonly held notions about the Lowland Maya's path to civilization.

Keywords: Maya; Cival; Jade; Ritual; Maya Astronomy; Maya Architecture; Conspicuous consumption

Chapter.  10611 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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