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The History of an Ancient Maya Kingdom

Edited by E. Wyllys Andrews and William L. Fash

This volume collects leading scholarship on one of the most important archaeological complexes in the ancient Maya world. The authors-internationally renowned experts who participated in the long-running Copán Acropolis Archaeological Project-address enduring themes in Maya archaeology. In addition to site-specific breakthroughs involving dynastic sequences, epigraphy, and chronologies, these essays explore questions of broad interest to archaeologists and other anthropologists, including state formation, architecture and space, and the relationship between history and archaeology as well as among archaeology, epigraphy, and iconography.

2005. 512 pp., 113 black-and-white illustrations, 6 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: E. Wyllys Andrews, Ellen E. Bell, Cassandra R. Bill, William L. Fash, Barbara W. Fash, Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle, Matthew G. Looper, Julia C. Miller, Linda Schele, David W. Sedat, Robert J. Sharer, Rebecca Storey, David S. Stuart, Loa P. Traxler, David L. Webster

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“The lengthy volume Copan is the result of intensive research, scholarly seminars … and extensive collaboration among the contributors over the past 20 years….This book is important for scholars of the archaeology of Classic Maya nobles in urban areas, and researchers on elites in other ancient societies and students of Classic Maya civilization will find it very useful. It is well written and well illustrated and contains a detailed index and bibliography.”
—Joel W. Palka, Current Anthropology, Vol. 49, no. 1 (February 2008)

“Profusely illustrated with illustrations, diagrams, photographs and charts, the eleven essays in this volume bring together new findings from the very important archaeological complexes at Copan. The authors are internationally renowned, and all took part in the Copan Acropolis Archaeological Project….This volume will be a valuable resource for Mayanist scholars in the fields of archaeology and anthropology alike.”
—British Bulletin of Publications, No. 113 October 2005-October 2

“This volume presents the culmination of seven years of intensive multidisciplinary research into the archaeology and history of ancient Copán…. Andrews and Fash have assembled an impressive group of scholars … whose contributions, read together, present a nuanced, multifaceted view of life in classic era Copán…. This book will serve as a useful reference and should be required reading for graduate students interested in New World complex societies.”
—T. Kam Manahan, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 13, no. 1 (March 2007)


  1. Contributions and Controversies in the Archaeology and History of Copán
    William L. Fash and Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle
  2. Political Ecology, Political Economy, and the Culture History of Resource Management at Copán
    David Webster
  3. Toward a Social History of the Copán Valley
    William L. Fash
  4. Iconographic Evidence for Water Management and Social Organization at Copán
    Barbara W. Fash
  5. Early Classic Royal Power in Copan: The Origins and Development of the Acropolis (ca. A.D. 250-600)
    Robert J. Sharer, David W. Sedat, Loa P. Traxler, Julia C. Miller, and Ellen E. Bell
  6. The Evolution of Structure 10L-16, Heart of the Copán Acropolis
    Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle and Barbara W. Fash
  7. A Late Classic Royal Residence at Copán
    E. Wyllys Andrews and Cassandra R. Bill
  8. Health and Lifestyle (before and after Death) among the Copán Elite
    Rebecca Storey
  9. Seats of Power at Copán
    Linda Schele and Matthew G. Looper
  10. A Foreign Past: The Writing and Representation of History on a Royal Ancestral Shrine at Copan
    David Stuart
  11. Issues in Copán Archaeology
    E. Wyllys Andrews and William L. Fash
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.