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Tikal: Dynasties, Foreigners, & Affairs of State

Advancing Maya Archaeology

Edited by Jeremy A. Sabloff

New insights from the Tikal excavations and epigraphic breakthroughs suggest that a thriving marketplace existed in the center of the city, that foreigners comprised a significant element of its populace, and that differences in tomb form and contents signal the changing fortunes of Tikal’s rulers. Essay topics include the timing of the foundation of the Tikal dynasty, the earliest experiments in socio-political complexity, the 6th-7th century hiatus in monument erection, the reassertion of central authority around A.D. 700, and the complex causality behind the collapse and depopulation during the 9th century. Featuring some of the premiere specialists in the field as well as innovative new scholars, this volume promises to shape Tikal’s interpretations and research agenda for decades to come.

2003. 448 pp., 123 black-and-white illustrations, 16 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Marshall Joseph Becker, T. Patrick Culbert, Robert E. Fry, Peter D. Harrison, William A. Haviland, Christopher Jones, Juan Pedro Laporte, H. Stanley Loten, Simon Martin, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Jeremy A. Sabloff, Robert J. Sharer

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“Overall, the volume is a substantial effort which summarizes our current understanding of the Tikal data… Well-suited for the specialist, this volume also offers plenty to interest the general reader… Archaeologists and Maya enthusiasts alike are always looking for new sources to synthesize what is currently known about major sites. This volume … accomplishes that task for Tikal.”
—Dr. Debra S. Walker, Journal of Latin American Anthropology

“Tikal certainly must occupy a central place in any approach to lowland Maya civilization — because of its impact on the development of the Classic Maya World, because of its political prominence in that world, and because it is the most extensively investigated of the great Maya cities — [this] is a welcome contribution to our understanding. [It features] new data and new interpretation. … Scholars interested in archaic states and complex societies as well as Maya specialists and other Mesoamerican archaeologists will welcome the volume.”
—Dr. John S. Henderson, Cornell University

“This group of presentations is focused on the relationship of the dynastic interpretations and construction history of Tikal … The mix of topics makes specific data and individual investigations a cumulative compilation and worthy contribution to appreciating the unique qualities of Tikal in the story of the ancient Maya.”
—Anabel Ford, Anthropos 100 (2005)


  1. In Line of the Founder: A View of Dynastic Politics at Tikal
    Simon Martin
  2. The Ceramics of Tikal
    T. Patrick Culbert
  3. Beyond the Catalog: The Chronology and Contexts of Tikal Artifacts
    Hattula Moholy-Nagy
  4. Settlement, Society, and Demography at Tikal
    William A. Haviland
  5. The Peripheries of Tikal
    Robert E. Fry
  6. The Central Acropolis of Tikal
    Peter D. Harrison
  7. The Tikal Renaissance and the East Plaza Ball Court
    Christopher Jones
  8. The North Acropolis: Monumentality, Function, and Architectural Development
    H. Stanley Loten
  9. Plaza Plans at Tikal: A Research Strategy for Inferring Social Organization and Processes of Culture Change at Lowland Maya Sites
    Marshall Joseph Becker
  10. Thirty Years Later: Some Results of Recent Investigations in Tikal
    Juan Pedro Laporte
  11. Tikal and the Copan Dynastic Founding
    Robert J. Sharer
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.