The Maya World brings together over 60 authors, representing the fields of archaeology, art history, epigraphy, geography, and ethnography, who explore cutting-edge research on every major facet of the ancient Maya and all sub-regions within the Maya world.

The Maya world, which covers Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, contains over a hundred ancient sites that are open to tourism, eight of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and many thousands more that have been dug or await investigation. In addition to captivating the lay public, the ancient Maya have attracted scores of major interdisciplinary research expeditions and hundreds of smaller projects going back to the 19th century, making them one of the best-known ancient cultures. The Maya World explores their renowned writing system, towering stone pyramids, exquisitely painted murals, and elaborate funerary tombs as well as their creative agricultural strategies, complex social, economic, and political relationships, widespread interactions with other societies, and remarkable cultural resilience in the face of historical ruptures.

This is an invaluable reference volume for scholars of the ancient Maya, including archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists.

chapter Chapter One|5 pages


part I|4 pages


chapter Chapter Two|18 pages

Archaic Maya matters

chapter Chapter Four|20 pages

The southern Maya Lowlands in the Late Preclassic

chapter Chapter Five|18 pages

The Late Preclassic Pacific slope

chapter Chapter Six|22 pages

The Maya Highlands and the Late Preclassic

Kaminaljuyu as a case study

part II|120 pages


chapter Chapter Seven|21 pages

Maya bioarchaeology

chapter Chapter Eight|19 pages

Graves, dead bodies, souls, and ancestors

chapter Chapter Nine|17 pages

Gender and sexuality

chapter Chapter EleveN|20 pages

Favored plants of the Maya

part III|5 pages


chapter Chapter Fourteen|19 pages

Settlement patterns

chapter Chapter Sixteen|20 pages

Ritual cave use among the ancient Maya

chapter Chapter Seventeen|21 pages

Ancient Maya rurality

Old assumptions, current research, and new directions

chapter Chapter Eighteen|16 pages

Lakamha: the place of “Big Waters”

The archaeology of the ancient city of Palenque, Mexico

chapter Chapter Nineteen|20 pages

The Maya city of Caracol, Belize

The integration of an anthropogenic landscape

part IV|111 pages


chapter Chapter twenty-one|18 pages

Household archaeology of the Classic Period Lowland Maya

chapter Chapter twenty-two|17 pages

Inequality and social groups

chapter Chapter Twenty-Three|19 pages

Maya relations with the material world

chapter Chapter twenty-Four|16 pages

Maya commerce

chapter Chapter twenty-Five|18 pages

Classic Maya geopolitics

chapter Chapter Twenty-Six|19 pages

The politics of conflict

War before and beyond the state in Maya society

part V|172 pages


chapter Chapter Twenty-Seven|18 pages

Ancient Maya agriculture

chapter Chapter Twenty-Eight|21 pages

The Maya forest

A domesticated landscape

chapter Chapter Thirty|19 pages

Animating materials

The sculpted forms of the ancient Maya world

chapter Chapter Thirty-One|21 pages

Maya mural painting

chapter Chapter Thirty-Three|24 pages

Maya time

chapter Chapter Thirty-Four|21 pages

Maya rites, rituals, and ceremonies

part VI|4 pages


chapter Chapter Thirty-Five|16 pages

Olmecs and other western neighbors

chapter Chapter Thirty-Seven|19 pages

Southeast Mesoamerica

chapter Chapter Thirty-Nine|21 pages

The northern Maya Tollans

part VII|96 pages

Resilience, legacies, and transformations

chapter Chapter Forty|17 pages

Collapse, transformation, reorganization

The Terminal Classic transition in the Maya world

chapter Chapter Forty-Three|18 pages

The archaeology of Henequen Haciendas

San Pedro Cholul as a case study

chapter Chapter Forty-Four|19 pages

Lacandon Maya culture

Continuity and change