The Maya (Ancient Peoples & Places S.)

by Michael D. Coe

Paperback, 2005



Call number




Thames and Hudson Ltd (2005), Paperback


"Coe and Houston update this classic by distilling the latest scholarship for the general reader and student. This new edition incorporates the most recent archaeological and epigraphic research, which continues to proceed at a fast pace. Among the finest new discoveries are spectacular stucco sculptures at El Zotz and Holmul, which reveal surprising aspects of Maya royalty and the founding of dynasties. Dramatic refinements in our understanding the pace of changes in the Maya world have led scholars to perceive a pattern of rapid bursts of building and political formation. Other finds include the discovery of the earliest known occupant of the region, the Hoyo Negro girl, recovered from an underwater cavern in the Yucatan peninsula, along with new evidence for the first architecture at Ceibal."--Back cover.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member aethercowboy
If you're like me, you have a fascination with mesoamerican civilizations. Well, my fascination lies more in their mythology, but just the same, the civilization behind the mythology is just as interesting.

Michael Coe gives a historical overview of this once great civilization, explaining their
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culture in an illuminating way. Both barbaric and beautiful, the Aztecs left their influence on North America before being all but destroyed by the Spanish.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in precolumbian civilizations, or even just mesoamerican civilizations.
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LibraryThing member AlCracka
Extremely dense - think of this as a textbook - but apparently the most comprehensive collection of information about the Maya. I was influenced by Jared Diamond, who in the "Further Reading" section of his excellent "Collapse" says so in no uncertain terms.

Fun trivia: you know that 2012 bs? It's
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this guy's fault. In an earlier edition of this book, he idly pointed out that the Mayan calendar is cyclical and a cycle ends in 2012; conspiracy theorists took it from there. In this edition he comments on it, with a combination of shame and amusement.
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LibraryThing member kurvanas
Coe's work still remain some of the best in the field. Enjoyable and fascinating, they bring history alive and let ancient civilization flourish once more. All archaeological/historical authors should take note.
LibraryThing member thcson
I think this book concentrates too much on the archaeological evidence. Of course that's where you must start when interpreting the history of the Maya, but the general reader would probably be more interested in conclusions than the archaeological background.
LibraryThing member LASC
A brief and up-to-date survey of what is known about the Maya civilization. An anthropologist follows them from their probable origins don to the arrival of the more warlike Toltecs and the hybrid splendours of Chicken Itza.
LibraryThing member AprilBrown
What ages would I recommend it too? – Twelve and up.

Length? – Several days day’s read.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Real World, Ancient Maya.

Written approximately? – 1999.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Yes - What was daily life like for
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the Maya?

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: A lot of discussion around the Maya.

Notes for the reader: The first 50 pages are useful. There are a lot of pictures, though few maps to figure out the places and times they are talking about about. After the first 50 pages, when they get to an interesting point, they mention it will be covered in chapter nine. I'm not so sure it was. Chapter ten totally confused me. I think the layout could be improved with a few headings that clarify what they are discussing in many places. It's confusing. As if they lumped it all together, and leave it up to the reader to figure out when one time period, or place ends and another begins. The pictures keep it from being a 2.
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LibraryThing member Michael.Bradham
Maps, pictures of temples, artifacts, calendars. Findings of similarities of Maya to Aztec and Asian culture. Mayan everyday life, religion, and culture described. Interesting to read about how calendar linked to astronomical events. Detailed insight of language with pictures.
LibraryThing member JBGUSA
This is the second book I finished this weekend.

I found the book fascinating. I just looked at it on the shelf for a number of years, and then decided to read it in installments, finishing today. Ancient history is normally not my bag, but I finished two this year, the other being Thucydides
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Peloponnesian Wars, as one of my sons reminded me.

The book is a slog but then so is any book when you're not familiar with the underlying material, in this case Mayan history. My familiarity, such as it is, comes from a Scarsdale Adult School course I took either during fall 1972 or 1973, and from tours of the Chichen Itza and Uxmal pyramids during October 1989 and March 1990, from Club Med Cancun.
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Original publication date


Physical description

256 p.; 9.45 inches


0500285055 / 9780500285053
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