288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
19 halftones, 48 line art
Release Date:04 Dec 2014

Archaeology at El Perú-Waka'

Ancient Maya Performances of Ritual, Memory, and Power

The University of Arizona Press
Archaeology at El Perú-Waka’ is the first book to summarize long-term research at this major Maya site. The results of fieldwork and subsequent analyses conducted by members of the El Perú-Waka’ Regional Archaeological Project are coupled with theoretical approaches treating the topics of ritual, memory, and power as deciphered through material remains discovered at Waka’.  The book is site-centered, yet the fifteen wide-ranging contributions offer readers greater insight to the richness and complexity of Classic-period Maya culture, as well as to the ways in which archaeologists believe ancient peoples negotiated their ritual lives and comprehended their own pasts.
El Perú-Waka’ is an ancient Maya city located in present-day northwestern Petén, Guatemala. Rediscovered by petroleum exploration workers in the mid-1960s, it is the largest known archaeological site in the Laguna del Tigre National Park in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. The El Perú-Waka’ Regional Archaeological Project initiated scientific investigations in 2003, and through excavation and survey, researchers established that Waka’ was a key political and economic center well integrated into Classic-period lowland Maya civilization, and reconstructed many aspects of Maya life and ritual activity in this ancient community. The research detailed in this volume provides a wealth of new, substantive, and scientifically excavated data, which contributors approach with fresh theoretical insights. In the process, they lay out sound strategies for understanding the ritual manipulation of monuments, landscapes, buildings, objects, and memories, as well as related topics encompassing the performance and negotiation of power throughout the city’s extensive sociopolitical history.
The book aptly characterizes the dynastic zeitgeist as it played out over 400 years of hieroglyphic texts, monumental constructions, and royal burials.”—Journal of Anthropological Research

“The contributors show how burials as conjunctions of gender and power, buildings as overt proclamations of such power, and commemorative monuments were used to maintain dynastic social memory. The book is not just an essay in model-building: it also provides a lot of data on epigraphy, palaeopathology, royal alliances, ritual narratives, the spatial matrix of performance, and lithic production as part of mortuary rites.”—Antiquity

“The El Perú-Waka’ Archaeological Project is one of the most significant research undertakings in the world of the ancient Maya in recent times, and this volume is the first to synthesize the results of its diverse programs.”—Wendy Ashmore, co-editor of Archaeologies of Landscape: Contemporary Perspectives

“There is really no other work that attempts to summarize such a variety of field data from a single Maya site and yet maintain theoretical conceptual cohesion.”—Matthew G. Looper, author of To Be Like Gods: Dance in Ancient Maya Civilization
Olivia C. Navarro-Farr is an assistant professor of anthropology and archaeology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Program in Archaeology at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Michelle Rich is a senior archaeologist with Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., in Davis, California.
Introduction. Ritual, Memory, and Power Among the Maya and at Classic Period El Perú-Waka’
Michelle Rich and Olivia C. Navarro-Farr

1 Stelae, Buildings, and People: Reflections on Ritual in the Archaeological Record at El Perú-Waka’
David A. Freidel and Héctor L. Escobedo
2 A Palimpsest Effect: The Multi-Layered Meanings of Late-to-Terminal Classic Era, Above-Floor Deposits at Structure M13-1
Olivia C. Navarro-Farr and Ana Lucía Arroyave Prera
3 Royal Alliances, Ritual Behavior, and the Abandonment of the Royal Couple Building at El Perú-Waka’
Mary Jane Acuña
4 The Power of the Past: Crafting Meaning at a Royal Funerary Pyramid
Michelle Rich and Varinia Matute
5 Ritual and Remembrance at the Northwest Palace Complex, El Perú-Waka’
David F. Lee and Jennifer C. Piehl
6 The Ballcourt Complex at El Perú
Juan Carlos Meléndez
7 Ritual Narratives from El Perú-Waka’: Ceremonial Deposits in Non-Royal, Elite Contexts
Keith Eppich
8 Sansamal Performance: Variability in Ritual Contexts at El Perú-Waka’
Damien B. Marken
9 The Epigraphy of El Perú-Waka’
Stanley P. Guenter
10 Flint for the Dead: Ritual Deposition of Production Debitage from El Perú-Waka’, Burial 39
Zachary Hruby and Michelle Rich
11 The Noblewomen of Waka’: Mortuary and Osteological Insights into the Construction of Gender, Identity, and Power
Jennifer C. Piehl, David F. Lee, and Michelle Rich
12 Surveying Landscapes of Power and Ritual at Waka’
Evangelia Tsesmeli
13 Action, Thought, and Negotiation in Ritual: A Commentary
Takeshi Inomata
David A. Freidel and Héctor L. Escobedo

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