344 pages, 7 x 10
124 b&w illustrations, 16-page color insert with 23 color illustrations, 28 tabl
Release Date:19 Dec 2017
$92.00 Back Order
Ships in 4-6 weeks.

Before Kukulkán

Bioarchaeology of Maya Life, Death, and Identity at Classic Period Yaxuná

The University of Arizona Press
This volume illuminates human lifeways in the northern Maya lowlands prior to the rise of Chichén Itzá. This period and area have been poorly understood on their own terms, obscured by scholarly focus on the central lowland Maya kingdoms. Before Kukulkán is anchored in three decades of interdisciplinary research at the Classic Maya capital of Yaxuná, located at a contentious crossroads of the northern Maya lowlands.

Using bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, and culturally sensitive mainstream archaeology, the authors create an in-depth regional understanding while also laying out broader ways of learning about the Maya past. Part 1 examines ancient lifeways among the Maya at Yaxuná, while part 2 explores different meanings of dying and cycling at the settlement and beyond: ancestral practices, royal entombment and desecration, and human sacrifice. The authors close with a discussion of the last years of occupation at Yaxuná and the role of Chichén Itzá in the abandonment of this urban center.

Before Kukulkán provides a cohesive synthesis of the evolving roles and collective identities of locals and foreigners at the settlement and their involvement in the region’s trajectory. Theoretically informed and contextualized discussions offer unique glimpses of everyday life and death in the socially fluid Maya city. These findings, in conjunction with other documented series of skeletal remains from this region, provide a nuanced picture of the social and biocultural dynamics that operated successfully for centuries before the arrival of the Itzá.
Provides solid bioarchaeological evidence and modern laboratory analysis to improve our understanding of Classic Maya migration, diet, health, and social identity.”—Joel W. Palka, author of Unconquered Lacandon Maya

“With its highly detailed and technical analysis of the skeletal remains from Yaxuná, this pioneering volume will illuminate new paths for future Maya research.”—Walter R. T. Witschey, editor of Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya
Vera Tiesler is a research professor for the College of Anthropological Sciences at the Autonomous University of Yucatán. She is the co-editor of Janaab’ Pakal of Palenque: Reconstructing the Life and Death of a Maya Ruler and New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society, and author of The Bioarchaeology of Artificial Cranial Modification: New Approaches to Head Shaping and Its Meanings in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and Beyond.

Andrea Cucina is an associate professor at the Autonomous University of Yucatán. He is the co-editor of Janaab’ Pakal of Palenque: Reconstructing the Life and Death of a Maya Ruler and New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society.

Travis W. Stanton is an associate professor and department chair at the University of California, Riverside, where he co-directs the PIPCY project currently ongoing at the site of Yaxuná. He is co-editor of Ruins of the Past: The Use and Perception of Abandoned Structures in the Maya Lowlands and Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare.

David A. Freidel is a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He was the principal investigator of the Selz Foundation Yaxuná Project.
Foreword by Traci Ardren
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Bioarchaeology of Yaxuná

Part I. Living at Yaxuná
1 Yaxuná in Context
2 Individual Movement, Migration, and Population Dynamics in the Northern Maya Lowlands
3 Growing Up in Yaxuná: Demography, Lifestyle, and Health in a Classic Period Capital
4 Foodways, Diet, and Nutrition
5 Physical Embodiment and Social Identities at Yaxuná

Part II. Yaxuná’s Dead
6 Passing, Mourning, and Procuring Permanence
7 Eternal Performance: The Royal Tombs
8 Feeding the Gods in Yaxuná: Sacrifice and Human Caches
9 The Cycling of an Era: Chichén Itzá and the Decline of Yaxuná

Find what you’re looking for...
Free Shipping   Blue
Desk and Exam Copy Requests Click Here
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters
Current Catalogue
Fall 2019 Canadian Cover
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.