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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: March 2015

8 - Reading early Maya cities: interpreting the role of writing in urbanization

from Part II - Early cities and information technologies
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The Cambridge World History
  • Volume 3: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE–1200 CE
  • Edited by Norman Yoffee
  • Online ISBN: 9781139035606
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Further readings

Barth, Fredrik, “The Guru and the Conjurer: Transactions in Knowledge and the Shaping of Culture in Southeast Asia and Melanesia,” Man 25 (1990), 640–53.
Bourdieu, Pierre, The Field of Cultural Production, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
Caso, Alfonso, Calendario y escritura de las antiguas culturas de Monte Alban, Mexico, D.F.: Talleres de la Nación, 1947.
Chafe, Wallace, and Deborah Tannen, “The Relation Between Written and Spoken Language,” Annual Review of Anthropology 16 (1987), 383–407.
Chase, Arlen F., and Diane Z. Chase, “External Impetus, Internal Synthesis, and Standardization: E-Group Assemblages and the Cristallization of Classic Maya Society in the Southern Lowlands,” in Nikolai Grube (ed.), The Emergence of Lowland Maya Civilization: The Transition from the Preclassic to the Early Classic: A Conference at Hildesheim, November 1992, Markt Schwaben: Verlag Anton Sarwein, 1995, pp. 87–102.
Cheetham, David, “Cunil: A Pre-Mamom Horizon in the Southern Maya Lowlands,” in Terry G. Powis (ed.), New Perspectives on Formative Mesoamerican Cultures, Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2005, pp. 27–38.
Coe, William, The Maya Scribe and His World, New York: The Grolier Club, 1973.
Cooper, Jerrold, “Writing,” in Eric Barnouw (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Communications, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, Vol. IV, pp. 321–31.
Drucker, Philip, Robert F. Heizer, and Robert J. Squier, Excavations at La Venta, 1955, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1959.
Errington, Joseph, “Colonial Linguistics,” Annual Review of Anthropology 30 (2001), 19–39.
Errington, Joseph, Linguistics in a Colonial World: A Story of Language, Meaning, and Power, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
Estrada Belli, Francisco, Investigaciones arqueologicas en la region de Holmul, Peten, Guatemala. Informe preliminar de la temporada 2008, Boston: Boston University, 2009, accessed November 21, 2013,
Estrada Belli, Francisco, Nikolai Grube, Marc Wolf, Kristen Gardella, and Claudio Lozano Guerra-Librero, “Preclassic Maya Monuments and Temples at Cival, Peten, Guatemala,” Antiquity (2003), accessed November 21, 2013,
Freidel, David, and F. Kent Reilly III, “The Flesh of God, Cosmology, Food, and the Origins of Political Power in Southeastern Mesoamerica,” in John E. Staller and Michael D. Carrasco (eds.), Pre-Columbian Foodways: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Food, Culture, and Markets in Mesoamerica, New York: Springer, 2010, pp. 635–80.
Hansen, Richard D., An Early Maya Text from El Mirador, Guatemala, Washington, D.C.: Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing, 1991.
Hansen, Richard D., “The First Cities – The Beginnings of Urbanization and State Formation in the Maya Lowlands,” in Nikolai Grube (ed.), Maya: Divine Kings of the Rainforest, Cologne: Koenneman, 2001, pp. 51–64.
Houston, Stephen D., “Writing in Early Mesoamerica,” in Stephen D. Houston (ed.), The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 274–312.
Houston, Stephen D., and Héctor Escobedo, “Descifrando la política Maya: Perspectivas arqueológicas y epigráficas sobre el concepto de los estados segmentarios,” in Juan Pedro Laporte and Héctor L. Escobedo (eds.), X Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, Guatemala City: Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, 1997, pp. 463–81.
Houston, Stephen D., and David Stuart, “The Ancient Maya Self: Personhood and Portraiture in the Classic Period,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 33 (1998), 73–101.
Justeson, John, “The Origin of Writing Systems: Preclassic Mesoamerica,” World Archaeology 17 (1986), 437–58.
Law, Danny, “A Grammatical Description of the Early Classic Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions,” unpublished MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 2006.
Marcus, Joyce, Mesoamerican Writing Systems: Propaganda, Myth, and History in Four Ancient Civilizations, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.
Marcus, Joyce, “The Origins of Mesoamerican Writing,” Annual Review of Anthropology 5 (1976), 35–67.
Pellecer Alecio, Mónica, “El Grupo Jabali: un complejo arquitectonico de patron triadico en San Bartolo, Peten,” in B. Arroyo, J. P. Laporte, and H. E. Mejia (eds.), XIX Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2005, Guatemala: Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Asociacion Tikal, Fundacion Reinhart, 2006, pp. 937–48.
Restall, Matthew, “Heirs to the Hieroglyphs: Indigenous Writing in Colonial Mesoamerica,” Americas 54 (1997), 239–67.
Rodríguez Martínez, Ma. del Carmen, Ponciano Ortíz Ceballos, Michael D. Coe, Richard A. Diehl, Stephen D. Houston, Karl A. Taube, and Alfredo Delgado Calderón, “Did the Olmec Know How to Write?”, Science 9 (2007), 1365–6.
Schele, Linda, and Mary Miller, The Blood of Kings, Fort Worth, TX: Kimbell Art Museum, 1986.
Sharer, Robert James, and David W. Sedat, Archaeological Investigations in the Northern Maya Highlands, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987, pp. 49–73.
Stuart, David S., “Proper Names and the Origins of Literacy,” Working Paper, Peabody Museum, Harvard University, 2001.
Taube, Karl, “The Rainmakers: The Olmec and their Contribution to Mesoamerican Belief and Ritual,” in Michael D. Coe (ed.), The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership, Princeton, NJ: The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1995, pp. 83–103.
Urban, Greg, A Discourse-Centered Approach to Culture: Native South American Myths and Rituals, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.
Urban, Greg, Metaphysical Community: The Interplay of the Senses and the Intellect, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
Willey, Gordon R., T. Patrick Culbert, and Richard E. W. Adams, “Maya Lowland Ceramics: A Report from the 1965 Guatemala City Conference,” American Antiquity 32 (1967), 289–315.