"This volume is the first of its kind. A complex mosaic of how a relatively small Late Classic Maya polity was economically, socially, and politically organized. A must-read for all Maya scholars."--James F. Garber, editor of The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley
"The editors have assembled a remarkable array of evidence, including several innovative analytical methods. The product is a synthetic model that will shape how we understand and study Classic Maya political economy for the next several decades."--Jason Yaeger, author of Classic Maya Provincial Politics
Scholars have long debated the nature of Maya political organization during the Classic period (AD 250-950). Complex questions regarding political centralization, economic change, and the role of politics and economics in the rise and collapse of the civilization have been examined and reexamined from a variety of perspectives. Antonia Foias and Kitty Emery have assembled a broad collection of essays all focused on a single polity, that of Motul de San José.
By presenting a coherent interdisciplinary body of archaeological and environmental data, the volume offers an intensely deep, focused investigation of the various models of the ancient Maya political and economic systems. Research conducted over six seasons of fieldwork reveals a more centralized political system than expected and uncovers the workings of the ancient economic structure. The contributors offer new details concerning how involved royals and nonroyal elites were in the politics of nearby states, as well as an extensive tribute system.
Antonia E. Foias is professor of anthropology at Williams College. Kitty F. Emery is associate curator of the Florida Museum of Natural History and associate professor at the University of Florida.
"A much-needed example of complete archaeological study from which a richly textured history of an ancient community can be understood." Nicoletta Maestri, About.com
"I recommend the book to true Mayanists and look forward for the next stage of debates on social, political and historical issues in Maya archaeology." IMS Explorer
"A very unusual take on Maya studies… In a pleasant, matter-of-fact way, the editors consider Maya society in the same way we look at Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, or China."
"A vital book." Book News
"Features synthetic but also data-rich chapters from a wide variety of specialists." Antiquity
"Foias, Emery, and their colleagues are to be applauded. Motul de San José joins a group of edited volumes published in recent years that offer state-of-the-art synthetic overviews of the archeology of a site or region in the Maya area...among these volumes Motul de San José is remarkable in the range of data presented and the syntheses attempted." Journal of Anthropological Research
"Superb… an invaluable work replete with the richness and variety present in Late Classic Maya society." Current Anthropology