Archaeological Paleography: A Proposal for Tracing the Role of Interaction in Mayan Script Innovation via Material Remains

Archaeological Paleography: A Proposal for Tracing the Role of Interaction in Mayan Script Innovation via Material Remains

by Joshua D. Englehardt


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This research explores the development of the Maya writing system in Middle–Late Formative and Early Classic period (700 BC–AD 450) Mesoamerica. It seeks to correlate script development with interregional interaction and diachronic changes in material culture, and proposes a new methodological template for examining script development via material remains. In doing so, it contributes to anthropological debate regarding the role and effects of interregional interaction in processes of development and change of material and symbolic culture. This investigation posits that Maya writing developed in late Middle Formative through Early Classic period Mesoamerica as a correlate of interregional sociopolitical and economic interaction. Scholars working in many areas of the world have long claimed that interaction is central to cultural innovation, especially in relation to the development of writing. If the emergence of the Mayan script is a correlate of systemic interaction, then its developmental process should be traceable archaeologically through artifactual evidence. This hypothesis is tested by exploring archaeological indicators of interaction against a backdrop of previously-documented transformations in the emerging Mayan script. The methodological model proposed here builds on current models of the development of Mesoamerican writing systems and models of interregional interaction and cultural development to associate archaeological remains with the development of the Mayan script.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781784912390
Publisher: Archaeopress Archaeology
Publication date: 01/31/2016
Series: Archaeopress Pre-Columbian Archaeology Series , #6
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework and Methodological Premises

Chapter 3: The Northwest Maya Lowlands: Site Selection and Regional Background

Chapter 4: Ceramic Sample and Analytic Methods

Chapter 5: Interpreting the Results of the Comparative and Statistical Ceramic Analyses

Chapter 6: Comparative Analysis of Iconographic and Linguistic Evidence

Chapter 7: Interpretation and Discussion: The Relationship Between Material Interaction, Innovation, and Script Development

Chapter 8: Conclusions


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