On the Fall of Copan, Teotihuacan, and the Origins of the Fate of 8 Ahau

Author(s): Stanley Guenter

Year: 2015


"A Forest of Kings" was groundbreaking for its integration of epigraphy, archaeology, and ethnohistory. In their book, Schele and Freidel discussed the Early Classic Teotihuacan-Maya cultural and political interaction as well as the fall of Copan, and the larger issue of the collapse of Classic Maya cities, and even the fall of Postclassic Mayapan. In this presentation I wish to expand on and integrate these disparate themes in an effort to answer the question of why the Colonial era Maya associated Katun 8 Ahau with destruction, collapse, and the abandonment of the great cities of their past. I will argue that a number of early major episodes of collapse in the Maya world, falling on 8 Ahau dates, led to this association and that the collapse of the last Maya kingdom, the Itza, in 1697, was an echo of the collapse of the first great Maya kingdom 1500 years earlier, both falling in Katun 8 Ahau.

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Cite this Record

On the Fall of Copan, Teotihuacan, and the Origins of the Fate of 8 Ahau. Stanley Guenter. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396146)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;