The Maya: Historic Archaeology and Archaeology of Historic Periods

Author(s): Richard Leventhal

Year: 2017


The study of the ancient Maya has become complicated over the past 30 years. As the ancient Maya writing has been deciphered, these texts provide an historical record of parts of the ancient social and political systems. This development has moved the study of the Maya past into the realm of historic archaeology. In addition, the study of the colonial period in the Maya area has focused upon Spanish and indigenous texts to understand this historic period but additionally to create analogical models of Maya systems that could be used to understand the nature of the ancient Maya world. Even ethnological studies of modern Maya people and communities have become a focal point for the study of the prehistoric Maya.

Such an approach within the academic world has positioned the Maya of today as a model for understanding the past. The secondary nature of the living Maya is echoed in the modern representation of the Yucatan as a place of sand and ruins – not part of the living 21st century.

This paper will examine the nature of historic archaeology and the archaeology of the historic past and heritage of the Maya in the Yucatan and throughout the lowlands.

Cite this Record

The Maya: Historic Archaeology and Archaeology of Historic Periods. Richard Leventhal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431979)


Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16890