Contributions of a Three-K’atun Archaeologist to Theorizing the Classic Maya Past

Author(s): Patricia McAnany

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Decipherment, Digs, and Discourse: Honoring Stephen Houston's Contributions to Maya Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Theory—the workhorse of evidence—is a powerful engine that can revolutionize understanding or create a huge misstep. To theorize the past is to generalize principles and processes of human practice that surpass cultural boundaries. By participating in these larger networks of meaning, theorists hope to link the specific with the general in a truly resonant fashion. But the meaning(s) of material remains for peoples of the past remain(s) an elusive thing, which by no means is made more transparent by past use of a written script. A strong contribution of Stephen Houston’s scholarship lay in deftly amplifying theoretical frameworks that resonate with Maya materials. The implications of this scholarship for our understanding of a range of material remains from hieroglyphic texts to LiDAR imagery is considered. A Maya archaeologist who came of age during the golden years of the decipherment, Houston’s social contextualization of Classic Maya southern lowland royalty defies comparison as does the career of this remarkable scholar who is both humanist and social scientist.

Cite this Record

Contributions of a Three-K’atun Archaeologist to Theorizing the Classic Maya Past. Patricia McAnany. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451718)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24440