Archaeology and Maya Culture
Carrasco, David. Religions of Mesoamerica: Cosmovision and Ceremonial Centers. San Francisco: Waveland Press, 1998. Carrasco details the dynamics of two important cultures—the Aztec and the Maya—and discusses the impact of the Spanish conquest and the continuity of native traditions.
Coe, Michael D. The Maya, 8th ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 20110. This updated classic, which has been in print for nearing 50 years, attempts to understand the “most intellectually sophisticated and aesthetically refined pre-Columbian culture.” The new edition has information on new discoveries, including the polychrome murals of Calakmul and evidence of pre-classic sophistication. Coe, an archaeologist, anthropologist, epigrapher, and author, is a forefather of Maya studies. This book is mandatory reading for both amateur Mayanists and pros.
De Landa, Friar Diego. Yucatán: Before and After the Conquest. New York: Dover Publications, 1978 (translation of original manuscript written in 1566). The same man who provided some of the best, most lasting descriptions of ancient Maya also singlehandedly destroyed the most Maya artifacts and writings of anyone in history.
Stephens, John L. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatán. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1969 (originally Harper & Bros., New York, 1841). In this classic 19th-century travelogue, Stephens’s writing is wonderfully pompous, amusing, and incredibly astute—with historical and archaeological observations that still stand today. If you can, find a copy with the original set of illustrations by Stephens’s expedition partner.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition