“Brings jointly for the 1st time all of the significant websites of this a part of the Maya international and is helping us know the way the traditional Maya deliberate and outfitted their attractive towns. it's going to develop into either a guide and a resource of rules for different archaeologists for years to come.”—George J. Bey III, coeditor of Pottery Economics in Mesoamerica
“Skillfully integrates the social histories of city development.”—Vernon L. Scarborough, writer of The circulation of energy: historic Water platforms and Landscapes
“Any student drawn to city making plans and the equipped surroundings will locate this ebook enticing and useful.”—Lisa J. Lucero, writer of Water and Ritual

For greater than a century researchers have studied Maya ruins, and websites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá have formed our realizing of the Maya. but towns of the jap lowlands of Belize, a space that was once domestic to a wealthy city culture that continued and advanced for nearly 2,000 years, are taken care of as peripheral to those nice vintage interval websites. the recent and humid weather and dense forests are inhospitable and make protection of the ruins tricky, yet this oft-ignored quarter finds a lot approximately Maya urbanism and culture.

utilizing info amassed from diversified websites during the lowlands, together with the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Brett Houk provides the 1st synthesis of those special ruins and discusses equipment for mapping and excavating them. contemplating the websites throughout the analytical lenses of the outfitted setting and historic city making plans, Houk vividly reconstructs their political historical past, considers how they healthy into the bigger political panorama of the vintage Maya, and examines what they let us know approximately Maya urban building. 

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Developments in the Preclassic period set the stage for the Classic period cities that are the focus of this book. Of all the areas of the Maya world, the eastern lowlands have produced some of the best data on the first Maya and their predecessors, and chapter 4 targets five Preclassic sites to highlight different aspects of Maya culture during the transition from village life to urbanism. Chapters 5 through 9 discuss five different geographical areas of Belize from south to north. While chapter 3 provides a general overview of the physical setting of the Maya area, the introductions to these five chapters highlight the incredible diversity that characterizes the natural setting of the eastern lowlands.

Water, however, was only one aspect of ritual activity at the great Maya centers. Takeshi Inomata (2006) argues that Maya kings were the central actor in elaborate public spectacles, which involved large audiences of commoners. In fact, the need for public spaces large enough to host all the people living in a kingdom may have been a “primary concern in the design of Maya cities” (Inomata 2006:818). The Role of the Non-Elites Although the focus of this book is the epicenters of Maya cities where the largest architecture is found and the ruling families lived, the vast majority of the population of a Maya city comprised non-elites living in the surrounding hinterland (Lohse and Valdez 2004).

Whatever their function(s), causeways represented a significant construction expense. Despite their unimposing nature, they are often much wider than necessary if they were strictly transportation routes, and elevating them required large amounts of construction fill and masonry. Consider that a 20-m wide sacbe that is 1 m high requires 200 m3 of fill for every 10 m of length. At 100 m long, our hypothetical causeway would require 2,000 m3 of fill, enough to build a 20 by 20 m platform to a height of 5 m.

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