Cover of The Ancient Maya, 6th Edition by Robert J. Sharer with Loa P. Traxler
The Ancient Maya, 6th Edition
Robert J. Sharer with Loa P. Traxler


984 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804748179

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This book traces the evolution of Maya civilization through the Pre-Columbian era, a span of some 2,500 years from the origins of complex society within Mesoamerica to the end of the Pre-Columbian world with the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century. The sixth edition presents new archaeological evidence and historical studies and offers the most extensive revisions of this classic work to date. The result is the most thorough and incisive study of the origins and development of ancient Maya civilization ever published.

About the authors

Robert J. Sharer is Shoemaker Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Curator of the American Section at the university's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He is the author of Quirigua: A Classic Maya Center and Its Sculpture and Everyday Life in Maya Civilization, as well as two previous editions of The Ancient Maya. Loa P. Traxler is a Research Scientist in the American Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

"The Ancient Maya is the definitive statement for our current understanding of their time and place. It goes well beyond any other competing volume in its encompassing reach."

Journal of Anthropological Research

"(T)he most comprehensive and most lavishly illustrated book on its subject."

Journal of Latin American Studies

"The Ancient Maya has become a standard text on the study of Mayan culture and prehistory. Given the veritable explosion of research on the Maya, greater understanding of this past—yet living—culture has been realized."

Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"(T)his work is surely a must-have reference for Mayanists of all fields. . . . The Ancient Maya is appropriate to scholars, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates."

The Americas

"This marvelous book shows why the Maya constitute one of the best "case studies" of social and political evolution. Rich with detail and new insights, the authors skillfully show that the Maya were on a par with other great civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese. This truly

monumental work has been updated to meet the needs of all readers -- from laymen to tourists to professional archaeologists -- and it should be on everyone's bookshelf to read and re-read."

—Joyce Marcus, University of Michigan, Museum of Anthropology

"The Ancient Maya remains the best and most comprehensive single source on the prehispanic Maya. Easy to read and up-to-date, this new edition is an excellent choice for the general reader and for college classes."

—E. Wyllys Andrews, Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University

"The Ancient Maya is indispensable to anyone interested in the Maya--or in complex societies in general--because of its authoritative voice and encyclopedic scope. It is entertainingly written so that one can sit down and read through its chapters, while at the same time its tables,

figures, and superb index and bibliography make it a dependable and essential reference tool. There simply isn't anything comparable to this book."

—Prudence M. Rice, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

"For nearly 60 years, sucessive editions of The Ancient Maya have served as benchmarks of our knowledge of Maya civilization. This new edition follows in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors, presenting the most thorough and up-to-date synthesis of our knowledge of the Maya

civilization as revealed through archaeology, epigraphy, and art history. Scholars and the general public alike will be excited to find the latest archaeological discoveries and theories about topics like the rise of Maya civilization and the Classic Maya collapse. Thanks to significant reorganization, the text addresses the history of Maya archaeology and epigraphy, thus contextualizing the study of the ancient Maya within the larger field of archaeology. In short, this book remains the definitive synthesis of our knowledge of Precolumbian Maya


—Jason Yaeger, University of Wisconsin-Madison