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Historical Archaeology at Tikal, Guatemala

Historical Archaeology at Tikal, Guatemala: Tikal Report 37

Hattula Moholy-Nagy
William A. Haviland
Christopher Jones
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 120
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  • Book Info
    Historical Archaeology at Tikal, Guatemala
    Book Description:

    The pre-Columbian city we call Tikal was abandoned by its Maya residents during the tenth century A.D. and succumbed to the Guatemalan rain forest. It was not until 1848 that it was brought to the attention of the outside world. For the next century Tikal, remote and isolated, received a surprisingly large number of visitors. Public officials, explorers, academics, military personnel, settlers, petroleum engineers, chicle gatherers, and archaeologists came and went, sometimes leaving behind material traces of their visits. A short-lived hamlet was established among the ancient ruins in the late 1870s. In 1956 the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology initiated its fourteen-year-long Tikal Project. This report chronicles documented visits to Tikal during the century following its modern discovery, and presents the post-Conquest material culture recovered by the Tikal Project in the course of its investigation of the pre-Columbian city. Further research on the nineteenth-century settlement was carried out in 1998 in its southern part by the Lacandon Archaeological Project (LAP) under the direction of Joel W. Palka of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The material culture recovered by the LAP supplements the Tikal Project collection and is referenced here. Historical Archaeology at Tikal, Guatemala is intended as a contribution to nineteenth and early twentieth century Lowland Mesoamerican research. It is rounded out with several appendices that will be of interest to historians and historical archaeologists. The printed volume includes many black and white photographs and drawings. A gallery of color photographs, several from Palka's 1998 excavations, is included on the accompanying CD.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-58-2
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Appendices
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    In 1956 the Tikal Project of the University of Pennsylvania Museum under the direction of Edwin M. Shook (Fig. L01) established a field camp among the ancient Maya ruins in the Department of the Petén, Guatemala (Figs. 1, L02-L06; TR. 1). The Project’s next task was to initiate a survey for the site map (Fig. 2; TR. 11). As the survey progressed, it revealed post-Conquest activities at the site visible in surface concentrations of artifacts that were clearly not pre-Columbian, but did not look contemporary, as well as non-indigenous citrus and palm trees. They are represented on the site map...

  9. 2 Settlement Pattern and Scattered Finds
    (pp. 7-16)

    Historic materials occurred as scattered finds of one or more objects or as concentrations of materials that suggested now-vanished residences. Finds of more than one object were designated Recent Sites and numbered according to the map squares in which they were found in the same manner as pre-Columbian features (TR. 5:6). Fifteen Recent Sites were defined (Table 2.1). Two Recent Sites, RS 5D-1 and RS 5D-2, were found within rooms of still-standing ancient architecture on Tikal’s Central Acropolis, Gp. 5D-11 (Fig. 2e).

    According to artifact content and deposition, 11 of 15 defined Recent Sites pertain to the 19th-century Tikal aldea...

  10. 3 Material Culture
    (pp. 17-24)

    Surviving Recent Site material culture was a mix of imported, machine-made manufactured goods of metal and glass, handmade goods of ground stone and pottery that were of local or regional origin, and salvaged pre-Columbian stone artifacts. Stylistic resemblances to pottery from Yucatán (Fig. 29; Thompson 1958) and San José (Fig. 14; Reina and Hill 1978) suggest that most of the vessels found at Tikal had been brought there. This is certainly the case for the sherds of decorated white earthenware recovered by the LAP (Fig. L37; Palka 2005: figs. 7.23a, 7.28). On the other hand, the polishing stones and worked...

  11. Appendix E Published Records of Visits to Tikal, 1696–1956
    (pp. 25-27)
  12. Appendix F Letter from Edwin M. Shook to Hattula Moholy-Nagy
    (pp. 28-29)
  13. Appendix G Letter from Dennis E. Puleston to Hattula Moholy-Nagy
    (pp. 30-30)
  14. Appendix H Notes on San José Material Culture of the Late 1950s–Early 1960s
    (pp. 31-33)
  15. Appendix I Professor Walter M. Wolfe’s Trip to Tikal, 1901
    (pp. 34-39)
  16. Appendix J Research on the Bottles of Tikal by Paul S. Newton
    (pp. 40-45)
  17. Appendix K Salvador Valenzuela’s Report on the Department of Petén, 1879 (Valenzuela 1951)
    (pp. 46-55)
  18. References
    (pp. 56-60)
  19. Summary in Spanish
    (pp. 61-62)
  20. Figures
    (pp. 63-92)
  21. Tables
    (pp. 93-96)
  22. Index
    (pp. 97-102)