Neighbors of the better-known Itza in the central Petén lakes
region of Guatemala, the Kowoj Maya have been studied for little
more than a decade. The Kowoj: Identity, Migration, and
Geopolitics in Late Postclassic Petén, Guatemala summarizes
the results of recent research into this ethno-political group
conducted by Prudence Rice, Don Rice, and their colleagues.
Chapters in The Kowoj address the question "Who are the
Kowoj?" from varied viewpoints: archaeological, archival,
linguistic, ethnographic, and bioarchaeological. Using data drawn
primarily from the peninsular site of Zacpetén, the authors
illuminate Kowoj history, ritual components of their self-expressed
identity, and their archaeological identification. These data
support the Kowoj claim of migration from Mayapán in Yucatán, where
they were probably affiliated with the Xiw, in opposition to the
Itza. These enmities extended into Petén, culminating in civil
warfare by the time of final Spanish conquest in 1697.
The first volume to consider Postclassic Petén from broadly
integrative anthropological, archaeological, and historical
perspectives, The Kowoj is an important addition to the
literature on late Maya culture and history in the southern
lowlands. It will be of particular interest to archaeologists,
historians, ethnohistorians, art historians, and epigraphers.
Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, Anthropology, History
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