Life and Politics at the Royal Court of Aguateca

Artifacts, Analytical Data, and Synthesis

Aguateca is a Classic Mayan site located in the Petexbatun region of Guatemala. In this volume, Takeshi Inomata, Daniela Triadan, and their team examine the life of the Mayan royal family, nobles, and their retainers through the analysis of numerous complete and reconstructible artifacts left in this site’s elite residential area. Aguateca was unexpectedly attacked around AD 810, its central part was burned and its residents fled or were taken captive.
Because of the surprise nature of the attack, most artifacts were left in their original locations, providing unprecedented views of the daily life of the Classic Maya. Detailed analyses of these objects and their distribution has shown that Mayan elites stored some of their food in their residences and that they also conducted various administrative duties there. The presence of numerous precious ornaments indicates that many of the Maya elite were also skilled craft producers.
Life and Politics at the Royal Court of Aguateca is the third and final volume of the monograph series on Aguateca.  It presents the analyses of items not covered in the first two volumes, including figurines, ceramic laminates and masks, spindle whorls, ground stone, and bone artifacts, as well as hieroglyphic texts and plant and animal remains. It discusses the broad implications of this remarkable data set and provides a summation of the project.

Takeshi Inomata is director of the Aguateca Archaeological Project and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Daniela Triadan is codirector of the Aguateca Archaeological Project and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. She is also a research assistant with the Smithsonian Institute.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables

1. Introduction ~ Takeshi Inomata

PART A: Artifacts, Ecological Studies, and Conservation
2. Figurines ~ Daniela Triadan
3. Worked Sherds and Other Ceramic Artifacts ~ Takeshi Inomata
4. Spindle Whorls ~ Takeshi Inomata
5. Grinding Stones and Related Artifacts ~ Takeshi Inomata
6. Stone Ornaments and Other Stone Artifacts ~ Takeshi Inomata and Markus Eberl
7. Ceramic Laminates ~ Harriet F. Beaubien
8. Bone and Shell Artifacts ~ Takeshi Inomata and Kitty Emery
9. Aguateca Animal Remains ~ Kitty Emery
10. Food, Farming, and Forest Management at Aguateca ~ David L. Lentz, Brian Lane, and Kim Thompson
11. Artifact Conservation ~ Harriet F. Beaubien

PART B: Monuments and Hieroglyphic Texts 
12. Monuments ~ Stephen D. Houston
13. Miscellaneous Texts ~ Stephen D. Houston

PART C: Synthesis and Conclusions

14. Synthesis of Data from the Rapidly Abandoned Buildings ~ Takeshi Inomata
15. Conclusions ~ Takeshi Inomata

Appendix: Radiocarbon Dates from Aguateca ~ Takeshi Inomata

Praise and Reviews:
”This is a tour de force. Each author has clearly explained the subject of each chapter. The contextual analyses are unprecedented in their detail as a result of the special circumstances of preservation in the site core. The final syntheses are lucid and persuasive, written in the best tradition of Maya research.”
—David Freidel, Washington University at Saint Louis

“This is writing of the highest caliber. There is no other publication in the Maya area that describes and interprets the activities of elites in such fine-grained detail, based on unusually well-preserved data. This volume will be consulted by scholars for many decades, and by generations of students.”
—Payson Sheets, University of Colorado, Boulder

“I highly recommend this volume to scholars interested in Mesoamerica, complex societies, religion, politics, public performances, and craft specialization.”—Journal of Anthropological Research