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Palenque: Recent Investigations at the Classic Maya Center

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Palenque: Recent Investigations at the Classic Maya Center. Edited by Damien B. Marken. AltaMira Press A Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland: 2007. Pg. xxiii, 335. Figures & Tables.) ISBN 10: 0-7591-0874-9. ISBN 13: 978-0-7591-0874-5.

Reviewed by Herbert White - July 16, 2007

In Palenque: Recent Investigations at the Classic Maya Center Damien B. Marken, has compiled a collection of essays dealing in the study of the ancient Maya city of Palenque, located in Chiapas, Mexico. Marken, who himself worked as an archaeologist at Palenque, has selected essays that not only give the reader an intimate portrait of what Palenque looks like today, but also how it must have looked when it was a bustling metropolis. More important, these essays serve to provide the reader with a detailed analysis of the archaeological work now being done at Palenque, and how this research has added to our understanding of the city, as well as Maya history and culture.

There are fourteen essays in this text, covering a range of topics from architecture and settlement patterns to the hieroglyphs found at the site and the methodologies being used to study the wealth of material that has been extracted from the site.

A sampling of the essays in this collection include: Palenque is one of the oldest, and in many ways, one of the most important archaeological Maya sites. Surprisingly, despite being under study for more than 200 years, there has been little written about the site when compared to other, perhaps more famous sites such as Copán and Tikal. With the publication of this book, Marken corrects this oversight, by offering readers a selection of up-to-date essays on the research being done at Palenque, and on the current state of information known about the site and its former inhabitants.

Palenque: Recent Investigations at the Classic Maya Center is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Palenque, or ancient Maya history or culture. It serves an excellent reference book on the city, and it is well suited for use as a supplemental text in both university level archaeology and anthropology courses dealing with ancient Mesoamerican studies.

Related Reviews:

Maya Palaces and Elite Residences, Edited by Jessica Joyce Christie.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the essays in this collection strive to answer the questions: What were the Mayan Palaces, how were they used, and who, if anyone lived in them?

Lightning Warrior - Maya Art and Kingship at Quirigua, By Matthew G. Looper.
Detailing the reign of K'ak' Tiliw, based upon the epigraphic, iconogrpahic, stylistic, and archeological evidence that has been revealed at Quirigua.

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