foreword by M. Kathryn Brown
“Seeking Conflict in Mesoamerica brings the world of Maya warfare to life, with compelling case studies and savvy comparative anthropological insights that bring together the places, features, written sources, object categories, and events that mean less individually than they do woven into the narratives and arguments of this volume. And it is full of interesting stories . . . chapters in this book make the reader anxious to read on.”
—Marilyn Masson, University of Albany
"Rich in case studies, this edited volume brings together many archaeologists who present research derived from sites, artifacts, hieroglyphics, historical records following the Spanish conquest, and many ethnographic sources. . . . a salutary aspect of the book."
Seeking Conflict in Mesoamerica focuses on the conflicts of the ancient Maya, providing a holistic history of Maya hostilities and comparing them with those of neighboring Mesoamerican villages and towns. Contributors to the volume explore the varied stories of past Maya conflicts through artifacts, architecture, texts, and images left to posterity.
Many studies have focused on the degree to which the prevalence, nature, and conduct of conflict has varied across time and space. This volume focuses not only on such operational considerations but on cognitive and experiential issues, analyzing how the Maya understood and explained conflict, what they recognized as conflict, how conflict was experienced by various groups, and the circumstances surrounding conflict. By offering an emic (internal and subjective) understanding alongside the more commonly researched etic (external and objective) perspective, contributors clarify insufficiencies and address lapses in data and analysis. They explore how the Maya defined themselves within the realm of warfare and examine the root causes and effects of intergroup conflict.
Using case studies from a wide range of time periods, Seeking Conflict in Mesoamerica provides a basis for understanding hostilities and broadens the archaeological record for the “seeking” of conflict in a way that has been largely untouched by previous scholars. With broad theoretical reach beyond Mesoamerican archaeology, the book will have wide interdisciplinary appeal and will be important to ethnohistorians, art historians, ethnographers, epigraphers, and those interested in human conflict more broadly.
Contributors: Matthew Abtosway, Karen Bassie-Sweet, George J. Bey III, M. Kathryn Brown, Allen J. Christenson, Tomás Gallareta Negrón, Elizabeth Graham, Helen R. Haines, Christopher L. Hernandez, Harri Kettunen, Rex Koontz, Geoffrey McCafferty, Jesper Nielsen, Joel W. Palka, Kerry L. Sagebiel, Travis W. Stanton, Alexandre Tokovinine