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PCSNY February Lecture
February 11, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The following lecture will take place at 6 pm on Thursday, February 11th in the Lecture Hall of the Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78th Street at Fifth Avenue. A reception with wine and cheese will follow in the Loeb Room. RSVP to email@example.com
Power and Planning in the Ancient Maya City
(Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Queens College, CUNY)
Planned city grids, typically associated with strong central (state) control, were rare in ancient Mesoamerica, and, until now, unknown among the lowland Maya. Yet the site of Nixtun-Ch’ich’ on the western shore of Lake Petén Itzá, in Petén, northern Guatemala, exhibits a clear grid, which new data suggest was constructed between 400 and 200 BC. During this period, states, kingship, and cities were coming into being in the Maya lowlands, accompanied by complex forms of administration for a growing and increasingly diverse and stratified population. One wonders about the power dynamics necessary to “rationalize” the landscape in such a novel and imposing manner in an area where such organization was unheard of and far from traditional. One might also consider how such overt manipulations of space by elites (strategies) were received by the general population (tactics). This talk traces the organization of Nixtun-Ch’ich’ from the implementation of the highly regulated cityscape to its abandonment at the end of the Late Preclassic period (ca. AD 200).