“A veritable toolbox of new research, this innovative nuts-and-bolts volume reveals the complex, resilient set of relationships that made Maya exchange systems thrive for millennia.”—Debra S. Walker, editor of Perspectives on the Ancient Maya of Chetumal Bay
“Provides a snapshot of current research on Maya trade. From discussions of marketplaces to the provisioning of elite and commoner households with commodities from nearby and distant lands, we see the ancient Maya as people actively engaged in a variety of production and distribution tasks.”—Heather McKillop, author of Maya Salt Works
A timely synthesis of the latest research and perspectives on ancient Maya economics, The Real Business of Ancient Maya Economies: From Farmers’ Fields to Rulers’ Realms illuminates the sophistication and intricacy of economic systems in the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods.
Contributors from a wide range of disciplines move beyond paradigms of elite control and centralized exchange to focus on individual agency, highlighting production and exchange that took place at all levels of society. Case studies draw on new archaeological evidence from rural households and urban marketplaces to reconstruct the trade networks for tools, ceramics, obsidian, salt, and agricultural goods throughout the empire. They also describe the ways household production integrated with community, regional, and interregional markets.
Redirecting the field of ancient Maya economic studies away from simplistic characterizations of the past by fully representing the range of current views on the subject, this volume delves deeply into multiple facets of a complex, interdependent material world.
Marilyn A. Masson, professor of anthropology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, is coauthor of Kukulcan’s Realm: Urban Life at Ancient Mayapán. David A. Freidel, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, is coeditor of Maya E Groups: Calendars, Astronomy, and Urbanism in the Early Lowlands. Arthur A. Demarest is Ingram Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University and director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology and Development. He is the author of Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization.