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"Sunken cities in the jungle and towering temple pyramids reflect only a small portion of our knowledge about Mayan culture. This fascinating people achieved the landmarks of an advanced civilization -- such as a highly developed writing system and densely populated cities -- in the classical period (AD 300-600), earning them a place among the greatest civilizations in the world. However, this period represents just one phase in the history of the Mayan culture, which extends over thousands of years. Our knowledge of Mayan life has increased dramatically in recent decades. As a result, specialists from a wide range of disciplines have contributed to this book in order to represent all of the latest research on the Maya. The contributions included in this magnificent volume range from the origins of Mayan culture all the way to modernity, giving insight into everyday life and religion as well as the artistic accomplishments and intellectual abilities of this important culture."