The Kowoj

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-02-28
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Colorado

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Neighbours of the better-known Itza in the central Petén lakes region of Guatemala, the Kowoj Maya have been studied for little more than a decade. The book summarises the results of recent research into this ethno-political group conducted by Prudence Rice, Don Rice, and their colleagues. Chapters address the question "Who are the Kowoj?" from varied viewpoints: archaeological, archival, linguistic, ethnographic, and bioarchaeological. Using data drawn primarily from the peninsular site of Zacpetén, the authors illuminate Kowoj history, ritual components of their self-expressed identity, and their archaeological identification. These data support the Kowoj claim of migration from Mayapán in Yucatán, where they were probably affiliated with the Xiw, in opposition to the Itza. These enmities extended into Petén, culminating in civil warfare by the time of final Spanish conquest in 1697. The first volume to consider Postclassic Petén from broadly integrative anthropological, archaeological, and historical perspectives, "The Kowoj" is an important addition to the literature on late Maya culture and history in the southern lowlands. It will be of particular interest to archaeologists, historians, ethnohistorians, art historians, and epigraphers.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Maps, Tables, and Appendixesp. ix
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction to the Postclassic- and Contact-Period Kowojp. 1
Introduction to the Kowoj and Their Peten Neighborsp. 3
Who Were the Kowoj?p. 17
The Kowoj in Geopolitico-Ritual Perspectivep. 21
The Kowoj in Ethnohistorical Perspectivep. 55
The Linguistic Context of the Kowojp. 70
The Archaeology of the Kowoj: Settlement and Architecture at Zacpeténp. 81
Zacpetén and the Kowoj: Field Methods and Chronologiesp. 85
Defensive Architecture and the Context of Warfare at Zacpeténp. 123
Kowoj Ritual Performance and Societal Representations at Zacpeténp. 141
Residential and Domestic Contexts at Zacpeténp. 173
Zacpetén Group 719, the Last Noble Residencep. 192
The Archaeology of the Kowoj: Pottery and Kowoj Identityp. 217
Technological Styles of Slipped Pottery and Kowoj Identityp. 221
The Iconography and Decorative Programs of Kowoj Potteryp. 238
Incense Burners and Other Ritual Ceramicsp. 276
Additional Perspectives on the Kowojp. 313
The Symbolism of Zacpetén Altar 2+1p. 317
Postclassic Trade: Sources of Obsidian at Zacpeténp. 327
The Bioarchaeology of Ritual Violence at Zacpeténp. 340
The Kowoj and the Lacandon: Migrations and Identitiesp. 368
Conclusionsp. 385
Summary and Concluding Remarks: The Kowoj through a Glass, Darklyp. 387
References Citedp. 396
Indexp. 439
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