[ Ancient Maya Animals | Maya Animal Bone Images | Published Literature ]
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A Zooarchaeological Perspective on the Collapse. This book explores models for the ancient Maya collapse using ancient animal remains recovered from the Petexbatun archaeological sites in the Peten forests of Guatemala. The "collapse" has been attributed to environmental destruction, declining dietary health, and social changes such as increased warfare or changing economies. The Petexbatun animal remains provide proxy evidence for the ancient habitats and landscapes that would have existed around the sites. Chemical and fidelity analyses reveal that, contrary to expectation, the ancient landscape of the Petexbatun region was not significantly deforested or otherwise destroyed at the end of the Classic period. Comparisons of the remains of food species from residential deposits also indicate that the Petexbatun Maya were in no danger of famine or protein deficiency -- they neither overhunted their animal resources nor destroyed their habitats to the extent that dietary species were no longer available. Finally, an intriguing deposit of worked animal bone from the capital city of Dos Pilas offers a clue to the puzzle. Here, following the abandonment of the site by the ruling elite, a family group manufactured quantities of utilitarian bone artifacts, probably for trade with other scattered communities in the region. This finding suggests the importance of re-evaluating socioeconomic causality for this transitional period in the Petexbatun and elsewhere in the southern Maya lowlands.

“Maya Zooarchaeology”, published by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, is now also available via the David Brown Book Company and Amazon books. This edited volume combines traditional zooarchaeological reports and various state-of-the-art summaries of methods and theoretical perspectives. The chapters emphasize the newest developments in technical methods in Maya zooarchaeology, the most recent trends in the analysis of "social zooarchaeology," and the broadening perspectives provided by a new geographic range of investigations.

Tropical Zooarchaeology, volume 13, a special issue of the journal Archaeofauna, explores the myriad special circumstances of zooarchaeological investigation in tropical settings around the world.


A complete list of my other publications is available in my CV. I can provide pdf versions of many of these articles (see Published Literature) and am happy to send reprints as well. I am most excited about my on-going compilation of information into a digital and interactive encyclopedia of the ancient animals of the Maya world. I expect to complete the final version in a few years.
As well, I, and the FLMNH, are publishing compiled digital images of the skeletal elements of the various fauna of Mesoamerica, and the circum-Caribbean basin. Take a look at some of these excellent images (Maya Animal Bone Images), and if you are interested in purchasing a CD of one or more species or element catalogues, for details.

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