Skeletons, Skulls, and Bones in the Art of Chichén Itzá

  • Virginia E. Miller
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)

7.1. Introduction

It now seems nearly impossible to believe that for many years the prevailing view of the ancient Maya was that they were an essentially peaceful people lacking a propensity for warfare and human sacrifice. Over the last three decades a differ ent picture of the Classic Maya in particular has emerged, one in which violent death was not uncommon and was often the result of sacrifice. This new image has been bolstered in part by the rapid decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic texts, archaeological discoveries including human remains, the re-examination of bones excavated years ago, and the reevaluation of Maya iconography. One of the reasons for downplaying human sacrifice among the Classic Maya is the relative dearth of death and sacrificial imagery in monumental art, particularly sculpture. Finally, it was not until the 1970s, when publications featuring large numbers of illustrations of looted Maya polychrome vessels began to appear, that it became apparent that skeletal...


Human Remains Incense Burner Human Sacrifice Conch Shell Terminal Classic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia E. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art HistoryUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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