“This is a major, even brilliant, contribution.”
—David Freidel, Washington University in St. Louis
“This will be the authoritative volume concerning this region for many years to come and is an exemplary model for other regional investigations of the Maya Lowlands.”
—Karl Taube, University of California, Riverside
"An Inconstant Landscape will be exciting for a range of audiences, including specialists across archaeology, anthropology, and environmental studies, as well as anyone interested in understanding how societies operating at the periphery of power respond and adapt to diverse ecological, political, economic, and social factors over the long term."
—Latin American Antiquity
"[An Inconstant Landscape] achieves a balance of discussion and data providing a detailed yet accessible report on the archaeology of El Zotz and its significance in the region."
"The whole book is impressive. It does exactly what it means to do, describing and documenting the archaeological investigation of a key portion of the ancient Maya world."
—Anthropology Book Forum
Presenting the results of six years of archaeological survey and excavation in and around the Maya kingdom of El Zotz, An Inconstant Landscape paints a complex picture of a dynamic landscape over the course of almost 2,000 years of occupation. El Zotz was a dynastic seat of the Classic period in Guatemala. Located between the renowned sites of Tikal and El Perú-Waka’, it existed as a small kingdom with powerful neighbors and serves today as a testcase of political debility and strength during the height of dynastic struggles among the Classic Maya.
In this volume, contributors address the challenges faced by smaller polities on the peripheries of powerful kingdoms and ask how subordination was experienced and independent policy asserted. Leading experts provide cutting-edge analysis in varied topics and detailed discussion of the development of this major site and the region more broadly. The first half of the volume contains a historical narrative of the cultural sequence of El Zotz, tracing the changes in occupation and landscape use across time; the second half provides deep technical analyses of material evidence, including soils, ceramics, stone tools, and bone.
The ever-changing, inconstant landscapes of peripheral kingdoms like El Zotz reveal much about their more dominant—and better known—neighbors. An Inconstant Landscape offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of this important but under-studied site, an essential context for the study of the Classic Maya in Guatemala, and a premier reference on the subject of peripheral kingdoms at the height of Maya civilization.
Contributors: Timothy Beach, Nicholas Carter, Ewa Czapiewska-Halliday, Alyce de Carteret, William Delgado, Colin Doyle, James Doyle, Laura Gámez, Jose Luis Garrido López, Yeny Myshell Gutiérrez Castillo, Zachary Hruby, Melanie Kingsley, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Cassandra Mesick Braun, Sarah Newman, Rony Piedrasanta, Edwin Román, and Andrew K. Scherer