Throughout their history, including the modern and colonial times, the Maya people have strongly emphasized public ceremonies, in which political authorities have played central roles. In this talk, I will trace this tradition back to the Preclassic period around 1000 BC when sedentary communities were initially formed. Our research at the Maya site of Ceibal, Guatemala, has revealed evidence of temple constructions at the beginning of a sedentary village. The importance of public ritual and its close connection to political authorities significantly shaped the later course of Maya society.
Takeshi Inomata is professor and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair at the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona. He has been directing archaeological investigations at the Maya sites of Augateca and Ceibal, Guatemala. His publications include the Aguateca Archaeological Project monograph series (University of Utah Press), The Classic Maya (Cambridge University Press), as well as articles in journals, such as Science, PNAS, Current Anthropology, and American Anthropologist.