Living with the Ancestors: Kinship and Kingship in Ancient Maya Society

  • Publish Date: 2014-03-20
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Patricia A. McAnany
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This new edition of Living with the Ancestors contains an entirely new introduction that synthesizes scholarship on ancestralizing practices that has emerged since the 1995 publication of the first edition, which was heralded in Ethnohistory as a gem by Robert M. Carmack. Ancestor veneration in the Maya region traditionally was associated with divine kingship and royal genealogies. In this study, the author challenges this assumption and presents a strong case for agrarian and Preclassic antecedents to the practice of remembering and celebrating forebears and curating their remains close to the dwelling. Integrating archaeological, epigraphic, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic information, the author places ancestors within the larger social landscape of fields, orchards, and gardens. The many registers of significance on which ancestralizing practices resonate are examined in detail - including spirituality, land tenure patterns, kin relations, and charters of rulership, to name just a few. Although case material is drawn from the Maya region, anyone interested in ancestor veneration will find intriguing material in this study.