Detailed investigations of the Maya cvililzation, particularly Maya architecture and civic planning, are comparatively meager in relation to the exhaustive studies which have been made of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and other Old World civilizations. The fact that the indigenous peoples of the New World, at least in Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America, were indeed civilized and were then living in or adjacent to large numbers of cities thoughout this area was well known to the Spanish Conquistatdors, who were the first Europeans to make contact with Maya tribes. This book is a look at a number of Maya cities as "artifacts" in an effort to answer the many questions about this lost civilization. Twenty major settlements have bene included in the present study, ranging in location from the most southerly parts of the Maya area in Honduras and Guatemala to both the northern and eastern edges of the Yucatan Peninsula. The twenty sites described in this book vary considerably in size and complexity, ranging from a minor center such as Bonampak, to major urban centers such as Tikal and Dzibilchaltun, each with hundreds of structures and a dense central core.
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