chapter  Chapter Four
20 Pages

The southern Maya Lowlands in the Late Preclassic

WithJames Doyle

During the Late Preclassic period, Lowland Maya societies developed many of the things associated with the apex of Maya culture—hieroglyphic script, highly skilled mural painting, and extensive social inequality. In fact, the largest buildings ever constructed in the Maya world date to the Late Preclassic. This chapter focuses on the evidence from architecture and material culture that speaks to these precocious achievements, the current consensus about the nature of Preclassic society and politics, and the collapse of some major cities and the transformations that mark the beginning of the Classic period.