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Contribution to Book

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Sylvanus Morley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington discovered the ancient Maya site of Uaxactun (17.4° N, 89.6° W) in 1916 (see also Map 3). He soon encountered a stela (upright stone monument) with the Long Count date, April 11, AD 328 (see also Calendar). Since this was the first monument with a cycle 8 glyph ever found, he named the site "Uaxactun" from the Maya uaxac, meaning "eight," and tun, meaning "stone." In addition to Morley, a number of notable Carnegie Institution archaeologists worked at the site, including Frans Blom, Oliver Ricketson, A. Ledyard Smith, and Edwin Shook. They led projects at Uaxactun in 1916 (Morley), 1924 (Blom), from 1926 to 1937 (Ricketson), in 1940 (Smith and Shook), and finally in 1974 (Shook). It was the first large-scale architectural excavation in the Maya region that combined artifact and ceramic analysis with dating and detailed interpretation of architectural chronology and site layout. Edith Bayles Ricketson was the first project ceramic analyst and produced a sequence that was later expanded upon by Robert Smith. The type-chronology that they developed influenced all subsequent Mesoamerican ceramic classifications for several decades.


Walter R. T. Witschey


Rowman & Littlefield





Publication Information

Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya