Tikal, Guatemala, and Emergent Maya Civilization

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Science  19 Mar 1965:
Vol. 147, Issue 3664, pp. 1401-1419
DOI: 10.1126/science.147.3664.1401


It would be extravagant to claim that these pages have outlined meaningfully the early evolution of Tikal. Data have been provided largely for one excavation locus at a site which, for all its importance, merely has symptomatic value. We cannot claim to have, at present, sufficient material to document satisfyingly the conditions and products of community-wide living at any point in these early times. Present knowledge of Eb and Tzec ceramics and of all the usual archeological correlates (architecture and so on) is disturbingly incomplete. While we do have a good many data on residence throughout much of Preclassic time, considerably more information is needed before a solid evaluation of Preclassic Tikal society can be achieved. One can only hope that pending excavation programs will provide it. Yet, experience shows that probably only a tiny percentage of early cultural remains, regardless of their grandeur and importance at the time, would have survived the constant quest for construction fills to satisfy a seemingly interminable need to build and revamp.

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