The eight chapters in this edited volume deal sequentially with historical, archaeological, and ethnographic topics pertaining to the ancient and modern Ch’ol Maya of Chiapas, Mexico. It is not a synthetic work, but its collected essays synergistically provide a deep history of the Ch’ol as well as sketches of some of their rituals and beliefs. The modern Ch’ol of the northern tropical lowlands of Chiapas are thought to be direct descendants of the ancient Maya who built the city of Palenque and carved exquisite art and texts in stone. Given the Ch’ol’s prestigious pedigree, their pre- and post-Columbian histories are of inherent archaeological and anthropological interest.

All essays build on or elucidate Karen Bassie-Sweet’s investigations of the Joljá caves, some of which have ancient painted scenes and accompanying Mayan texts. In this book, she fuses contributions of archaeologists, linguists, ethnographers, epigraphers, and...

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