Choose your date: 1960 as a watershed year for Maya studies, 1978 for Aztec inquiry. Sometimes one only can see these turning points clearly in retrospect, and the harbingers of an impending change of view then take their place in the sequence. Most Mesoamerican specialists would recognize that we are in the midst of such a revision right now for Teotihuacan, as deep archaeology is revealing a new story for Mexico's largest ancient city.

For the Olmec, the turning point pivoted on the question of chronology, and along the way in his new book, Discovering the Olmecs, David Grove makes a good case that 1954 was that turning point. The modern-day story of this ancient culture began with powerful charismatic objects like the large jade celt that George Kunz of Tiffany had acquired in Oaxaca during the nineteenth century. But despite...

You do not currently have access to this content.