Mouths of Stone presents a broad overview of ancient Maya civilization — art, architecture, literature, social structure, religion, culture, history — as developed from a wide variety of disciplines and sources, including archaeology, iconography, and colonial literature, with special emphasis on recent translations of inscription texts. The book begins by establishing a framework for understanding Maya civilization. It then examines three major Classic period sites and the most salient features of each: the stelae and altars of Copán; the architecture, ornaments, and inscriptions of Palenque; and the sociology, politics, and warfare of Tikal. Each of these sites has contributed enormously to modern understanding of the fascinating culture of Pre-Columbians. Translations of texts at each site bring Maya histories into focus.
“With insight, directness, and charm, Jeff Chouinard pulls us into a remarkable world. After laying a groundwork of history, anthropology, and mythology, he concentrates on three important but disparate sites — Copán, Palenque, and Tikal — to elaborate what the Maya accomplished, how they did it, why such a successful civilization collapsed, and what we might learn from the Maya today. With the latest discoveries in archaeology, epigraphy, and iconography, the author brings to life a world very different from ours. Mouths of Stone is an interesting and innovative presentation of the ancient Maya, offered in a gracious and eloquent way.” — Gillett G. Griffin, Princeton University Museum of Art