Gordon R. Willey Lecture
Maya and the Idea of Empire: A View from the Field
Listen to the lecture.
El Mirador, the uniquely massive ancient city in the heart of Maya country, may have inspired the idea of empire among Classic Maya kingdoms that followed.
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents the Gordon R. Willey lecture, "Maya and the Idea of Empire: A View from the Field" at 6:00 PM on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at Harvard's Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St.), followed by a reception at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Ave.). The speaker is David Freidel, Professor of Archaeology, Washington University in St. Louis.
Centuries before the construction of pyramids at Teotihuacan, El Mirador and many other large lowland Maya cities exemplified civilized society in Mesoamerica. It is likely that the pre-Classic Mirador state with its far-reaching networks and alliances established the idea of empire in the Maya lowlands. The later Classic Maya era witnessed an epic contest between great powers vying to establish their own empires: the Snake kings to the north of El Mirador vs. the kings of Tikal and their allies to the south. Dr. Freidel illustrates the struggles between these two groups through the mirror of empire.
About Gordon R. Willey
Gordon R. Willey was one of the foremost archaeologists of pre-Colombian America. He was distinguished by his meticulous research of Maya archaeological sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and noted for his pioneering work in settlement pattern studies. Gordon Willey taught at Harvard for 36 years until his retirement in 1984. He served as emeritus senior professor of anthropology until his death in 2002.