The northern Maya Tollans

Authored by: William M. Ringle

The Maya World

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  June  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138492837
eBook ISBN: 9781351029582
Adobe ISBN:


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During the final century of the Classic Period, two sites of northern Yucatan, Chichen Itza and Uxmal, adopted symbols marking them as a Tollan, or “Place of Reeds.” Tollan was on the one hand the idealized city, a place where kingship and the arts of civilized life were said to have originated, but practically was a political center with the authority to confirm client kings and nobles in office. Tula, Hidalgo, has long been viewed as the direct donor of Toltec culture to Chichen Itza, perhaps through migration and conquest, but archaeological research over the past 30 years has increasingly cast doubt on the veracity of the few historical sources this model is based upon. The present study examines the archaeological evidence relevant to the controversy, with particular attention to chronology, the inception of Toltec influence, and archaeological evidence for Toltec presence beyond the immediate boundaries of the two centers.

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