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Title: Late classic politics and ideology : a case study of Hieroglyphic Stairway 2 at Yaxchilan, Chiapas, Mexico
Author: Nolan, Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 6435
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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This project examines Hieroglyphic Stairway 2 (HS. 2) at Yaxchilan, a Classic Maya city in Southern Mexico. Uncovered in 1975 as part of the clearing and consolidation of Structure 33, HS. 2 is made up of thirteen carved blocks which form the riser to the last step in the ascent to this building. The blocks depict thirteen different individuals (four female and nine male) in a series of elaborate ballgame rituals that demonstrated the legitimacy and power of Bird Jaguar IV, the ruler over Yaxchilan from 752-768 A.D. In this study, the previous work conducted around this monument is examined, and argue that it has been insufficient to draw the conclusions commonly presented about it. A translation of the hieroglyphic inscriptions from all blocks is provided, where previously only translations from the central three blocks (VI, VII, VIII) have been made available. This study also provides an analysis of the imagery on the blocks to better understand the ideology of Late Classic Yaxchilan (530-830 A.D.). This work relies on the hieroglyphic and archaeological data available from the site to demonstrate the geographical and temporal variation in lowland Maya political organisation, and to provide a model for Late Classic Yaxchilan. Overall, the author argues that the Late Classic political organisation of Yaxchilan underwent a period of centralisation followed by decentralisation and collapse. The contribution of this study to the literature is the conclusion that the representation of so many individuals on HS. 2 reveals that political power was being conferred upon the elite through ‘empowering,’ which led to a delocalisation of authority. This may also have led to dissatisfaction among the general population of the ideology of kingship, which may have caused the community to reject uncharismatic rulers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology ; F1201 Latin America (General)