December 1998 Meeting of the Pre-Columbian Society

Christine Carrelli, "An Inside View of the Copan Acropolis: Construction
Techniques of the Ancient Maya".

The Copan Acropolis, a 400-year accumulation
of imposing structures,  served as the administrative and religious center of
this Classic Period (AD 250 - 900) Maya polity.  Christine's talk traced
the architecture commissioned by Copan's kings from the earliest clay
platforms, through the construction of elaborate painted plaster masks such as
those adorning famous Temple Rosalila, to the development of Copan's
beautifully carved Late Classic stone sculpture facade decoration.  She
demonstrated how changes in architectural methods and materials can shed light
on the origins of the Copan dynasty, Copan's changing ties to other Maya
polities, and factors leading to the demise of the Copan dynasty in the late
9th century AD.

Christine W. Carrelli is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at Rutgers
University.  Since 1991, she has been a member of Dr. Robert Sharer's Early Copan Acropolis Project, which is tunneling into the superimposed levels of Acropolis construction.
Chris is in the process of recording the architectural details of all
structures and platforms exposed in the tunneling excavations at the Acropolis
at Copan and is conducting an "energetics" study of the number of person-days
of labor utilized by the Maya kings. In her dissertation her data gathering
from three inter-related tunneling projects will be used to document the
changing methods and materials utilized by the ancient Maya in Acropolis
construction.

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