a1 Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 117305, Gainesville, FL 32611-7305 USA
The critical role of social or collective memory in ongoing processes of societal reproduction and transformation is well acknowledged by anthropologists and is being increasingly modeled in archaeological interpretations as well. Investigating how social memory impacted the materialities and historical trajectories of the Maya civilization has great potential for advancing archaeological methodologies as well as enlarging our knowledge of the Maya. In addition to the wealth of epigraphic, ethnographic, and early historical information available for the Maya, archaeologists are examining enduring architecture, representative imagery, and even mundane artifacts that constitute a “technology of memory” for clues to the interplay of recollection and forgetting in the operation and transformation of Maya societies. This commentary reviews issues and problems in archaeological studies of social memory and addresses the specific prospects for investigating social memory among the pre-Hispanic Maya, drawing upon the analyses provided by the papers in this special section.
(Online publication July 04 2011)