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Building Time: The Origins of Dynastic Kingship in the Maya Lowlands

Charles Golden, Brandeis University, Fellow 2007/08

My fellowship period at Dumbarton Oaks has been a time of great academic productivity on many fronts, not least of them my central project, "Building Time: The Origins of Dynastic Kingship in the Maya Lowlands." This book is an exploration of Maya temporality, social memory, and politics and examines the roles played by architecture, imagery, text, and portable objects in the construction of royal origins and dynastic authority during the Classic period, and is grounded in data from excavations in the royal palace of Piedras Negras. My time at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to delve into the original excavation data from Piedras Negras, to re-evaluate assessments and interpretations that I made in writing my dissertation on the same subject, and to synthesize the work of other excavators who worked at the site. In the course of this synthesis I have been able to make unexpected findings in the data that provide new insights into the growth and collapse of the Piedras Negras kingdom generally. This work, in addition to helping me to advance Building Time, has also allowed me to complete approximately half of a monograph on the archaeology of the Piedras Negras Acropolis, to be co-authored with Stephen Houston.

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