Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Series
The books in this series focus on a theme or a collection of material that merits in-depth examination and presentation. The volumes highlight research drawing on archaeological, art historical, and ethnohistorical approaches to the Pre-Columbian past in Mesoamerica, Central America, and the Andes.
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
Two Aztec Wood Idols: Iconographic and Chronologic Analysis
This discussion considers the iconographic features and radiocarbon dates of two small wood figures reportedly found in the vicinity of Texcoco. One figure represents the water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, while the other, a nude male figure, may represent a rain deity.
Ecology and the Arts in Ancient Panama: On the Development of Social Rank and Symbolism in the Central Provinces
Linares reinterprets the Classic rank-societies of the central Panamanian provinces using archaeological, ecological, iconographic, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic evidence, and concludes that the art of this area used animal motifs as a metaphor for the qualities of aggression and hostility characteristic of local social and political life.
The Danzantes of Monte Albán
John Scott looks at the characteristics, stylistic evolution, ceramic relationships, and dating of the Danzantes of Monte Albán. The volume includes an illustrated catalogue of the reliefs and an appendix on their petrography and pigmentation.
State and Cosmos in the Art of Tenochtitlan
Townsend offers an interpretation of major examples of Mexica monumental art by identifying three interrelated iconographic themes: the conception of the universe as a sacred structure, the correspondence of the social order and the territory of the nation with the cosmic structure, and the representation of Tenochtitlan as the historically legitimate successor to the civilization of the past.
The House of the Bacabs, Copan, Honduras
Using an integrated art historical and anthropological approach, the contributors consider the House of the Bacabs’ context as an elite Maya structure, its excavation and restoration, and its iconographic and epigraphic reconstruction and interpretation, to establish models for understanding Classic Maya social and political life.
The Major Gods of Ancient Yucatan
Classic Maya Place Names
The authors present evidence that specific place names do exist in Maya inscriptions, and show that identifying these names sheds considerable light on both past and present questions about the Maya.
Script and Glyph: Pre-Hispanic History, Colonial Bookmaking, and the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca
The Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca was created at a pivotal transitional moment, bridging an era when pictorial manuscripts dominated and one that witnessed the rising hegemony of alphabetic texts. Script and Glyph is a particularly appropriate volume for Dumbarton Oaks, as it crosses the boundaries of Pre-Columbian and Landscape areas of study. The volume is beautifully illustrated with color images from the manuscript itself.
Place and Identity in Classic Maya Narratives
By examining the connections between place and identity in the Classic Maya culture that thrived in the Yucatan peninsula and parts of Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras from 350 to 900 CE, Alexandre Tokovinine addresses one of the crucial research questions in anthropology: How do human communities define themselves in relation to landscapes?
Holes in the Head: The Art and Archaeology of Trepanation in Ancient Peru
Trepanation is the oldest surgical procedure known from antiquity, but its origins, evolution, and the reasons for doing it remain unclear. Holes in the Head examines trepanation in ancient Peru and explores its origins and spread throughout the Central Andes, focusing on techniques, success rates, and possible motivations for trepanning.
Painted Words: Nahua Catholicism, Politics, and Memory in the Atzaqualco Pictorial Catechism
Painted Words presents a facsimile and analysis of a 17th-century pictographic Catholic catechism from colonial Mexico at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This book shows they are better understood as indigenous expressions of devotional knowledge—with pictures to aid oral performance—rather than the products of evangelization.
The Archaeology of Mural Painting at Pañamarca, Peru
The Archaeology of Mural Painting at Pañamarca, Peru is a richly illustrated volume offering a nuanced account of the modern history of exploration, archaeology, and image making at Pañamarca. It also offers detailed documentation of the new fieldwork carried out by the authors at the site.