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Science. 2013 Apr 26;340(6131):467-71. doi: 10.1126/science.1234493.

Early ceremonial constructions at Ceibal, Guatemala, and the origins of lowland Maya civilization.

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School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0030, USA.


The spread of plaza-pyramid complexes across southern Mesoamerica during the early Middle Preclassic period (1000 to 700 BCE) provides critical information regarding the origins of lowland Maya civilization and the role of the Gulf Coast Olmec. Recent excavations at the Maya site of Ceibal, Guatemala, documented the growth of a formal ceremonial space into a plaza-pyramid complex that predated comparable buildings at other lowland Maya sites and major occupations at the Olmec center of La Venta. The development of lowland Maya civilization did not result from one-directional influence from La Venta, but from interregional interactions, involving groups in the southwestern Maya lowlands, Chiapas, the Pacific Coast, and the southern Gulf Coast.

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