The nature of the classic Maya collapse at Copán, Honduras
Manahan, T. Kam
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The question of the Classic Maya collapse has been the focus of research throughout the Southern Maya Lowlands, and Copan is no exception. A series of different views have been expressed since Sylvanus Morley first addressed this issue in 1920. While subsequent studies supported Morleys work, recent research contradicted the traditional view of Copan's demise. This new view posited that ceramics of the Late Classic style and composition continued unchanged for 400 years after the dynamic collapse of Copan. However, a new investigation of a residence within 200 meters of the site core, Structure 11L-77, has identified an utilitarian Early Postclassic ceramic assemblage as well as traditional markers of the Early Postclassic period. This key data set adds to our understanding of the Classic Maya collapse and resolves the controversy about the nature of the abandonment of Copan. Furthermore, this finding confirms John Longyear's hypothesis of the nature and timing of the Classic Maya collapse at Copan and shows continuity with the ceramic sequences, artifact assemblages, and construction techniques of other Southern Maya Lowland sites at this time period.