Although the site that later became Copan had been named in 160 AD,
at that time in an area at the extreme southeastern limit of the Maya world,
and not yet as advanced as the Maya highlands. In 426 AD, K'inich Yax K'uk'
Mo', a visitor from the Peten, married a local girl and founded a new
dynasty at Copan. The center became the capital of an extensive polity, the
most important seat of royal power in the southeast. Outsiders were
probably instrumental in placing the new king and new royal administrative
structure in power. These changes, in turn, were apparently spawned by
events involving two of Mesoamerica's greatest Early Classic period powers,
Tikal and Teotihuacan.
Loa Traxler is Assistant Curator of the Pre-Columbian Collection at
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC. She will receive her doctorate from the
University of Pennsylvania based on her research with the University
Museum's excavation project at the site of Copan, Honduras. She is
interested in the architectural evolution of Maya centers and the nature of
sociopolitical organization of these societies and has recently published
some of her Copan research in the second volume of Royal Courts of the
Ancient Maya, (Inomata and Houston, ed., Westview Press, 2001). As an
archaeologist and surveyor she has worked with other Museum projects in the
American Southwest and the Near East and has organized photograph
exhibitions for Dumbarton Oaks and the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
Since 1998 she has served as the coordinator for the University Museum's
Annual Maya Weekend.
back to home page