Monte Alban
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
by: Alfredo Pinto

Section: Adult Book Reviews

Februrary 2013

Reviewed by: Alfredo Pinto the Learning Resources Specialist at the Universidad Regis Dual Language Campus in Thornton, Colorado.

From the onset of Monte Albán’s introduction, author and anthropologist Joyce Marcus addresses age old questions that one might ask after being fortunate enough to visit an historic or in this case a pre-historic (pre-Columbian) site or museum exhibit dedicated to such.  Set against a backdrop of mountains in southern México and nestled in the Oaxaca Valley, Monte Albán stands as a monument to a civilization now past.  Unearthed over several years, this site has produced some of the most magnificent finds ever uncovered in the New World.

Painstakingly researched with detailed descriptions of artifacts and well documented ethnographic information, this monograph provides vast insight into a no longer lost yet still incredibly intriguing world. Hieroglyphics read from bones found in the renowned tomb 7 provide key information that might even lie to rest the question of the inhabitant’s Mixtec ethnicity as compared to the Aztec and Zapotec writings.

This text draws upon decades of previous investigation and early writers of the mid-19th century.  Mexican explorer/archaeologist Alfonso Caso’s publication and nearly 20 years of study is credited to have provided many clues and answers.  Brief chapter summaries afford the reader a synopsis of content that provides a guide for referencing and quickly locating key information. Expertly written and detailed, Marcus’ work takes the reader on a journey through the site managing to answer crucial questions with the anticipation of even more discoveries in this century.  This thin 21x14 cm paperback Spanish translation, part of a series, can be utilized and easily carried by the novice hobbyist, student or the seasoned researcher; it is highly recommended for your collection.

Monte Alban. Joyce Marcus, translated by Lucrecia Orensans Escofet & Adriana Santov. Mexico: FCE, El Colegio de Mexico, 2008. 206pp. $33.94. ISBN: 9789681684600. Not Available as eBook

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