INTRODUCTION
Thinking About Memory
This is a book about memory and everyday life in three
societies that flourished more than one thousand years
ago in what is now Honduras, including the Maya
kingdom in the Copan valley and its neighbors in the
Cuyumapa valley and at the site of Cerro Palenque in
the lower Ulua river valley. The people who lived in
these places left behind monumental buildings, intri-
cate works of art, fine examples of craftsmanship such
as pottery, figurines, and stone tools, the remains of
their dead, and the broken and discarded remnants of
their daily life; but they left only a small body of writ-
ten records. My project may seem quixotic because of
this, but my contention is that an archaeological study
of memory in past societies such as these based largely
on material remains is both possible and worthwhile. It
is possible because memory is not just a faculty of the
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