Ancient Maya music: Aerophones in the archaeological record




Reid, Amy E.

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This thesis explores the use of the most commonly excavated musical instrument category in ancient Maya contexts: the aerophones. The aerophones, or wind instruments, are one of three categories of musical instruments that make up the prehispanic musical tradition. This thesis provides a background to the subject of ancient Maya music, presents an overview of the sound producing artifact assemblages at four different Maya lowland archeological sites and identifies the existing trends at these sites. I suggest an open-ended typological classification system for ancient Maya ceramic aerophones and document the types of aerophones present at the sites of Cahal Pech and Blackman Eddy. I also conduct contextual analyses of the ceramic aerophones recovered from Cahal Pech and Blackman Eddy and identify and explore the patterns of use and deposition in order to contribute to the research on the role and significance of aerophones in the musical world of the ancient Maya.



wind instruments, music history, Mayas, archaeology


Reid, A. E. (2010). Ancient Maya music: Aerophones in the archaeological record (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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