This edition incorporates latest archaeological and epigraphic research. Among the finest new discoveries are the polychrome murals of Calakmul, which provide archaeological evidence for the importance of marketplaces in the Classic Maya cities as well as giving a glimpse into Maya daily life. Other recent finds relate to the initial peopling of the Maya area by Early Hunters and Archaic peoples. It is clear that the birth of Maya civilization lies not in the Classic but in the Preclassic period, above all in the Mirador Basin of northern Guatemala, where the builders of gigantic ancient cities erected the world's largest pyramid as early as 200 BC. In addition, the persistent influence of the precocious Olmec civilization of southeast Mexico on the development of complex society in the Maya area has become more apparent. This edition concludes with new historical evidence for the crucial role played by collaborationist native leaders, both Maya and non-Maya, in the Spanish conquest of the region.