Copán(redirected from Copan)
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one of the major cities of antiquity in what is now Honduras (named after a modern-day village near the ruins). It came into existence in the first centuries B.C. and flourished in the seventh and eighth centuriesA.D. At its peak, it was the center of an independent political union of the Mayas, who had captured what is now southeastern Guatemala and northeastern Honduras. The city’s decline was evidently linked to the general crisis of the Mayan city-states in the ninth century.
Archaeological excavations were conducted in the 1890’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s. Numerous architectural and sculptural re-mains were unearthed, among them the remains of pyramids, platforms, temples, a stadium, and stairways richly decorated with sculpture. Also found were stelae with figures in high relief. The central complex of buildings (temples with the hieroglyphic stairway and a palace dating from the second half of the eighth century) was situated on an enormous artificial mound. Copán is presently an archaeological open-air museum, and many of its architectural monuments have been restored.
REFERENCESKinzhalov, R. V. Iskusstvo drevnykh maiia. Leningrad, 1968.
Kinzhalov, R. V. Kul’tura drevnykh maiia. Leningrad, 1971.
Morley, S. G. The Inscriptions of Copán. Washington, D. C., 1920.
Longyear, J. M. A Historical Interpretation ofCopán Archaeology. New York, 1949.
R. V. KINZHALOV