As interesting and informative as was Weisman's article on Arthur Demarest's excavations of the Mayan civilization, one could wish for less hyperbole.
We may have underestimated the glories of native American peoples, but let us not now be guilty of this kind of exaggeration: "Their monumental architecture, as well as their painting, astronomy, mathematics and literature, humbled the achievements of their contemporaries in Europe." While it is true that most of us are unaware of how impressive were the Mayan accomplishments in these areas, the statement is patently false in all areas except possibly astronomy. There is nothing among the Mayan ruins to indicate an architecture that equaled the accomplishments of Imperial Rome. Nor do the remains of Mayan paintings equal the combined accomplishments of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Byzantine world as we know them. As for literature, get serious! I trust this wild hypothesizing originates with your author and not with professor Demarest.
MICHAEL A.JACOBSEN, PH.D.
LECTURER, ART HISTORY
CAL POLY, POMONA