a guide to finding resources

Compiled by

Heidi Barry-Rodriguez
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Information and Library Science

Last Updated: December 4, 1997

Copyright 1997 by Heidi Barry-Rodriguez
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All of the following materials (print or electronic versions) are available at libraries on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus, or via the Internet.  For materials available at UNC-CH libraries (primarily the Davis Library), the call number and location (including floor) are given; for materials available via the Internet, the name of the web site and a link to that website have been provided. For external sites, (i.e., those web sites outside of UNC-CH), a URL is also provided.

Some of the links to electronic resources (i.e., CD-ROM databases and on-line services) available through UNC-CH  libraries may be restricted to persons affiliated with UNC-CH due to licensing agreements.  These services may include Encyclopaedia Britannica On-Line, and databases in InfoTrac, and OCLC First Search.   Access to these services may require a UNC-CH identification number, and therefore may not be available to those persons not affiliated with UNC-CH.   They have been included as alternative means of access for students, staff and faculty at UNC-CH who are licensed users of these services.

This symbol designates an electronic search option may be available to licensed users.


Ritual processional, with song and dance
Mayan ritual processionals, such as this one depicted at Chichén Itzá circa 1100 A.D.,
were accompanied by pomp and song

Chichén Itzá was a large, important religious and political center for the Mayans in northern Yucatan, Mexico.   It has been called the most important Mayan city during the period 900 A.D. through approximately 1100 A.D, and may have been the largest city in Mesoamerica at its height in 900 A.D.

Cenote in the Yucatan In the Maya language, Chichén Itzá  signifies "at the mouth of the great well" because of its immense, sacred cenote ("well" in English). The cenote was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the Mayan world (see photo of a Yucatan cenote, right). Some scholars believe that its importance was related to the astronomically-related layout of the site; the city was apparently designed to take full advantage of astronomical events.

Historians have long pondered the similarity between the architecture at Chichén Itzá with that at the Toltec site of Tula, outside of Mexico City 800 miles distant.   There has been much scholarly debate on whether or not the Toltecs conquered Chichén Itzá, or if the architectural melding came about due to trading between the two tribes.  Any scholar of Chichén Itzá will no doubt have to consider the impact of the Toltecs on Chichén Itzá. Much as been written of this, and sources of information on this issue are contained within this pathfinder.



  Temple of Kulkulcan
Whether you are a novice or somewhat of a Mesoamerican scholar, this pathfinder is intended to help you identify the most useful English-language sources (both print and electronic) pertaining to Chichén Itzá available on the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus.

This pathfinder will present and/or identify sources pertaining to the history, architecture and archaeological significance of Chichén Itzá. It will, as a matter of course, include materials on  the Maya and/or Toltec civilizations and culture, but is not intended to be a general discussion of the Maya, or of general  Mesoamerican history. Scholarly sources as well as general interest travel/descriptive resources are included.

The intended audience of this pathfinder would be an upper division undergraduate or graduate student of history or anthropology with little background in Mesoamerican studies specifically, but some general training in history or anthropology.


The following general reference materials are an excellent place to start your research on Chichén Itzá.
  • The Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 1996.
      The encyclopedia article entitled "Chichén Itzá" (on pages 433-434 of volume 6) provides an excellent introduction to Chichén Itzá for those who have no background in Mesoamerican pre-Columbian history.
        Call #:         AE5 .E333 1996
        Location:     Davis Reference, 1st Floor
      This on-line encyclopedia, available through UNC-CH's on-line public access catalog, can be an excellent start for the novice who wishes to narrow his/her scope of research. A keyword search of "Chichén Itzá" will give you an excellent overview article about Chichén Itzá, as well as links to other related articles in the encyclopedia.
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. Thomas E. Skidmore and Harold Blakemore, eds. 2nd edition. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
      See "Pre-Columbian History" section (page 71) for a concise overview of the early civilizations in Mexico, including the Maya.  Map on page 172 shows Chichén Itzá's location within the Maya empire and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.  Page 178 has a photo of Chichén Itzá's Temple of Warriors.  This encyclopedia has a detailed subject index and an excellent Table of Contents.
        Call #:         F1406 .C36 1992
        Location:     Davis Reference, 1st Floor


 Dictionaries and glossaries are indispensable resources unless you are familiar with the pre-Columbian languages of Náhuatl and Maya.
  • Muser, Curt. Facts and Artifacts of Ancient Middle America: A Glossary of Terms and Words Used in the Archaeology and Art History of Pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America. 1st ed. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978.
      This is an indispensible book for anyone researching Chichén Itzá who is not reasonably familiar with the Náhuatl or Maya languages. Apart from giving definitions to those words which seem to have nothing but consonants (i.e., Quetzálcoatl), this is an excellent source for definition, pronunciation and general encyclopedic information on gods, festivals, foods, etc... Entries are dominated by archeological references.  It is organized in a dictionary-like format which includes a helpful guide to the pronunciation of Mayan and Náhuatl words. Additionally, there are excellent maps of pre, classic, and post-classic Mesoamerica. This is a good general source.
          Call #:        F1217 .M97 1978
         Location:     Davis Reference, 1st Floor
  • Miller, Mary Ellen and Karl Taube. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya; An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London, New York: Thames & Hudson, 1993.

       This is an extremely detailed dictionary, with over 260 illustrations (as well as photographs), of concepts, ritual practices, gods, objects, symbols, and sacred places.   Mary Miller is a renowned expert on Mayan art. The 35 page introduction of this book gives a concise yet complete overview of Mesoamerican culture and chronology. This is an excellent source for understanding how the Mayan and Toltec cultures overlapped and melded together.
        Call #:        F1435.3.R3 M55 1993
        Location:    Davis Reference, 1st Floor

These works are useful in locating general source materials about Chichén Itzá and the Maya.
  • Kendall, Aubyn. The Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Middle America: An Annotated Bibliography of Works in English.  Boston: G.K. Hall, 1977.

      This bibliography emphasizes scholarly books and articles, but also includes exhibition catalogs, guidebooks, textbooks, and articles from magazines of general interest.  The geographical scope covers pre-Columbian Middle America, including Mexico. The subject index has 43 entries pertaining to Chichén Itzá.  Although the work is not current, it is an excellent source for older journal materials, which may not found through an electronic or on-line search of databases.
        Call #:         Z1208.M4 K45
        Location:     Davis Reference, 1st Floor
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.

      This general bibliography of Latin American research sources covers English, Spanish, and Portuguese sources for students, scholars and librarians.  There are subject and title indices, and the bibliography is divided into 15 chapters by discipline. The disciplines in the social sciences, and especially the chapter on "Art and Architecture" are especially useful in locating sources regarding Chichén Itzá.
        Call #:         Z1601 .L3225 1992
        Location:     Davis Reference, 1st Floor
  • Handbook of Latin American Studies: A Selective and Annotated Guide to Recent Publications in Anthropology, Economics, Education, Geography, Government and Politics, Internal Relations, and Sociology.  Annual Series.  Vols. 1-54. Gainesville: Univ. of Florida Press. 1935-.

      This annual series, published since 1935, is a compilation of scholarly books and journal articles concerning Latin America. Most works cited are in English. The series is broken down into two volumes per year, one on the Humanities, and one on the Social Sciences. To find sources on Chichén Itzá, you need to look in the subject index for each volume under "Chichén Itzá"; the indices are not cumulative.  In the Social Science volumes, it is useful to look for sources on Chichén Itzá, Mayas, and Toltecs under the "Anthropology" and "Archaeology" chapters; in the Humanities volumes, in "History: Ethnohistory of Mesoamerica." Each source cited is briefly and accurately annotated.
        Call #:          Z1605 .H23
        Location:      Davis Reference, 1st Floor
            HLAS (Handbook of Latin American Studies) Online [] is available via the Internet  through the Library of Congress' [] web pages. This web site allows author, title and subject field searches and is a cumulative compilation which provides access to future, current and retrospective volumes of the Handbook of Latin American Studies. Click on "Search HLAS Online" to search by keyword, author, title, or subject. This on-line database is an excellent source.

Atlases & Gazetteers

Both atlases and gazetteers are useful for learning about the geographical setting in which Chichén Itzá and the ancient Mayan civilization thrived.


  • Whitehouse, David. Archaeological Atlas of the World.  London: Thamses and Hudson, 1975.
      This atlas includes a section entitled "The Maya and Their Predecessors." There is a detailed map of Mayan cities, including Chichén Itzá.  Cross-references for further reading are included. There is a Table of Contents, as well as a subject index.
        Call #:          G1046 .E15W5
        Location:      Davis Reference, 1st Floor
  • Price, David H. Atlas of World Cultures: A Geographical Guide to Ethnographic Literature. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1989.
      Map 8 on page 28 shows how the Maya co-existed with 81 other tribes in pre-Columbian Mexico, and how far their geographical/political influence extended. Also useful for its bibliography.
        Call #:          G1046 .E1 P7 1989
        Location:      Davis Reference, 1st Floor


  • Chamber's World Gazetteer: An A-Z of Geographical Information.  5th ed. Cambridge, Eng.: Chambers, 1988.
      Plates 24 and 25 are maps of Mexico and Central America, respectively. There is a brief mention of Chichén Itzá on page 130, along with geographical coordinates.
        Call #:          G103. 5. C453 1988
        Location:      Davis Reference, 1st Floor


Handbooks are useful for topical coverage of subjects in a specific discipline. They are usually arranged in a dictionary or encyclopedic format, with an index.
  • Handbook of Middle-American Indians. Vol. 10, Archaeology of Northern Mesoamerica, Part One. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, [1964-1976].
      For those interested in comparative architecture, pages 69-79 in volume 10 offer a good discussion on Chichén Itzá's architecture and that of pre-Columbian cities in Mexico's Central Valley.
        Call #:          F1434 .H3v.10 pt.1 C.2
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor

Background and General Books on the Maya

These works are important in gaining a general understanding of the history of the Maya, in order to understand the importance of Chichén Itzá as a center of Mayan civilization.
  • Benson, Elizabeth P. The Maya World. Rev. ed. New York: Crowell, 1977.
      This work is an excellent starting point for understanding the Maya and Chichén Itzá. It discusses in detail cities, agriculture and trade, science, religion, and the end of Mayan domination in the Yucatan.  There is an excellent discussion of the history of Chichén Itzá, and gives a well-done overview of the architecture of the city and its significance. There are seven black and white photos of Chichén Itzá. There is a subject index.
        Call #:           F1435 .B47 1977
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Coe, Michael D. The Maya.  5th ed., fully rev. and expanded.  Ancient Peoples and Places Series.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 1987.
      Dr. Coe is a renowned expert on Mayan history.  This is probably the best source to gain a basic understanding of pre-Columbian Mayan history, culture and architecture. There is an in-depth section on Chichén Itzá and the impact of the Toltec invasion, along with maps and photos of Chichén Itzá's temples, and codices.  There are black and white photos of the Caracol, Castillo, Chac Mool, Temple of the Warriors, Temple of Jaguars, and the Ball Court. The work is indexed by subject, and there is a comprehensive bibliography.
        Call #:         F1435 .C72 1987
        Location:     Davis, 4th Floor

Primary Accounts Regarding Early Excavations at Chichén Itzá

Anthropologists and archaeologists who participated in the initial excavations of Chichén Itzá in the early 1900's authored the following books. These are important sources as they discuss the initial findings at the site.
  • Morris, Ann Axtell. Digging in Yucatan. New York: Junior Literary Guild, 1931.
      First-hand account of one of the earliest excavations at Chichén Itzá funded by the Carnegie Institute.  There are excellent black and white photographs of the site before, during and after the excavation.
        Call #:          F1435.1. C5 M83
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Morris, Earl Halstead. The Temple of the Warriors: The Adventure of Exploring and Restoring a Masterpiece of Native American Architecture in the Ruined Maya City of Chichén Itzá, Yucatan. New York: Scribner & Sons, 1931.
      First-hand narrative account by the archaeologist Morris Halstead (husband of Ann A. Morris) of the excavation of Chichén Itzá in 1925, including the dredging of the sacred cenote and the artifacts recovered. There are many black and white photos of the site, as well as the artifacts recovered.
        Call #:          F1435.1.C5 M87
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Thompson, Edward H. People of the Serpent: Life and Adventure Among the Mayas. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1932.
      Thompson, the American consul to Mérida, Mexico, in the early 1900's, was one of the most instrumental historians who excavated Chichén Itzá, and interpreted the artifacts and architecture. This work is a narrative of his life and work in the Yucatan. Thompson acquired the abandoned hacienda of Chichén Itzá and made it his home.  From 1904-11 he dredged the scared cenote, and subsequently proved that the well was not simply a garbage heap, but a depository of treasure. Part III, "City of the Sacred Well," is excellent for historical perspective and gives a first hand account of the dredge work. Many photos of the Nunnery, Temple of the Warriors, and the cenote.
        Call #:          F1435 .T483
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor

Books Regarding Specific Aspects of Chichén Itzá

These scholarly works provide a detailed, in-depth analysis of specific subjects pertaining to Chichén Itzá.
  • Andrews, George F.  Maya Cities: Placemaking and Urbanization.  The Civilization of the American Indian Series, v. 131.  Norman, OK: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1975.
      This book is a detailed investigation of Mayan architecture and civic planning. There is an excellent comparison of Mayan cities and sites. The author opines that consistency in the form of basic building types and groupings indicate a common cultural root with very little regional or local variation. Pages 383-411 discuss Chichén Itzá's noteworthy architecture; various parts of the city can clearly be assigned to different architectural periods: the late classic, Toltec, and post-Toltec periods.  Includes 29 illustrations in the form of extensive site plans.  There is a subject index, as well as an extensive bibliography.
        Call #:          F1435.3. A6 A52
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Castaneda, Quetzil E. In the Museum of the Maya Culture: Touring Chichén Itzá.  Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1996.
      Heavily illustrated with site maps and black and white photos, this book discusses the impact of tourism on Chichén Itzá and local culture due to the creation of the "museum of Chichén Itzá." This is a historical ethnography of a major tourism/anthropological site.
        Call #:          F1435.1.C5 C37 1996
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Coggins, Clemency Chase, ed.   Artifacts from the Cenote of Sacrifice, Chichén Itzá, Yucatan: Textiles, Basketry, Stone, Bone, Shell, Ceramics, Wood, Copal, Rubber, Organic Materials, and Mammalian Remains.  Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Harvard Univ.; Distributed by Harvard Univ. Press, 1992.
      This is a scholarly catalog of artifacts retrieved from the cenote retrieved during various excavations. The artifacts are dated to two major phases: 1) the terminal classic period circa AD 800; and 2) the late post-classic. The authors opine that Chichén Itzá's contact with Costa Rica and Panama demonstrated the importance of long distance trade, and is seen through artifacts retrieved from the well that originated from those two areas.
        Call #:          F1435.1.C5 A775 1992
        Location:      Davis Folio, 4th Floor
  • Coggins, Clemency Chase and Orrin C Shane III, eds.  Cenote of Sacrifice: Maya Treasures from the Sacred Well at Chichén Itzá.  Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1984.
      This work consists of mostly black and white photos of items recovered from the sacred well.  A brief history of ritual practices at the well is included. The book includes a bibliography and subject index.
        Call #:          F1435.1.C5 C46 1984
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  •  Ediger, Donald.  The Well of Sacrifice.  London:  Hale, 1973.
      This book deals with historian Norman Scott's excavation of the well in the 1970's through the use of a filtered water system to clarify the well's waters for divers to explore more easily.  The excavation yielded gold, statutes and many skulls, which helped to open up the time capsule of the Mayans of Chichén Itzá. There are many black and white photos of the excavations, as well as of the artifacts recovered from the well.
        Call #:          F1435.1.C5 E3 1973
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Jones, Lindsay. Twin City Tales: A Hermeneutical Reassessment of Tula and Chichén Itzá.  Niwot, CO: Univ. Press of Colorado,  [1995].
      The author, a historian of religions, tackles the issue of what to make of the architectural similarities between Chichén Itzá and the Toltec city of Tula in the Central Valley of Mexico (near Mexico City). The two cities are 800 miles apart, yet share many similarities. The author discusses those similarities in detail and whether they came about through shared aspects of religion, or possibly trading.  He suggests that historians look at the "Tula- Chichén Itzá problem" in terms of ritual architectural events instead of merely focusing on the fact that the buildings in the two cities are similar; through this approach, scholars will appreciate how profoundly different the religion-architectural priorities of the two cities were.  This is a scholarly work, with an excellent, current bibliography.  It also contains wonderful black and white photos of the two cities.
        Call #:          F1219.1.T8  J66 1995
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Sharer, Robert J.  Daily Life in Maya Civilization.  Daily Life Through History Series.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.
      Anthropological study of the Maya from the early pre-classic to late post-classic eras. Chapter 6, "Late Maya Civilization" presents a full discussion of Chichén Itzá, including six black and white photos of various temples.
        Call #:          F1435 .S54 1996
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Von Winning, Hasso. Two Maya Monuments in Yucatan: The Palace of the Stuccoes at Acanceh and the Temple of the Owls at Chichén Itzá.  Frederick Webb Hodge Anniversary Publication Fund Series.  Vol. 12.  Los Angeles, CA: Southwest Museum, [1985].
      Part II of this book deals with the Temple of the Owls, a structure at Chichén Itzá that in the opinion of the author has been overlooked.  There is a discussion of the Temple, as well as approximately 20 black and white photos of stelae on the Temple.
        Call #:          F1435.1.A35 V66 1985
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
General Articles about the Maya

While not discussing Chichén Itzá per se, these articles are important as they address historical and anthropological issues concerning Mayan civilization.
  • "New Light on Dark History." Economist,  Dec. 21, 1996,  55-60.
      This  article reports on the recent deciphering of the Mayan writing system which over the past decade has allowed scholars a fundamentally different way of viewing the mysteries of the Mayan's demise.  This article opines that the downfall of the Maya was brought on by internal political upheaval circa 1000 AD.  There is one color photo of a chac mool (i.e., a bowl used in ceremonies, such as sacrifices) at Chichén Itzá, along with photos from other Maya sites.
        Call #:          HG11 .E2 v. 331
        Location:      Davis Folio, 5th Floor
  • "Who Killed the Mayas: War or Weather?" U.S. News & World Report  12 June 1995, 10.
      Short discussion of what caused the downfall of the Maya. Some scholars opine that a severe drought of 200 years duration caused the civilization to crumble, while others believe it was due to a Bosnia-like endemic warfare.
        Call #:          JK1 .U65
        Location:      Davis, 6th Floor
  • Fash, William L. "Changing Perspectives on Maya Civilization." Annual Review of Anthropology Annual 1994, v. 23 (1994): 181-207.
      This scholarly article gives an overview of how anthropologists need to develop an ethical focus when studying the ancient Maya civilization, rather than the theoretical approach, such as that set forth by Edward Thompson.  These past studies, the author states, were polarized and set forth the framework for future and current ethnological studies being polarized as well.  The article doesn't discuss Chichén Itzá specifically, but it is an important article as it allows the Mesoamerican scholar a new perspective on how to look at Mayan history.  Extensive and useful bibliography.
         Call #:          GN1 .A623
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
        Full-text also available through InfoTrac ([CD-ROM] (1993-). Los Altos, CA: Information Access Company.) through the UNC-CH on-line catalog. Select Expanded Academic ASAP database; search by title.
  • Schuster, Angela M.H. "Rituals of the Modern Maya: A Strong Undercurrent of Pre-Columbian Belief Pervades Much of Today's Religious Practices" Archaeology 50 (July-Aug. 1997): 50-54.
      Pre-Columbian (classic) Maya religious rituals, concepts and beliefs have endured, and show continuity to that of Catholicism. The author states that by studying modern Mayan religious practices of Catholicism mixed with shamanism, one can gain insight into religious rites depicted in ancient Mayan art.
        Call #:          GN700 .A725
        Location:      As of 10/1/97, David Reading Room, 1st Floor.
            After it is bound, it will be located on the 4th  floor of Davis in the stacks. Full-text also available through InfoTrac ([CD-ROM] (1993-). Los Altos, CA: Information Access Company.) through the UNC-CH on-line catalog. Select Expanded Academic ASAP database; search by title.
Scholarly Articles Regarding Chichén Itzá

The following journal articles are scholarly in nature, and generally pertain to a particular aspect concerning the history, archaeological significance, or anthropological studies concerning Chichén Itzá.

  • Arochi, Luis Enrique. "The Visit of the Plumed Serpent." Americas 29 (Aug. 1977): 32-35.
      This article is a discussion of the significance of the Mayan calendar in relation to the appearance of the serpent-god Kulkulcán in the form of a shadow slithering down the slide of the Temple of Kulkulcán during the solstices/equinoxes. The author opines that Chichén Itzá, along with other Mayan cities, was astronomically oriented for such "appearances." Includes excellent photos of the Temple of Kulkulcán, the observatory, serpent motifs, and an aerial view of Chichén Itzá.
        Call #:  F1401 .A565
        Location: Davis, 4th Floor
  • Cowgill, George L. Review of "A Fresh Take on the Chichén Itzá-Tula Connection," by Lindsay Jones. In Current Anthropology 38 (June 1997): 467-469.

    • This is a review of Twin City Tales: A Hermeneutical Reassessment of Tula and Chichén Itzá; by Lindsay Jones. (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado,  [1995]), and is important as Dr. Cowgill is not persuaded by Dr. Jones's hermeneutical approach in looking at the connection between Chichén Itzá and Tula. Although Dr. Jones is applauded for his "fresh approach," this review essentially finds the theories set out in Twin City Tales to be implausible, and without factual basis.
        Call #:          GN1 .C81
        Location:     As of 10/1/97, David Reading Room, 1st Floor.
                           After it is bound, it will be located on the 4th floor of Davis.
  • Gould Stoddard, Veronica. "Cenote of Sacrifice." Americas 39 (May-June 1987): 60-62.

    • Good overview article regarding the famous cenote (well) that was the ceremonial shrine around which grew the city of Chichén Itzá.  This cenote was a ritual Mecca, and was believed to hold supernatural powers.  This author discusses the history of the well, and also the objects retrieved from it by Edward Thompson between 1904-1911. Includes photos of several of these objects, as well as a photo of Thompson himself.
        Call #:          F1401 .A565
        Location:     Davis, 4th Floor
  • Krupp, E.C. "Springing Down the Bannister." Sky & Telescope, Mar. 1996, 59-61.
      A look at the vernal equinox festival at the Temple of Kulkulcán from the astronomical viewpoint. The author believes it is difficult to prove that the temple was planned and built for the ceremonial appearance of Kulkulcán, the feathered serpent.
        Call #:          N/A
        Location:     Math/Physics Library (Folio)

        Full-text also available through InfoTrac ([CD-ROM] (1993-). Los Altos, CA: Information Access Company.) through the UNC-CH on-line catalog. Select Expanded Academic ASAP database; search by title.

  • Salloum, Habeeb. "The Mayan Ruins," Contemporary Review 268 (May 1996): 248-253.
        Excellent article which discusses Mayan and Toltec division in the architecture at Chichén Itzá, as well as the equinox/solstice celebrations at the Temple of Kulkulcán.
        Call #:          AP4. C76 Bound
        Location:     Davis, 4th Floor
        Full-text also available through InfoTrac ([CD-ROM] (1993-). Los Altos, CA: Information Access Company.) through the UNC-CH on-line catalog. Select Expanded Academic ASAP database; search by title.
Travel/Descriptive Articles

These articles are travel and/or descriptive in nature rather than a scholarly discussion, but contain interesting historical information, and/or excellent photos of Chichén Itzá.
  • Davidson, Carla. "Mystery Cruise." American Heritage,  Feb.-March 1995, 31-33.

    • General discussion of the equinox/solstice celebrations, and how to plan a trip to see this spectacle of light and shadow.
        Call #:          E171 .A43
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
         Full-text also available through InfoTrac ([CD-ROM] (1993-) Information Access Company.) through the UNC-CH on-line catalog. Select Expanded Academic ASAP database; search by title.
  • Slayman, Andrew L. "Toltecs vs. Maya." Archaeology 49 (July/Aug. 1996): 59. [Sidebar article contained within: Slayman, Andrew L. "Toltecs vs. Maya," Archaeology 49 (July/Aug. 1996): 56-60.]
      This one-page article discusses the invasion theory of Chichén Itzá based on oral histories, as well as the similarity of the buildings at Chichén Itzá to those of Tula, a Toltec city in the Valley of Mexico, near present-day Mexico City.

        Call #:          GN700 .A725 v. 48
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor
  • Slayman, Andrew L. "Toltecs vs. Maya." Archaeology 49 (July/Aug. 1996). 56-60.

    • A travel article written from the viewpoint of an archeologist who travels to Chichén Itzá for the festival surrounding the appearance of Kulkulcán on the solstices and equinoxes at the Temple of Kulkulcán.  Discussion of the history and archaeological significance of the festival. There is a discussion of Toltec influence on the architecture of the city. Several photos, and an excellent, simplified site plan of Chichén Itzá.
        Call #:          GN700 .A725 v. 48
        Location:      Davis, 4th Floor

Databases (On-Line and CD-ROM)

The following electronic databases are extremely helpful in finding additional sources on Chichén Itzá. Search these databases by "Chichén Itzá" to find further journal articles and book reviews. Internet website links are also provided when available. Access to these databases (and others) is available in Davis Library via UNC-CH's on-line catalog on DRA, or in the E-REF section at Davis.
  • Anthropological Literature on Disc.  Tozzer Library, Harvard Univ. [CD-ROM Serial].  New York: G.K. Hall & Co.
      This database, available on-line through UNC-CH catalog on DRA, is an easy to use resource for scholarly journal articles in both English and Spanish. Useful search terms: "Chichén Itzá." and "Maya."
  • InfoTrac. Expanded Academic ASAP. Los Altos, CA: Information Access Co. [CD-ROM]. (1993-).
      This database, available through InfoTrac, is excellent for journal articles and book reviews published after 1993. Some full-text articles are available. Useful search term: "Chichén Itzá."
  • Info Trac. Expanded Academic Index Backfile.  Los Altos, CA: Information Access Co. [CD-ROM]. (1980-1992).
      This database, available through InfoTrac, is excellent for journal articles and book reviews published prior to 1993. Some full-text articles are available. Useful search term:   "Chichén Itzá."
  •  OCLC First SearchArts and Humanities Citation Index [On-line]. (1977-). Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information.  Useful search term:   "Chichén Itzá."

      This on-line citation index service is useful, although if you search the two above-listed databases, there will be some overlap. Select "Arts and Humanities," then "A&H Search." Useful search terms: "Maya"; "Chichén Itzá"
  • OCLC First Search. FastDoc [On-line]. (1977-). Philadelphia:  Institute for Scientific Information.

    • This on-line database is an index of citations and articles (some full-text) available on-line or via e-mail. Useful search terms: "Maya"; "Chichén Itzá"
  • OCLC First Search. Dissertation Abstracts Online [On-line]. (1977-). Philadelphia:  Institute for Scientific Information.

    • This on-line database is useful to locate abstracts of dissertations related to Chichén Itzá. Useful search term: "Chichén Itzá"
  • Latin American Studies Volume 1. [CD-ROM]. (1970-1997). Baltimore: National Information Services, 1997.

    • This is an excellent source for electronic searches on topics pertaining to Chichén Itzá. Although a bit cumbersome to use due to the interface design, it provides powerful keyword searches. The results of a keyword search are citations to journal articles, which can be tagged for printing.  Useful search term:   "Chichén Itzá."

Internet-Accessible Databases

Internet databases can be a powerful resource, if you have access to the World Wide Web. Information can be downloaded or printed.

  • Library of Congress HLAS (Handbook of Latin American Studies) Online. Accessed Oct. 10, 1997. [].
    • This web site, accessed through the Library of Congress' [] web pages allows a researcher to access the HLAS database and conduct author, title and subject field searches on topics related to Latin American Studies. HLAS is an annual series, published since 1935, and is a bibliography of scholarly books and journal articles concerning Latin America. The database allows access to future, current and retrospective volumes of the Handbook of Latin American Studies. Publication years and volume numbers can restrict on-line searches, or a search of all articles in the on-line database can be done.  There is a help page that is very informative and instructive.


Web Sites

Searching under "Chichén Itzá" on a search engine such as Altavista or Yahoo! will yield a plethora of web sites of varying degrees of usefulness pertaining to Chichén Itzá.  After reviewing many of them, I have chosen only a few that have educational as well as entertainment value.

      This site lists a plethora of Latin American studies-related web sites. This is an excellent source for discussion lists, databases, internet directories, newsgroups and all electronic resources related to Mesoamerica.
  • Latin American Studies Network - University of Texas
    Accessed December 1, 1997.

    • This site contains many pre-Columbian archaeology and history links that offer an abundance of information on Chichén Itzá and the Maya. Searching is available by country and subject. This site is very user-friendly, and offers one of the best available collections of resources for electronic sources related to Mesoamerica. This is the best source to locate additional web sites related to Chichén Itzá. [].

  • The Mayas
    [http//:]. Accessed November 12, 1997.
      This site is made available through The University of Mississippi's Historical Text Archive, and contains an excellent discussion of Mayan history as well as the history of Chichén Itzá. There are exellent photos of Chichén Itzá. The site can take a while to load, but is well worth the wait.

  • Lords of the Earth
    Accessed November 12, 1997.
      This Mexican site is great for photos of Chichén Itzá.

      This web site is informative, and contains professional-quality photography of buildings at Chichén Itzá.  

  • Virtual Tour: One Day in Chichén Itzá
    Accessed November 21, 1997.

      This funky site is an interesting virtual tour of Chichén Itzá, replete with excellent graphics and an interesting story which conveys a bit of history about the city. Educational and fun web site.


Electronic Journals, Discussion Lists, and Newsgroups  

Electronic journals, discussion lists and newsgroups provide up-to-date resources, and a interchange of information about topics and sources related to the Maya and/or Chichén Itzá . Additional links to Latin American Studies-related e-lists and journals can also be useful in locating information on Chichén Itzá.

  • Atzlan (Discussion List). []. Accessed December 1, 1997.

      This e-mail based discussion list covers pre-Columbian history of the Americas, and provides an exchange of information among students and researchers of pre-Columbian history of the Americas, including Mesoamerica and the Maya. To subscribe contact:, or

  • Atzlan (Electronic journal). []. Accessed December 1, 1997.

      This web site provides links to electronic scholarly articles in various subjects related to Mesoamerican anthropology.

  • LASNET (Latin American Studies Network) . (Discussion List). []. Accessed December 1, 1997.

      This list, maintained by the Institute for Latin American Studies [] at the University of Texas, is an unmoderated forum for Latinamericanists, with a searchable Gopher archive of messages exhanged since 1992.

  • H-LATAM (Discussion List). []. Accessed December 1, 1997.

      This list is for academics interested in Latin American history, with its purpose being "to improve electronic communications and use of electronic media among Latin American historians." The list includes all aspects of research, teaching, and historiography, including reviews of scholarly books and monographs.

  • Soc.Culture.Mexican (Usenet Newsgroup). []. Accessed December 1, 1997.

      The frequently asked questions page (FAQ) [] contains information on how to subscribe to this newsgroup which looks at Mexican culture in historical and contemporary terms. The site also contains links to various Mesoamerican subjects, such as how to interpret pre-Hispanic calendars (including the Mayan calendar). An audio link is also included to aid the user in pronunciation.

Browsing Areas

The following browsing areas will yield relevant materials on both Chichén Itzá and the Maya:

  • F1435 through F1435.1 in Davis, 4th Floor, for materials on Chichén Itzá and the Maya

  • F1219.1 through. F1219.8 in Davis, 4th Floor, for materials on the Toltec and Tula

Library of Congress Subject Headings

The following subject headings can be useful to conduct additional research, when searching by subject in an on-line catalog, or in a card catalog.  The subject headings are listed in order of relevance, with the most relevant subject headings listed first:
    Most relevant:  
    • Chichén Itzá Site (Mexico)
    • Chichén Itzá Site (Mexico) -- Exhibitions

    Highly relevant:
    • Mayas Antiquities

    Somewhat relevant:

    • Yucatan (Mexico : State) Antiquities
    • Maya Art
    • Indians of Mexico --  Mexico Yucatan (State) Antiquities    Exhibitions
    • Extinct Cities -- Mexico



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