The two volumes of Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya provide current archaeological perspectives on Maya courts conceived as vital, functioning social groups composed of lords, courtiers, scribes, priests, and entertainers, among many others. In addition to archaeological data on the architecture and other spatial attributes of courts, the studies in the two volumes bring to bear on the topic the most recent evidence from inscriptions, vase paintings, murals and friezes, and ethnohistoric records in order to flesh out a portrait of the actors and roles that made up Maya courts through time and across space. The attributes of courts are explored in the Maya highlands and lowlands, from the origins of early kingship through the Classic period to the Postclassic and Terminal epochs. Pertinent comparisons are also drawn from the Aztecs and other ancient and contemporary societies. Volume 1: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis establishes a carefully considered framework for approaching the study of courts and their functions throughout the world of the ancient Maya. Volume 2: Data and Case Studies provides authoritatively current data and insights from key Maya sites, including Copán, Tikal, Caracol, Bonampak, and Calakmul.