Of the ancient cultures that arose in Mexico long before the time of Columbus, the Maya is the most renowned. But in the last decade, scholars have become increasingly entranced by the people who once lived around the village of Remojadas near the modern seaport of Veracruz. In speaking of these people, archaeologists use the phrase "the smiling-face complex." for almost every clay figure that is unearthed adds to a growing gallery of grins, chuckles, chortles and belly laughs. A new book called More Human Than Divine, published in both Spanish and English by the National University of Mexico, tells in...

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