Excavating the House: Residential Architecture in the Maya Area

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This session adds to the growing body of work on ancient Maya residential structures from the Preclassic through the Postclassic period. The archaeological analysis of Maya residences (including their refuse, offerings, architecture, and location) whether elite or commoner, is fundamental to understanding the basic structure of Maya societies. From houses we can learn about the sociopolitical and socioeconomic strategies of individual communities, and possibly even individuals, through documenting evidence of settlement structure, general consumption, trade, and ritual. In addition, the analysis of residential complexes is requisite to understanding the daily life of their users, and the manner in which they organized the surrounding landscape and exploited their environment. Defining differences between households within one polity at one place in time, or over periods of time can provide crucial information on what supported the success of a given polity or contributed to its failure.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

  • Between House and Site: Considering Intermediate Units in Classic Maya Lowlands Settlements (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eva Lemonnier. Céline C. Lamb. Daniel Vallejo-Caliz. Shannon Plank.

    Traditionally, settlement archeology of the Classic Maya Lowlands recognizes several intermediate residential units between the house and the site. For over 50 years, the concept of neighborhood has been mentioned occasionally, but conclusive case studies are still rare. Yet the concept raises the important issue of the internal social structures of communities and their relationships. After briefly describing the methods that have helped identify intermediate units in the recently studied sites...

  • Building a Community: Late Classic and Postclassic Residential Structures at Rio Amarillo, Copan, Honduras (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Walter Burgos. Cameron McNeil. Edy Barrios.

    Rio Amarillo, an ancient town, rests 20 km east of the great Maya city of Copan in Honduras. In the last four years residences from the Late Classic and Postclassic period have been excavated at the site. Investigations of the residential buildings from Río Amarillo have allowed us to better understand the influences and allegiances of the inhabitants of this community resting on the margins of the Maya world. The architecture of the structures reflects ties to both Copan and to areas in the...

  • Censer fragmentation and life history: rural domestic settlement enchainment and accumulation activities and the Classic-Postclassic transition of the Petén Lakes region, Guatemala. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Schwarz.

    Fragmentation theory is premised on the notion that actors purposefully broke valued goods, deposited fragments of them in meaningful places, and enchained other social beings in relationships with gifts and exchange of them. They also accumulated whole objects in caches. This presentation examines the fragmentation premise for censers and non-slipped utilitarian ceramics in and around architectural spaces at the Quexil Islands, Guatemala. The site is a Terminal Classic-Late Postclassic Maya...

  • Classic Maya Housholds in Northern Peten, Guatemala: An Overview (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carlos Morales-Aguilar.

    The Northern Peten is composed by a complex network of monumental sites that proliferated in the Preclassic during a time period that witnessed the maximal centralization of power in the area. Afterward, during the Classic period, this region experimented a cultural shift and a reoccupation forming a different political panorama. However, little is still known about the Classic Maya settlements of Northern Peten especially about their households. Recent archaeological investigations at Naachtun...

  • Elite residences of the K'iche at Q'umarkaj, El Quiche’, Guatemala (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Raquel Macario.

    When one visits the archaeological site of Q'umarkaj, they enter through a large open space covered by numerous platforms of different shapes from 1 to 2 m high. Closer to the Main Plaza are larger mounds, some over 40 m in length. At the edges of the plateau, beyond the cliffs that surround and limit access to the site, one is able to see three settlements, also on promontories, a few hundred meters from Q'umarkaj: to the north the site Mukwits Pa 'Ilokab-Chisalin, to the south Pa'Ismachi,...

  • Entorno a la sal y el agua: Los conjuntos residenciales en el sitio Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, Guatemala (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Walter Burgos. Brent Woodfill.

    Salinas de los Nueve Cerros was a large Prehispanic center located at the edge of the Maya lowlands. It was founded atop the only non-coastal salt source in the lowlands and because of this was one of the most important cities during the Classic period. The site covered an area of over 30 km2 with an occupation that spanned the Middle Preclassic (ca. 800 BC) through the Postclassic (ca. AD 1200). Previous archaeological projects focused on salt production in the site core, while the present...

  • Entre ollas y metates: exploraciones en la cocina real de Kabah, Yucatán (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lourdes Toscano. Gustavo Novelo Rincón.

    Una de las partes más importantes dentro del espacio residencial, ya sea que se trate de la gente común o de la elite, es sin duda alguna el área donde se preparan los alimentos (K’óoben). En este trabajo hablaremos sobre la cocina encontrada en el Grupo Este de Kabah, el cual interpretamos como el complejo palaciego donde residió la familia gobernante al menos durante el Clásico Tardío-Terminal. Un análisis de las características del espacio construido, así como la presencia de 30 metates y...

  • La vida alrededor del Río Holmul: Patrón de Asentamiento de Cival y la Región de Holmul (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Antolin Velasquez Lopez.

    La investigaciones sobre el patrón de asentamiento en la región arqueológica de Holmul, analiza el relieve terrestre y los cambios en el paisaje observados en el registro arqueológico, a través de la comparación de los emplazamientos, de los distintos tipos de grupos arquitectónicos y la relación entre sus distintos componentes naturales y culturales. La topografía de la región es de naturaleza caliza con abundancia de fenómenos kársticos, localizada en un amplio terreno de bajos rodeada por...

  • ‘The pivotal house: individual, community, and environment context at Cancuen, Verapaz, Guatemala’ (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marc Wolf.

    An obvious foundation of archaeology is that of the often mundane-seeming house. Insights into any culture are most recognizable at the intimate house level. Simultaneously, this focused view is simply a snapshot into the multi-scalar chain that links the individual with an activity, an activity with a house, the house as an integral component of an architectural compound, etc., etc. These linkages continue into the neighborhood, community, regional and global scales. Other concepts become...

  • Quien ocupo mi casa? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jose Huchim.

    ¿QUIEN OCUPÓ MI CASA? Arqlgos José Huchim H. Lourdes Toscano H. Gustavo Novelo R. Centro INAH Yucatán Durante 1998 en Uxmal, ciudad localizada en el Puuc yucateco, se inició el estudio de estructuras de carácter doméstico que fueron construidas en los principales espacios abiertos del asentamiento, patios, plazas y explanadas, obstaculizando sus funciones originales. Además el patrón de organización del espacio interno difería grandemente de los observados en los períodos anteriores. Como...

  • Residential Architecture at Caracol, Belize: Conjoined Buildings and Distributed Space (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adrian Chase. Arlen Chase. Diane Chase.

    During the Classic Period (A.D. 550-900), the ancient Maya inhabitants of Caracol resided in formally constructed residential groups comprised of a series of buildings. These residential groups are believed to have been occupied by extended families. Some of the structures constituted formal residences, but other structures served a variety of functions, ranging from cooking to storage. Additionally, over two-thirds of Caracol’s residential groups had at least one eastern building that was...

  • Understanding Residential Space through Soil Chemistry in the Northern Maya Lowlands (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jacob Welch. Barry Kidder. Céline Lamb. Shannon Plank. David Medina-Arona.

    Soil chemistry in the Northern Maya Lowlands has been an effective method at a variety of sites and in a range of contexts such as households, ballcourts, causeways, and ceremonial plazas. Recent chemical analyses of the Ucí-Cansahcab Regional integration Project (UCRIP) also revealed that the soils of the Yucatán, México, are testable using the in-field Olsen bicarbonate method to measure levels of extractable inorganic phosphate. When supplemented with distributional analyses of artifacts on...