The Form and Function of Lineage: Council Houses in Epiclassic Mesoamerica

Author(s): Cynthia Kristan-Graham

Year: 2015


The council house (popol nah or nim ja in Maya languages) is found from North Mexico to southern Mesoamerica. With roots in Classic-period architecture and enduring until after the Conquest in some regions, the council house typically was located in central areas of civic-ceremonial centers and featured a rectangular colonnade and built-in benches. In situ glyphs and ethnohistory indicate that lineages used these buildings for ritual-administrative purposes, and perhaps also as dwellings. This paper analyzes the proliferation of the council house during the Epiclassic period and queries whether it can be considered diagnostic of Epiclassic architecture, and how its consistent form came to be spread over a wide geographic area.

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Cite this Record

The Form and Function of Lineage: Council Houses in Epiclassic Mesoamerica. Cynthia Kristan-Graham. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396136)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;