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Spatial Arrangements at Chichen Itza

Author(s): Kaylee Spencer ; Maline Werness-Rude

Year: 2016

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Site mapping has been a mainstay in the study of archaeological cultures. Following upon the heels of mapping efforts, which have grown increasingly precise as our own technology develops, scholars have studied site, building, and monument orientations to great effect. In the Maya region such investigations have shown how the Maya positioned themselves relative to the cardinal and inter-cardinal directions, natural aspects of the landscape, and/or other parts of the built environment at inter- and intra-site levels. We will build upon such work in looking at Chichen Itza in relation to some of its neighbors. In doing so, we will concentrate on specific plaza and building arrangements that at first glance seem to have skewed orientations or to not be positioned relative to any surrounding areas or constructs. Upon further analysis, however, many of these spaces begin to slowly snap into place. It is only through experiential analysis as well as approaches grounded in behavioral archaeology, combined with an overarching understanding of regional aspects of site layout, that such careful placing is revealed, demonstrating the hitherto under-recognized degree to which the northern builders and master planners created nuanced signals that directed viewers through the charged socio-political spaces they created.

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Spatial Arrangements at Chichen Itza. Kaylee Spencer, Maline Werness-Rude. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405365)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America