The Palenque Pool Project: An energetic analysis of monumental construction costs

Author(s): Elijah Hermitt; Kirk French

Year: 2017


The Palenque Pool Project began excavations of the largest pool of the Picota Group in the Classic Maya site of Palenque in 2014. This group is located one kilometer from the Palace on the western edge of the site. Although the function of the pool is still unknown, its placement adjacent to one of Palenque's two stelae and its similarity to modern Maya examples, suggests ceremonial use. Prior research shows that a laborer could transport 586 kg of limestone per five-hour person-day from the determined source quarry to the location of the pool. These rates can then be applied to the total volume of stone used to construct the pool to estimate the number of person-days each process would require. The goal of this project is to quantify the energetic rates of quarrying, stone manufacture, and assembly in an effort to build a comprehensive monumental construction cost analysis. While analyses of this type have been done at other Maya sites, this approach has never been applied to any structure at Palenque. Future research will seek to add an ethnographic energetic comparison of the modern Maya people of Chamula, who also utilize an analogous system of sacred pools.

Cite this Record

The Palenque Pool Project: An energetic analysis of monumental construction costs. Elijah Hermitt, Kirk French. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429633)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15402