The Daily Experience of Space in Teotihuacan

Author(s): Matthew Robb

Year: 2017


This paper will explore the daily experience of space in one of ancient Mesoamerica’s quintessential urban environments, Teotihuacan. We often understand places like Teotihuacan through a consideration of its monumental structures and their relationship to the natural landscape, and emphasize the impact of specific burial events on social memory. Classic examples like the Street of the Dead’s geomantic procession in the heart of the city plan, or the Ciudadela’s stage-set quality, seemingly designed for large-scale gatherings of people witnessing rituals performed by the city’s rulers, help define one of its most urban qualities - the synchronization of behavior and movement. The scale of such activities suggests they were reserved for special occasions. But how were these varieties of Teotihuacan’s spatial synchronization present on a regular, less singular basis? How did quotidian rituals of waking up and going about everyday life reflect or resist the dominant spatial practices of the city center? Informed by an binary understanding of its ceremonial spaces as carefully calibrated alternations between accessible and inaccessible; visible and invisible; inside and outside; above and below, I will argue that Teotihuacan’s numerous apartment compounds provided the small-scale experience that the city as a whole amplified and transformed.

Cite this Record

The Daily Experience of Space in Teotihuacan. Matthew Robb. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430912)



Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16091