Architectural Styles
Home Up Architectural Styles Masonry Structures Settlement Pattern Nearby Sites


Architectural Styles

            In "An Architectural Seriation of the Prehispanic Structures at Muyil, QR, Mexico" (Witschey 1989), I reviewed in detail the variety of architectural styles at Muyil. That stylistic evaluation of the site may now be supplemented and amended by the information from ceramic analysis at Muyil and survey data from the 1990 field season. To briefly review, I categorized the following as distinctive architectural traits present at Muyil, and, in most cases, elsewhere) and used them to construct a seriation of architectural styles:

            (1) Tall pyramids with vertical terrace facings and thin square cornices at the verge of each terrace (Structures 7H1, 7H-4, 7H-5, 7H-6, and 8I-13, the Castillo). Similar structures are found at Tancah and at Chamax, on the coast south of Boca Paila.

            (2) Fully collapsed pyramids with no visible vertical terrace facings or cornices (Structures 7H‑-8, 7I-4, 7I-5, 7I-8b, and 7J-7).

            (3) Vaulted masonry structures.

            (4) Round columns, usually in the entryway to a vaulted building.

            (5) Rectangular columns in the entryway of or as interior supports for a masonry structure.

            (6) Nesting of structures within each other.

            (7) Very low basal platforms to support masonry structures.

            (8) Thin flagstones in upright parallel rows to form wall lines or bases.

            (9) Horizontally laid stones to construct platforms of the same general low horizontal proportions (3:1 to 4:1 width to height).

            (10) The use of large vertical stone slabs to construct the facing walls of platforms or sacbes and to contain their rubble fill.

            (11) Sunken masonry-walled rooms with no masonry roof.

            (12) U-shaped masonry shrines at the base of and in front of larger structures.

            (13) Large platform mounds with a central transverse line of masonry rubble ("medial wall"), implying a long room, partially built of perishable materials, but with a rear wall or wall base of masonry.

            (14) Round masonry features (with or without possible astronomical significance).

            (15) Sacbes without facing walls, made of a single course of worked or unworked stones.

            (16) Elevated plastered plazas.

             The seriation model suggested that the earliest architecture at Muyil was associated with feature (2) above — the low collapsed pyramids. The model also suggested that the tall vertical-faced pyramids were more recent. This trait (1) above marked the second time period in the model, which also included Structure 7I-3. Only four structures were placed in the third time period: Structure 8I-13b, 9K-1, 9K-15, and the temple at Vigía del Lago. Other structures at Muyil either could not be classified, or were placed in the most recent time period, which probably equates to the Late Postclassic. The last time period includes the well-preserved Structure 7H-3 (Temple 6) in the Entrance Plaza. This classification can now be revised and elaborated with ceramic data from test pits near many of the structures.


© Copyright 2000-2005 Walter R. T. Witschey   Page last updated Wednesday, April 02, 2008