4. Architecture
Home Up Acknowledgements Background 1. Introduction 2. Locale; Exploration 3. Field Methods 4. Architecture 5. Ceramics 6. Sacbes, Sea Access 7. Culture History Appendix 1 - Lot Registry Appendix 2 References

Architectural Styles
Masonry Structures
Settlement Pattern
Nearby Sites


Overview of the Site

            The Muyil site is dominated by three major natural elements: a large freshwater lagoon to the east, the abrupt edge of the 8-m-high karstic shelf, and a large natural depression 2 m deep, whose well-defined edge provides access to sascab and caves (3). The edge of the karstic shelf and the Muyil lagoon provide a natural eastern boundary to the site. With the exception of Sacbes 5 and 6 and Structures 11H-1 and 12H-1 associated with them, there is no architecture to the east of the edge of the limestone shelf, i.e., in the mangrove swamp and seasonally flooded grasslands by the lagoon.

            The natural depression, a limestone collapse of the karstic shelf itself, provided the Muyil settlement with a natural focal point. All major architecture is near this depression. This particularly includes the Castillo (Structure 8I-13) at the southeast edge, Temple 8 (Structure 9K-1) at the northeast edge, and the Great Platform (Structure 8I-2) flanking most of the western edge of the depression. The only other major architectural group at Muyil, the Entrance Plaza Group, is located only 100 m from the Great Platform and 150 m from the southwest edge of the depression. Ceramic evidence shows that Muyil was first settled near this depression, and that it was the focus of the site in all periods thereafter. In this respect, Muyil is similar to many other sites for which terrain and water provided a central locus. In the area around Muyil we can cite: Coba near a complex of freshwater lakes; Tulum at a natural harbor and high promontory; Xelha at a natural harbor and large cenote; and Xcaret likewise.

            At Muyil large complex residential platforms are located adjacent to the Temple 8 area, near the Great Platform (which was itself in large part residential), and south of the Entrance Plaza Group. No major residential architecture is located adjacent to the Castillo. Smaller platforms fill in at the edge of the site center and extend outward, gradually becoming less numerous beyond a radius of 300-400 m. Most of the architecture is found in an area smaller than 50 ha ( km2).


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