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


            The settlement pattern at Muyil seems clear, notwithstanding our inability to examine all of the radial transects we had planned. The center of the site is the karstic depression. Taking as a center point (X=400,Y=500), which is in the center of the depression, we measured the percent of usable land (not already destroyed by quarrying or highway construction) occupied by structures. Measurements are taken from within rings drawn at 50-m intervals.

  Table II Percent of land used versus distance from site center

       Ring      Inside       Outside       Available         Platforms   Occupation

               Radius(m)   Radius(m)      land (m2)         area (m2)        Percent


            1               0               50          7,854                     0  (depression)

            2             50             100        23,562              5,638                24%

            3           100             150        32,270              9,088                28%

            4           150             200        54,978              6,709                12%

            5           200             250      *56,548              6,064                11%

            6           250             300      *57,883              2,870                  5%

                          (* = less than 100% of the land in this ring was usable and undestroyed)

            Beyond a radius of 300 m, land occupied by structures quickly drops to zero in areas without field walls, and to about % (one platform per 2 ha) in areas with field walls. This is a picture of a tightly nucleated settlement occupying about 20 ha surrounding the karstic depression. (The depression has no structures within it.)

            Within this nucleus, there are several places where rectilinear organization is evident (such as on the Great Platform or west of the Temple 8 precinct) but overall, the impression is not one of formal rectangular arrangements. Instead, one remarks first at the cluster of ceremonial/civic architecture close to the karstic depression, then at the number of large (2,000 m2) platforms adjacent to Temple 8, then at the decline in the number and size of the house mounds as one moves outward from the site center. Finally, evidence of occupation disappears, or one enters zones of field walls, enclosing - to 2-ha plots and an occasional house mound.

            We were unable to determine what proportion of the area around the Muyil site center contained field walls. We do know that there are few to no walls immediately to the south of the site center. There is a small temple (Structure 5E-1) and altar at (X=0,Y=100), but in the milpas to the south of this point for 400-600 m we saw no field walls. To the west of the site, the west transect continued to encounter field walls and platforms at a distance of 1,250 m from the Castillo. Along the path to the North Group, some 1,500 m northward from the northern corner of the Muyil A zone (survey marker INAH-7), one encounters field walls occasionally. There is a small patch of them 600 m north, and they also surround the North Group. Proceeding north-northeastward from the site along the highway, one encounters an area of field walls on the east side of the road. At the Cenote Group (2 km north along the highway) are field walls which extend to the west of the Muyil B zone and to its east on the east side of the highway. We were unable to map the full extent of these wall systems, but they do not occupy (subdivide) 100% of the terrain between Muyil A and either the North Group or the Cenote Group.


Copyright 2000-2008 Walter R. T. Witschey   Page last updated Thursday, April 03, 2008