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Mayan architecture

mayan architecture

There has been considerable discussion devoted to the question of the alignment of Mesoamerican sites. In general the focus has been upon the relationship of architectural features to celestial phenomena which were important for calendrical reasons, probably related to agriculture.

The Maya Architecture, as well as their Art. has been called the richest of the New World because of the great complexity of patterns and variety of media expressions. Limestone structures, faced with lime stucco, were the hallmark of ancient Maya architecture. Maya buildings were adorned with carved friezes and roof combs in stone and stucco. With large quantities of limestone and flint available, plaster and cement were easily produced. This allowed the Mayans to build impressive temples, with stepped pyramids. On the summits were thatched- roof temples, known as "Triadic Groups". During the Classic, the Pyramid contained one or two rooms with The Maya Arch and intricate Roof combs, specially in Tikal and Nakъm. They always build their cities and temples using Astronomy mostly on an East to West alignment, but there are some Early to Middle Pre Classic examples of a Pleiades alignment in the Pacific Lowlands at sites such as: Ujuxte. Monte Alto and Tak'alik Abaj. The Vault and Arch was used also in Tombs, such as those in Guaytбn. in the eastern Highlands and Tikal or Rнo Azul in the Petйn Lowlands. Polol's Preclassic Altar 1, and the absence of similar Cycle 7 monuments in sites nearby, has generated speculation in regard to the possibility of cyclical ritual destruction of monuments in the Maya area. Whether the monument mutilation and destruction was a cyclical ritual or not, other early Petйn monuments in the have been found buried in the rubble of structures at Tikal. Uaxactъn and El Mirador. What sets Altar 1 apart is that it was reset with a Late Classic dedicatory cache in the context of Late Classic monuments and structures.

All the Maya cities were carefully planned in an East to West orientation and with the major Temples forming a perfect isocceles triangle, as has been documented in the Preclassic Mirador Basin as well as the Classic cities like Tikal. Yaxhб. Nakum. etc. The Olmecs by the way oriented their cities

North to South.

The Classic pyramids at Tikal. in Guatemala are turned to face one another, and the rooms which are built at the top of the pyramid have depressions in the stone walls that serve as amplifiers of the voice which are broadcast in all directions. At the top of the pyramid the Ahaw acquired god-like qualities. The design of the Mayan architects is expressed in its fullness. Due to the stone resonators, the voice of a person at the top of one pyramid, speaking at a normal volume, can be heard by another person standing at the top of another pyramid some astonishing distance away. The finishing touches of Stucco gave the surface its full potential in the effect of reflecting and transmitting the sound waves.

An essential material was the Stucco (Luk' or Sas), that was prepared with an organic adhesive extracted from the cortex of a local tree named Holol, mixed with burned limestone, and Sascab, a natural occurring mineral that does not need to be burned, for mural paintings, this mixture was the inner layer and the outer layer had a finer cooked Limestone mix with Barita, also a natural mineral that is finer that the sascab. This mixture provided a long durability to the decorations and paintings. as has been found in San Bartolo. an important finding, that support the recent discoveries in the Mirador Basin. that the Pre Classic Maya had fully developed the Maya Culture. a millennium earlier than previously thought. Previously, this technique was thought to be developed in the Classic. The abundant use of this Stucco has been linked with the Maya Collapse. both during the Pre Classic and Classic, because you will need some 20 big trees in order to cook the limestone to obtain 1 square meter of stucco, furthermore, there is evidence that the stucco layer become thinner in the Late Pre Classic and Late Classic. Uaxactъn was the first site excavated in the Southern Maya Lowlands. Work there was instrumental in revealing the richness of Maya sites and establishing the basic chronological framework for the region. The Carnegie Institution of Washington project of mapping and excavation at Uaxactъn from 1926 to 1937 revealed

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