Key Research Findings
Importance of this research
Research conducted by the Mayapan Periphery Project has greatly increased our understanding of this
important Postclassic political center. By stepping outside of the city wall and recording this unstudied
area, we were able to correct several long held but incorrect beliefs about fundamental size,
demographics and make up of the city. It is my sincere belief that this research, that being conducted by
the Economic Foundations of Mayapan Project and the extensive research going on under the direction of
Carlos Peraza Lope of INAH Centro Yucatan will lead to a major reappraisal of the complexity of the
Postclassic period. This time period has been greatly overlooked by researchers with the impression that
the Postclassic simply represented the degenerated remnants of once great Classic Period society. This
view is steadily giving way to a understanding that the Postclassic was a very complex period marked by a
shift away from numerous competing city-states to booming markets and complex long distance trade
networks, centered at a large and metropolitan capital. Political power was shared between elites from a
wide variety of previously independent polities from the bulk of the Yucatan. The contrasts seen between
this new data and patterns documented for major Classic period sites provide significant clues to how
these major changes in society are reflected archaeologically.
Key research findings from this project include:
- New population estimate of 17,000 residents representing a 43% increase in that number over the
12,000 first reported by the Carnegie project (A.L. Smith 1962).
- Expanded site size estimates of between 8.8 and 10.1 sq km show the site to be more than twice
as large as the previous estimates of 4.2 sq km (A.L. Smith 1962).
- First colonnaded hall group document outside of the city walls which seems to have served as a
customs control point for Gate G, a large gate in the northeast corner of the wall.
- Agricultural field production zone identified to the east of the walled site.
- Livestock production zone located to the north of the walled portion of the site.
- Seven large scale lime plaster production sites documented to the west of the main site.
- Directional ritual shrines located in three of the four cardinal directions
Dissertation and all web site contents copyright 2008 Bradley W. Russell