Dissertation and all web site contents copyright 2008 Bradley W. Russell
Urban Life in Peripheral Mayapan
The settlement pattern documented along the rural-urban fringe of Mayapán tells us a great deal about
the way of life practiced in this previously unstudied portion of the site and how it integrated with the
broader community. As predicted, this zone had a very heterogeneous mix of land uses. Beyond the
residential zones and directional shrines discussed above, varied land use provided a mix of economic
resources to the urban population. This area is home to farm land, grazing land and pens for
domesticated animals, honey production, and lime plaster production, each largely, if not completely,
segregated from other activities. The strict segregation and the apparent scale of these productive
activities suggest that they were meant to provide for more than just individual family units. These appear
to be larger, more organized pursuits that probably produced goods that were distributed through the site’
s centrally located markets.
The northeast sector of the final city was occupied earlier by a possibly ethnically distinct group. Some
evidence was also found for ethnic or lineage based control of Gate G in the northeast portion of the site.
Rather than the outer periphery of the site being home to exclusively the city’s poorest residents, as might
be predicted by concentric zonation models or urban form, there was evidence for a mix of economic
statuses among the inhabitants. In several cases, we found very affluent commoner families living on
the periphery, probably so that they could coordinate and profit from the production going on in this outer
zone. Indications of an elite presence outside of the wall come from the newly documented 18O-1
colonnaded hall group. It seems likely that the elites running administrative activities at this group lived
inside the city wall, perhaps at nearby Itzmal Ch’en. However, additional research may yet turn up
evidence of elite residence(s) associated with the group.
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