Ancient Maya Houses

At Cauinal and Pueblo Viejo Chixoy, el Quiche, Guatemala — II

By: Robert M. Hill, II

Originally Published in 1982

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The text of this article, with accompanying photographs, was published in the last issue of Expedition: Vol. 24, no. 2 (Winter 1982), pp. 40-48. Due entirely to editorial oversight the line illustrations were omitted, for which we offer sincere apologies to all readers and, particularly, to Dr. Hill himself.

Here, we present these line illustrations together with accompanying descriptive information in caption form. Please regard the following as an integral part of the article, therefore.

Bernard Wailes Editor, Expedition

1. Map of Guatemala showing the locations of Cauinal and Pueblo Viejo Chixoy, as well as other Late Post classic archaeological sites mentioned in the text.

2. Caninal site plan. As stated in the text, the site is divided into five major groups, each consisting of two precincts. The ceremonial precincts consist of a temple pyramid and altar shrine along with several multi-stairway long structures arranged around a plaza. Residential precincts shown as stippled areas) filled the level areas between and around the ceremonial plazas.

3. Pueblo Viejo Chixoy site plan. The site sits on a knoll some 200 m. above the confluence of the Chixay and Carchela rivers. The focus of the site is the small plaza formed by a small pyramid and four long structures which were never finished. Pueblo Viejo Chixoy may have been an outpost of Cauinal against the neighboring Pokom, Structure 14 at this site lies west of the plaza.

4. Cauinal Structure B-14, a typical Type I residence at Cauinal. Note both the “L” and straight benches, presumably used for sleeping. Stippling in the angle of the “L” bench represents remains of a burnt-earth hearth. Nearby are mono and metate remains (small and large “m” respectively). Scale 1:100.

5. Pueblo Viejo Chixoy Structure 14, an example of a Type I small residential structure. The platform consists of large dolomite cobbles. Remains of a bench were discovered on the right side, next to an area of burned earth [stippling) representing the remains of a hearth. Another, larger, hearth appeared on the left side of the structure along with broken mono (handatone) and metate (grindstone) fragments (small and large “m” respectively), and remains of a broken cooking vessel (dotted line), Other finds included obsidian blades, cores, and projectile points (xis, small circles, triangles, respectively). Also recovered was a bird-effigy whistle (represented by an “a”). The importance of this structure lies in its complement of well-preserved post molds (large dark areas at corners and near mid-wall on the long sides of the platform) which allow the reconstruction of the general pattern of roof support placement. Scale 1:100.

6. Cauinal Structure 5-9, a well-preserved Type II residential structure. Again, well defined “L” and straight benches are evident; patches of clay floor and bench covering were preserved. Remains of three pots were discovered on the floor [areas enclosed by dotted lines) along with an arrowhead [triangle). Outside, fragments of four different manos were found (“m”). Scale 1:100.

7. Cauinal Structure C-22, an example of Type III residences, notable for the remains of its original adobe walls. These have been reconstructed in the plan drawing for clarity. Note the step leading up to the platform and the large entrance flagstones or lajas. Also visible are the remains of the small altar connecting the two straight benches. The left-hand bench appears to have been faced with adobe. Scale 1:100.

8. Cauinal Structure 5-46 plan and section drawings. This is the only example of a Type 1V residence at the site. Walls made of lajas laid in mud mortar originally stood approximately one meter high and were surmounted by wattle-and-daub and a thatched roof. Pillars at the entrance are reconstructed by analogy to larger, ceremonial structures at Cauinal. Note the formal hearth and remains of broken pottery griddles (comaies, indicated by dotted line) adjacent to it. Also of note is the small, free-standing altar between the two “L” benches. A mono fragment was found on one of these benches, while another fragment and part of a metate were found outside the structure [small and large “M” respectively). Scale 1:100.

9. Cauinal Structure B-47, another unique example, this time of a Type V residence. This type is distinguished by its unusual masonry and by the long, narrow terrace spanning the front of the structure. Large areas of mud-plaster flooring were preserved, along with remains of a hearth in front of the straight bench. Evidence indicates the “L” bench was originally adobe faced. A number of obsidian blades (x) associated with a broken censer may indicate ritual blood-letting, but coal fragments (dotted line) and a piece of broken mono (m) confirm a domestic function as well. Scale 1:100.

10. Cauinal, Group B, Southeast Plaza unit. This is the only example of such a grouping of residential structures in Group B, though such arrangements were common in the Group A residential precinct. Such units are suggestive of extended family residence with a father and his married sons occupying the houses. Scale approximately 1:200.

Cite This Article

II, Robert M. Hill,. "Ancient Maya Houses." Expedition Magazine 24, no. 3 (March, 1982): -. Accessed February 29, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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