Maya "palaces" have intrigued students of this ancient Mesoamerican culture since the early twentieth century, when scholars first applied the term "palace" to multi-room, gallery-like buildings set on low platforms in the centers of Maya cities. Who lived in these palaces? What types of ceremonial and residential activities took place there? How do the physical forms and spatial arrangement of the buildings embody Maya concepts of social organization and cosmology?
This book brings together state-of-the-art data and analysis regarding the occupants, ritual and residential uses, and social and cosmological meanings of Maya palaces and elite residences. A multidisciplinary team of senior researchers reports on sites in Belize (Blue Creek), Western Honduras (Copan), the Peten (Tikal, Dos Pilas, Aguateca), and the Yucatan (Uxmal, Chichen-Itza, Dzibilchaltun, Yaxuna). Archaeologist contributors discuss the form of palace buildings and associated artifacts, their location within the city, and how some palaces related to landscape features. Their approach is complemented by art historical analyses of architectural sculpture, epigraphy, and ethnography. Jessica Joyce Christie concludes the volume by identifying patterns and commonalties that apply not only to the cited examples, but also to Maya architecture in general.