Posted by: Johan Normark | January 13, 2010

The wall surrounding the Great Leveling at Chichen Itza

Yesterday, Diario de Yucatán reported on INAH and UADY’s (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán) investigation of the wall that surround the central part of Chichen Itza. The low wall is believed to be one of the last major constructions at the site (around AD 900). It surrounds a six-hectare large area that includes major buildings in an area called the Great Leveling that includes El Castillo, Temple of the Warriors and the Great Ball Court. The wall is 0.60 m to 0.70 m wide, 1.50 to 2 m high, and 2060 m long. To enclose the perimeter outlined by this wall, it was reinforced from the outside with an aggregate, 1.15 m wide. It is probable that the height of the wall was increased with the help of some palisade, to a height of 3 m.

The third season will begin in March and will focus on the relation between the wall and the Great Ball Court in the northwest portion of the Great Leveling. The wall is not continuous since there are depressions like rejolladas that also serve as boundaries. The wall was also partially dismantled to make way for the construction of the ballcourt around AD 1000.

The wall has three construction phases distinguished by its architecture. The wall appears not only to have been a defensive structure in its original layout but was used to restrict the access to the core of the site. The phases cover a range of 100 years is probably due to a major political change or ritual, as the ascendance of a new ruler. There are also later amendments that took place at the end of the 10th century or during the early 11th century. These also come in three phases. In the second phase some entrances and stairways in relation to the causeways at the site were added and possible defensive structures were added. This is a rougher construction technique. In the last phase bas-reliefs of random distribution are found in the outer wall. It indicates the dismantling of other buildings to reinforce the wall.

The last phases indicate that at a certain time the residents of Chichen Itza faced the need to block their accesses with defensive constructions, mainly in the more vulnerable areas, in this case, those places with an easy access to the central area. Chichen Itza has no wall for the protection of the entire city, but instead, it has independent large walls that protect each particular civic and religious group, as well as the residential ones according to Pérez Ruiz.

Map of Chichen Itza




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