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Architecture and Burials in the Maya and Aztec

Plundering and carnage were the overlying results of the Spanish conquest of MesoAmerica beginning in 1519.The ensuing years brought many new “visitors,” mostly laymen or officials in search of wealth, though the Christianity toting priest was ever present.Occasionally a man from any of these classes, though mainly priests would be so in awe of the civilization they were single handedly massacring that they began to observe and document things such as everyday life, religious rituals, economic goings on, and architecture, which was the biggest achievement in the eyes of the Spaniards.That is how the accounts of Friar Diego de Landa, a priest, were created, giving us rarefirst per-son historical accounts of the conquest and the people it effected.
To archaeologists monumental architecture is more important than an inscribed stelae listing names and dates.There is so much more to learn from a building than a slab of stone usually seething with propaganda.In most societies they are what remains after conquest, usually for their beauty or ability to withstand the elements.Landa was amazed by what he found.”There are in Yucatan many edifices of great beauty, this be-ing the most outstanding of all things discovered in the Indies; they are all build of stone finely ornamented…” (Landa, 8).If it were a commoners domestic dwelling we would learn through the study of remaining artifacts and middens what objects were used on a daily basis and also the standard of living, helping us to construct an accurate view of the long neglected commoner.According to Landa steepled roofs covered with thatch or palm leaves protected the habitat from rain.Homes were often divided into two sections, a living section, customarily whitewashed, and a domestic area where food was prepared and inhabitants slept (Landa, 32).In Aztec societies commoners often lived in calpolli, a residential area segregated by occupation, usually surrounde…

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