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Estudios de cultura maya

versión impresa ISSN 0185-2574


MARKEN, Damien B.; RICKER, Matthew; RIVAS, Alexander  y  MAXSON, Erika. Low-Density Urbanism on the Maya Lowlands: The Case of El Perú-Waka’, Petén, Guatemala. Estud. cult. maya [online]. 2019, vol.54, pp.11-42. ISSN 0185-2574.

As a key example of indigenous New World urbanism, Classic Maya cities are subjects of great anthropological importance. Despite their comparative significance, for much of the twentieth century Classic Maya centers (ca. 250-950 C.E.) have been viewed by many scholars as “non-cities,” the capitals of complex polities, but lacking the residential density characteristic of fully urban places. Fletcher has proposed that Maya urbanism belongs within a new comparative urban type which he calls “low-density, agrarian-based urbanism.” Like all typological categories, “low-density urbanism” is not without its faults, however. This article presents over ten years of settlement and landscape research at the Classic Maya city of El Perú-Waka’, Guatemala to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Fletcher’s low-density urbanism model as applied to the Maya area. Data from Waka’ suggest that while Fletcher’s overall model is widely applicable to the Maya lowlands, several common assumptions about Maya cities require reexamination.

Palabras llave : archaeology; ancient urbanism; Classic Maya; settlement patterns; water management.

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