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Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya$
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Brett A. Houk, Barbara Arroyo, and Terry G. Powis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066226

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066226.001.0001

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Monumental Landscapes of the Maya

Monumental Landscapes of the Maya

Cogitating on a Past Built Environment

(p.335) 16 Monumental Landscapes of the Maya
Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya

Arlen F. Chase

Diane Z. Chase

University Press of Florida

In chapter 16, Arlen Chase and Diane Chase reflect on the topic of monumental landscapes of the ancient Maya. They consider the myriad ways in which the word “monumental” is aptly applied to describe the landscapes of the Maya world. Although the obvious towering temples and palaces of the Classic cities first and foremost come to mind when thinking of monumentality among the ancient Maya, Chase and Chase remind us that much of the monumental character of ancient Maya landscapes is represented by the horizontal transformation of the built environment. Beyond that, other landscape features represent visible reminders that the Maya heavily altered the natural environment to a remarkable degree. Importantly, the authors also remind us that through their worldview, the ancient Maya considered their landscape to be monumental and complex, involving layered worlds with earthly transition points between realms represented by caves and lakes and manmade, symbolic access points represented by temple doorways, the opening into an allegorical mountain or witz. The concluding chapter provides a big-picture, deep-time view of the Maya world, which reaffirms the approaches and conclusions of the individual case studies in this volume—monumentality pervades ancient Maya landscapes, physically, conceptually, and symbolically.

Keywords:   Maya, Monumentality, Classic cities, Witz

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