Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



The lowlands of the vast Yucatan Peninsula, where ancient Maya civilizations flourished for 2000 years until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century, are conventionally divided into the wet tropical Southern Lowlands of Guatemala and Belize and the dry tropical Northern Lowlands in Mexico. The apparent peak of Maya civilization, or at least of archaeologists' attention to it, is in the Southern Lowlands in the centuries before its collapse around A.D. 900 (the Classic Period), with thereafter the finest remains occurring in the Northern Lowlands, especially in the Puuc (i.e. hilly) region in the northwest corner of the peninsula. Our attention has been brought to this Puuc region in part because its florescence spans the critical A.D. 800-1000 period during which great, if not cataclysmic, changes occurred in the course and locales of Maya civilization and its people. This region should, therefore, offer a most constructive contrast to the chaos of other contemporaneous and, so far, better studied regions. Furthermore, study of the dwelling places of the people should provide evidence not only for just how many they were and how they lived through those tumultuous times, but also for their trade with and possible origins from other regions, and even, perhaps, evidence that they had a significant role in the changes occurring there.


Latin American and Iberian Institute

Language (ISO)



Settlement, Community, Mexico, Maya, Yucatan, Tourism