Did the Maya build architectural cosmograms?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


I criticize recent applications of the "cosmogram" concept to ancient Maya architecture and cities. Although cosmograms - graphic representations of aspects of the cosmos - are known from Late Postclassic and early colonial Aztec and Maya sources, there is no textual suggestion that buildings or cities were viewed as cosmograms. Numerous authors, however, assert confidently that architectural cosmograms abounded in Classic Maya cities. I examine known cosmograms, describe recent studies of architectural cosmograms, and discuss problems that occur when highly speculative interpretations are phrased as confident empirical findings. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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