Reuse of the Past: A Case Study from the Ancient Maya

Article

Diane Davies, last updated: 19th November 2014

The ruins of ancient settlements are dramatic and dominant features of the landscape today, and abandoned architecture and monuments were also significant features of the landscape in the ancient past. How did people interact with remnants of architecture and monuments built during earlier times?

What meaningful information about the economic, social, political and ritual organisation of the society can be gleaned by investigating the reuse of buildings, monuments, tombs and artefacts? The practicality of reuse is interesting in itself, giving information concerning the considerations that were involved in constructing buildings, such as energy invested, the type of building materials used and the engineering efforts in remodelling earlier structures. Structure reuse also invokes a sense of identity and community and may give insight into the ancients' perspectives of their past...

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