Masonry and Construction

Preclassic Constructions

Preclassic constructions include both rubble and cut stone masonry. Our work has not only encountered Preclassic walls, but also the quarries from which the builders obtained their stone and lime.

In the above figure, one can observe a Late Preclassic expansion built adjacent to a transitional period (late Middle Preclassic period to early Late Preclassic period) construction. The Late Preclassic wall is in the foreground and the transitional wall is immediately behind it. Both walls include cut stone blocks, but the courses of the transitional period wall are better dressed.


Preclassic period lime plaster was largely composed of fired limestone. The quality of plaster in Peten varies significantly through time and space.

Some late Middle Preclassic constructions included thin layers of plaster spread immediately upon soil or a soil/rubble combination. The surfaces could be either “floors” or “walls” and transition zones between the two tended to be curved. While similar thin floors are seen in the Postclassic, Postclassic plaster surfaces were generally not as durable.


The above image depicts the complexity of late Middle Preclassic constructions.  It captures an excavation after the removal of a series of constructions that involved construction, demolition, and renovation events resulting in complex micro-stratigraphy (both vertical and horizontal).  Click the photo for more detail.

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