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Village “Housing” – The Mayan Civilization

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There were single-family houses where parents and children lived, and they would adopt older or younger members of the family or even those outside of it (example: Tulum). There were also multi-family buildings inhabited by people with common blood ties and high social status (example: residential complexes in Kohunlich).

The materials used for houses varied, from walls and roofs made of wood and palm to more durable materials like stone and stucco. The houses could consist of three main separate structures (bedrooms, kitchen, storage) and additional separate structures could be built (workshops, bathrooms, saunas) (example: Joya de Cerén).

People slept on low platforms attached to the walls where they placed cotton-filled mattresses (hammocks were an adaptation of fishing nets, invented by the indigenous Caribs of Haiti and brought to Yucatán with the arrival of the Spanish). They also slept on mats on the ground. These types of rooms had little ventilation and light because they lacked windows.

The rooms were used for sleeping and storing belongings; the occupants worked outside and had gardens for family consumption. Common people lived in palapas around the cities, using renewable materials such as chiit palm (for roofs), wood, wattle, and stucco (for walls). In the center of the city, the priests and nobility lived in castles, pyramids, and ceremonial temples.

Return to the main article The Maya Civilization