Mayan Construction:  Building Materials


    The materials used for building Mayan structures were normally types of stone found in the area surrounding the city.  Most commonly used was limestone.  Limestone was plentiful in most of the Mayan settlements.  There were usually quarries right outside the city where they would get their blocks for construction.  They would chisel away the stone around the block that they wanted and then undercut it(Benson 38).  The stones that they pulled from the quarry would be refined by chipping and flaking to a flat surface(Benson 40).

    The Mayan people also used mortar on their construction projects.  They made the mortar by burning limestone in a very technical process.  They layered the limestone with wood and put a cylinder or pipe up the middle of the stack.  Next they burned the pile to make the mortar(Benson 38).  To the Mayans the outside appearance of their buildings was much more important than the inside.  The temples were decorated with roof combs  which sat at the top, outside edge along the front side of the temple(Stierlin 99).  The mortar was also used to finish the outside of buildings, coat floors, and make sculptures.  The mortar also helped keep everything in place(Benson 43).  Unfortunately, in more humid areas the stucco deteriorated quickly due to the dampness.



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