“unos a otros se ayuden”: Colonial Encounters with Maya Houses and Housebuilding
At the end of the sixteenth century, King Philip II of Spain distributed a detailed questionnaire to his territories in New Spain and the Spanish Indies. Number thirty-one on this list of questions, the responses to which became the Relaciones Geográ cas, asks respondents to describe the form of the local houses and the materials used to construct them. Partially preserved by these documents and others, then, is a rich landscape of Maya housebuilding practice in the first centuries post contact. This paper will explore the documentation of houses and housebuilding in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century New Spain, and how these documents amplify current understanding of Maya housebuilding practice both in the colo- nial period and in the pre-Columbian past.
Alyce de Carteret, Brown University, J. M. Stuart Fellow.