Expert opinion
A Glance at Everyday Life
Architecture is a valuable source of information for archeologists. A favored research topic is the everyday life of the ancient city dwellers, and how they used the spaces which are so different from those we inhabit in the present day. In this regard, research into the East Group has focused on discovering the various activities which were carried out there, starting from the assumption that around the year 750 this group was the dwelling place of the governing elite and therefore, in addition to religious and administrative functions, completely mundane tasks would also have been carried out there, such as food preparation, eating and sleeping. This begs a question about the types of evidence that might be needed to determine the use of such spaces. In the Kabah project we proposed that function might be reflected in three types of evidence: firstly architecture, or to use a broader term, the built environment; secondly there is the study of the messages conveyed contained in what we now class as the decoration of the buildings, or the absence of it; and finally, evidence from the remains associated with these spaces, such as the pottery, utensils such as knives, the tips of projectiles, axes and other manufactured belongings, whether from stone, shell or other materials.

By studying these aspects of the East Group we managed to find the area where food was prepared for the governing family of Kabah. We found the place where maize flour was prepared for atole, tamales, pozole and other dishes—though not including tortillas, as these arrived in the Yucatan together with people from central Mexico. We also discovered the site where animals were skinned and perhaps precooked, the space for storing food and cooking utensils, the areas where instruments were sharpened and a possible area for waste. The investigation of the Kabah royal kitchen was enriched by the study of various chemical components which impregnated the soil, and which once analyzed allow us to know where the fires were, the areas where the water from the maize flour drained away, or where blood or other types of organic material drained away.

This work has given us a glimpse of the complex world of palace life and has given rise to new challenges, such as calculating how many people worked there on a daily basis to satisfy the appetites of the royalty, or identifying favorite dishes, working out how the supplies were provided, and other similar questions which encourage us to delve deeper into this research effort.
INAH-Zona Arqueológica de Kabah/María de Lourdes Toscano
The Palace of the East Group
INAH-Zona Arqueológica de Kabah/María de Lourdes Toscano
Codz Pop, seen from the south-west corner
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
East Group
INAH-Zona Arqueológica de Kabah/María de Lourdes Toscano
Lateral view of the Chaak masks
INAH-Zona Arqueológica de Kabah/María de Lourdes Toscano
Palace and Teocalli


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