Monday, August 13, 2012

Río Bec Architecture

Río Bec is a term used to describe one of the approximately five different kinds of ancient Maya architecture. A style that combines styles of the northern and the central lowlands, the Río Bec style is named after a site located in Quintana Roo, a Mexican state in the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula. For those in search of Río Bec style sites, a few examples include Becan, Chicanná, Hormiguero, Xpuhil and of course the site of Río Bec.

Río Bec architecture developed in the Late Classic period (about 600 AD to 900 AD), and was influenced by the El Petén style of architecture. It is related to the Puuc style -- which came after Río Bec -- and Chenes style -- which also predates the Puuc style.

One of the most distinctive features of Río Bec style buildings are its false towers. These false towers -- or very steep sided pyramids, filled with rubble. On top of these towers are "temples" -- also full of rocks -- that have false doors for entrances. Leading up to the false doors are steps too steep to be used. Decoration-wise, the Río Bec false towers' foundations have mosaics, and the tower-top temples have Chenes style facades and monster masks.

"Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World"; Lynn V. Foster; 2005

Southwest Missouri State University: Maya Architectural Styles

"The Ancient Maya"; Robert J. Sharer, Loa P. Traxler; 2005

"Mesoamerica's Ancient Cities: Aerial Views of Pre-Columbian Ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras"; William M. Ferguson, Richard E. W. Adams; 2001

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