Outstanding Maya ruins are found all over Central
America. This particular image is the view from the East Court
of the Palace in Palenque, facing towards House A. The Maya built
the palace, a complex of many connected buildings, over a long
span of time. House A was one of the newer buildings, perhaps
built in the late 7th or early 8th century. In the foreground
of the image, indigenous people repose around and upon the ruins,
perhaps on a break from clearing or excavating the site.
The Palace gives evidence the Maya were accomplished architects.
For this building to exist the Maya needed to use complex and
innovative architectural strategies. Ingeniously, the Maya included
such elements as small niches in the vaults to lessen the weight
of the roof and an advanced drainage system to eliminate the weight
of excess water. The result is the fascinating building shown
in Catherwood's drawing. [Spanish