3653 - The Standard Plan

Annick Daneels minted the term “Standard Plan” for a recurrent center arrangement in south-central Veracruz. This apt term conveys the widely repeated layout of particular structures that can be found at major and minor centers during the Classic Period. A closely related arrangement in southern Veracruz is often termed the Long-plaza Plan; the same basic arrangement as the Standard Plan recurs, except with a greatly elongated plaza, and often with a chain of plazas of diminishing sizes. The Standard Plan was defined by Daneels as including a conical mound at one end, with one or two flanking elongated mounds. Opposite the conical mound is a ballcourt. A rectangular monumental platform is nearby in her original definition. Among mapped centers in the western lower Papaloapan basin, I have recorded some variants of the Standard Plan, which are readily recognizable because of the highly repetitive quality of the Standard Plan. This paper first explores the characteristics of the Standard Plan to describe variation systematically, including the contexts of variants, their relationships to the settlement hierarchy, and to change over time. Because the Standard Plan affects center layouts over an extensive area that encompasses independent polities, its meaning and implications warrant exploration. I consider other regions in Mesoamerica and the degree of conformity among centers to particular layouts to assess whether the south-central and southern Gulf lowlands are unusual in this architectural phenomenon. Among other issues, this architectural phenomenon raises questions about centralization and decentralization, emulation, and the roles of different social constituencies, such as royals, nobles, commoners, moieties, and communities.

Keywords: Patrón de asentamiento, arquitectura, Mesoamerica, Veracruz

Author: Stark, Barbara (Arizona State University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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