Twin city tales: a hermeneutical reassessment of Tula and by Lindsay Jones

By Lindsay Jones

Probably the most enduring debates in Mesoamerican archaeology facilities at the remarkable resemblance among the ruins of Tula, Hidalgo, and Chichen Itza, Yucatan. the writer exhibits how this perceived similarity is extra a function of Western traditions of research than of any genuine commonalities in Mayan sacred perform.

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Several sets of these so-called Atlantean statues, also of varying sizes, were likewise found at Tula. ) Page 13 In short, for all the other uncertainties associated with the two sets of ruins, the most casual tourist, even now, visiting one site after the other, reexperiences, as Charnay had in the nineteenth century, a strange sense of connectedness between these two far-spaced architectural spaces. Moreover, among the more scholarly ranks, no generation of Middle Americanists since the emergence of the field has declined to offer its own characteristic set of solutions to the apparent mystery and anomaly of the sister-city coincidence.

There is, most assuredly, a remarkable resemblance between the respective ruins of Tula and Chichén Itzá. In Charnay's wake, scholars would be arguing for decades that the uncanny similitude in architectures the leitmotif of this entire book issues not only in the unmistakable serpent columns and balustrades, but also in a full range of architectural features that are manifest at Chichén Itzá, at Tula, and, so it appeared, nowhere in between. The principal public plaza in the northern sector of the Yucatán capital, for instance, the socalled Gran Nivelación or "Toltec" Chichén Itzá, while bigger, more complex, and more eclectic than its Central Mexican counterpart, adheres to the same general approach to architectural space that characterizes the main plaza of Tula.

The first two chapters, which traffic more heavily in the history of ideas and the politics of knowledge, belong largely to the so-called hermeneutics of suspicion. They work to survey and expose the unexamined presuppositions that have sustained the enduring polemic. 9 Thus, the final and longer two chapters, which strive to avoid the pitfalls mapped out in the discussion that precedes them, embrace the more constructive and heuristic sort of approach that will enable me to launch my own alternative hypotheses regarding the resemblance of these two architectures.

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