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The most obvious implication of this hazardous guesswork is that the minimum and maximum extremes estimated for the length of occupation of Modified Florescent Chichén Itzá can be evoked to support either the Thompson-Brainerd or Andrews-Tulane view of the regional chronology. Thompson’s most recent publication on the subject places the first Modified Florescent peoples at Chichén Itzá in A.D. 918, or 10.4.9.7.3 in the long count (1970a), which indicates he favors a span of slightly over 280 years for the Modified Florescent period at Chichén Itzá based on historic sources. This is a revision of his earlier estimate of the first arrival of foreigners at the site at A.D. 987, or 10.8.0.0.0, based on a later recurrence of a katun 4 ahau (1937, 1945, 1950), but “the earlier reading is preferable if the gap at the end of the Classic period is to be closed” (Thompson 1970a:14). The excavations at Dzibilchaltún, on the other hand, indicate that Puuc Pure Florescent architecture follows the Tepeu 2 period of the Late Classic in the south, and thus occupies this “gap at the end of the Classic period.” Ball and Andrews V (1975) date the beginning of the Modified Florescent period at 10.0.0.0.0, close to the date generated using the minimum estimate for the span of Modified Florescent architecture at Chichén Itzá, and only two katuns later than Thompson’s original estimate of the first foreigners at the site. No matter which view one prefers of late Yucatecan history, the stylistic and chronological position of the Caracol must be considered within the archaeological

framework of Chichén Itzá. The Caracol is a building constructed, from platform to vault, utilizing building techniques characteristic of the Pure Florescent architecture of Chichén Itzá; only the serpent carvings on the stairway ramps and Tlaloc censers indicate a Modified Florescent touch. There are two epigraphic dates from the Caracol, one of 10.2.17.0.0 from the Caracol stela, and a 10.7.0.5.1 from a hieroglyphic band once presumably positioned on the upper facade (Morley 1935, Thompson 1937). The earlier date falls near the cluster of dates associated with the Pure Florescent architecture at the site, and the date of 10.2.17.0.0 is thus consistent with the Pure Florescent flavor of the structure. If the people responsible for Modified Florescent Chichén Itzá arrived shortly after 10.4.0.0.0, a view favored by Thompson and Proskouriakoff among others, then the 10.7.0.5.1 date would be an addition of the later peoples, and the structure itself would be considered either Pure Florescent or transitional between the two periods. If the Dzibilchaltún sequence and chronology are favored, then the Caracol is a completely Pure Florescent structure, if the dates are accepted as dating the building, and the later date would simply indicate a time of late Pure Florescent occupation at the site. Little other adjustment in the archaeology of Chichén Itzá is required to accommodate either scheme. If Modified Florescent peoples arrived at Chichén Itzá shortly after 10.4.0.0.0, then the date of 10.8.10.11.0 on the High Priest’s Grave probably dates that structure. If so, then about 80 years passed from the time of 141

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Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán  

Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán