Gilabert Sansalvador, Laura
La bóveda en la arquitectura maya
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With a building tradition that spans more than ten centuries, the vault is one of the most characteristic elements of Maya architecture. This system of stone masonry roofing, which is based on the principle of gradually increasing the proximity of stone courses, exhibits not only the continuity of construction techniques in this ancient civilisation but also the differences in technological evolution that occurred between the different regions of the Maya Lowlands.
This work approaches the study of the Maya vault by recording and analysing an extensive sample of cases from different geographical areas and chronological periods. The information obtained from fieldwork, complemented by bibliographical sources, has been registered in the digital Catalogue of Maya Vaults, which allows the archiving, analysis, and comparison of all vault characteristics. The analysis of this corpus of vaults is approached from an architectural point of view that considers a variety of aspects such as form, geometry, function, symbolism, and the construction characteristics of the vaulted space, which leads to the proposal of a general classification of the Maya vault according to several criteria.
Through a comparative study of the sample, the characteristic features and particularities of the vaults of various geographical areas have been identified, and their evolution over time has been analysed, which allows us to formulate hypotheses about the historical relationships between the different regions and the possible transfers of construction knowledge. Finally, the deterioration processes affecting vaulted buildings are analysed, and general criteria for the excavation, conservation, and restoration of this architectural heritage are proposed. (Text in Spanish)