The architecture of the ballcourts differs from site to site with respect to the temporal zones in which they exist

The architecture of the ballcourts differs from site to site with respect to the temporal zones in which they exist, the period when the courts were constructed, and for what function they were providing. The informal playing courts, which are characterized as having earthen playing surfaces, were surely utilized, but here but we will focus on the formal masonry courts which exist in the archaeological record while the former, as stated by Scarborough, only has few possible marker posts and very little remains which have survived. The typical architecture of the ballcourts in relation to the geographical zones in which they exist will be provided next, although it is important to note that there is still architectural variation within these given zones. In the Mayan Lowlands (areas of Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, northern Chiapas, Guatemala (EI Peten), Belize and western Honduras) the ballcourts are characterized as being open-ended with undefined end-zones which may have provided the function for the restriction of public access into this area. This would support the idea that this area possessed a highly ritualized space and the execution of the game was subject to the ruling of the Mayan elites. In this zone, the presence of a number of courts with vertical walls (as opposed to sloping walls) with horizontal, paired stone rings attached to the center, upper-portion of each of the opposing walls are apparent. De Borhegyi suggests that the presence of these rings were early Post-Classic additions which represent a radical change in the playing rules of the game. The changes in the court structure in later times, which proposes different play, may have had a correlation with a change for the reasons why the games were executed. For example, the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza that was erected in Post-Classic times possesses this architectural style and may have been due to outside influences such as the Toltec. Toltec inspired architecture is apparent throughout this site and specifically in the ballcourt. Perhaps play subsumed between these opposing forces in a struggle between the invading Toltec and the defending Maya in a battle to substantiate their place within this area. Given this significant context, the Mayans may have developed or adapted to a different form of play, which resembled warfare, to vie for the land. The struggle is apparent in the iconography on the ballcourt which depicts these cultural entities engaging in ballgame battle, which will be elaborated on later in this section.


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