Perhaps the most important indicator of the common cultural identity of the Puuc
Hills is the distinctive architectural style found at site after site. Later Puuc build-
are characterized by the use of true mortar construction faced with finely cut
veneer stones, rather than block walls. This allowed construction of somewhat
wider rooms, although true vaulting was never achieved.
Differing construction techniques and types facade decoration permit at least
four different styles to be distinguished. George Andrews refers to these as
, Early Puuc
, Columnar style
, and the Mosaic style
, and the late style
. These follow each other in roughly chronological order, but it is also
clear that there was considerable overlap and that older buildings were kept in
use. We are fortunate that at Kiuic and Labna we have a good sample of most of
and significance of the style are still a matter of debate. To the south
and west of the Puuc zone is the Chenes style of architecture, while further south
the Rio Bec style predominates. Both have elements in common with the Puuc
Hills, such as elaborately sculpted facades and a de-emphasis on tall pyramidal
platforms. The chronological relationships are, however, not well understood.
The Puuc style diffused widely across the northern plains
, and can be seen at
sites such as Chichen Itza, Dzibilchaltun, Culuba, and Ek Balam. Unfortunately
the meaning of this spread is also poorly understood.