El Mercado (The Market)
Maya Site of Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico
By K. Kris Hirst
The Market (or Mercado) was named by the Spanish, but its precise function is under debate by scholars. It is a large, colonnaded building with a spacious interior court. The interior gallery space is open and unpartioned, and a large patio lies in front of the only entrance, accessed by a broad stairway. There were three hearths and grinding stones found in this structure, which scholars normally interpret as evidence of domestic activities--but because the building offers no privacy, scholars believe it was likely a ceremonial or council house function. This building clearly is of Toltec construction.
Mayanist Falken Forshaw updates: Shannon Plank in her recent dissertation argues this as a place for fire ceremonies.