Expert opinion
The Great Urban Infrastructure of Cantona
Residences and movement of its inhabitants

Cantona is unique in its class with regard to its residential units and internal thoroughfares. There is no other pre-Hispanic settlement—or at least we know of no other at present—which has a similar layout of residential units (for both the elite and the general population) and manner of moving between them and the rest of the city as that of Cantona.

In Cantona, the entire population, except for high-level dignitaries, lived in residential units surrounded by periphery walls and/or defined by topographical irregularities adapted to this end with retaining walls. We do not know of a single residence outside of such an enclosed or delimited space. We do know that the Southern Unit had at least 2,700 of these residential units (32 percent of the city's total area) and, based on this, we can infer the existence of at least 7,500 residential units for the entire city.

Moreover, all of these residential units, as well as the entire settlement itself, are connected by a complex, yet efficient, network of built thoroughfares, and there is not a single part of the city which cannot be reached by one of these thoroughfares. These are paved streets that either elevated above the terrain, supported on it or even sunk into it. As with any modern city, there are causeways, streets, side streets, cul de sacs, sidewalks and passageways, the latter being inside the residential units.

Visitors may walk down these causeways, streets and cul de sacs and admire the interiors of several residential units, as well as many other architectural elements on their visit to this once-great pre-Hispanic city of Cantona.
Fig_2
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Aerial view of a small section of the residential area on the southwest side of Cantona.
Fig_1
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Residential units in the southwest of Cantona.
Fig_3
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Elite residential unit; to the left, a pre-Hispanic street.
Fig_4
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Partial view of Residential Unit 13; in the background, the remains of a temazcal.
Fig_5
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Causeway 1 or Ignacio Marquina Causeway.
Fig_6
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Street junction in the southwest of Cantona.
Fig_7
INAH-Proyecto Arqueológico Cantona/Ángel García Cook
Street junction; in the background, an elite residential unit.
portada_opinion_cantona

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