This chapter focuses on the built environment and its articulation with a natural and supernatural landscape. It includes discussion of ideational themes such as temples made as simulacra of mountains: both the active volcanoes that impacted early urbanization and as life-giving sources of water. It also examines how ceremonial architecture including open plazas and towering pyramids could serve inclusive and divisive functions, and the high degree of standardization in how ceremonial precincts were oriented, likely linked to calendric and ritual considerations. Finally, the chapter examines how domestic architecture represented and generated the social distinctions associated with urbanism through variability in the size, elaboration, and symbolism of houses in early urban settings.
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