Essay Sample on Pre-Columbian Landscapes: Folklore, Myths & Histories

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1139 Words
Date:  2023-01-05


Pre-Columbian Landscape explores natural world places that include mountains, water bodies, caves, and geography locations modified with the local populations since they are regarded by animating essence or spiritual force. Landscapes provide a means of having connections with folklore, myths, rituals, and legends considered to animate and venerate special spiritual powers or forces of the places, keeping a symbol, and considering them as cultural identities and histories. The pre-Columbian landscapes include Machu Picchu, Tikal, San Agustin, Mesa Verde, Xochimilco, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, Tenochtitlan, Mesa Verde, Pueblo de Taos, Leyes de Indias, Colonial Williamsburg, and Savannah. Legends and myths of these sites have been told, and in art, they are presented symbolically.

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The Pre-Columbian sites in Peru include Macchu Picchu and Lineas de Nazca. Machu Picchu refers to an Incan citadel which is highly set in Andes Mountains in the region. It has dry stone walls which play on the panoramic views and astronomical alignments. In the region, the Nazca culture thrived from 100BC to 800AD bordering the arid of South Coast Peru. The culture is also known for its figure geoglyphs, line, and puquios. The Pampas de Jumana and Nazca geoglyphs are regarded as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The puquios was developed in AD 600, and it entails channels and corkscrew funnels which pressurize the channel using the admitted wind to establish a flow in a stream. The geoglyphs are made in Nazca desert soil, and they are shallow. Most of them are straight lines with phytomorphic, zoomorphic, and human figures which are visible in foothills.

The diverse landscapes in Pre-Columbia show the way some of the sites came into existence. Generally, Mythological creations and origins take place from the original conditions. Mesa Verde is an example of such a site. It is also referred to as the green table, and it consists of over 5000 sites and 600 cliff dwellings. The national site also has preserved Puebloan ancestral sites. The native inhabitants who were hunters and gatherers constructed the dwellings on top of mesa but later abandoned them because of severe droughts that resulted in social instability. The cliff dwellings were constructed using mortar, wood beams, and sandstone.

The monumental and canonical buildings in Pre-Columbia shows the variability, subtlety, and creativity of the common architecture and the individuals who dwelled and built them. For instance, Machu Picchu is Quechua's old peak and was Inca retreat estate and sanctuary that was cited in the sacred valley (Valle Sagrado de los Incas), and it is 2430m above the sea level. It had a population of between 100 to 750 in religious attendants and support staff depending on the season. It has prodigious snow peaks which loom above the clouds. Furthermore, it has colored granites, tree ferns, orchids that make it luxurious vegetation. Architecturally, it is known for the masonry it possesses as it has stonework that is dry and polished with tight joints in the absence of mortar. The used stone was quarried from that site. Intihuatana is a place in Quechua in which the sun is tied, and it is pyramidal and terraced hill having two stairs. Even though the people of Peru imported food from the valley, they developed terraces to help them farm. It is evident that the terraces were constructed in four layers including gravel, sand, large stones, and soil.

The cultures in Pre-Columbian America established cities which were astounding as compared to the others in the world. The cities had markets, temples, and playgrounds, and they manifested the culture of the individuals who lived there. For example, Monte Alban is situated in the low mountain range that is above Valle de Oaxaca. The site contains several artificial terraces which cover ridge and architectural mounds. The Great Plaza of Monte Alban is an appreciation of man's work. The site has several tombs, underground passageways, truncated pyramids, great plazas, and a court where one can play. Furthermore, Mesa Verde was the capital of the Aztec Empire, and it was founded in fulfilling the ancient prophecy of the site signifying wandering tribes with an eagle which perched on cactus having a snake on the beak. Tenochtitlan had four zones, and each of the zones had a market and about 20 districts having canals and streets. It also had palaces, temples, and public edifices. The site has chinampas of Xochimilco gardens developed as peninsular and insular reclamations on the Mexican altiplano landscape. Xochimilco, chinampa was the center of agriculture. Colonial Williamsburg was founded in the year 1632. Williamsburg was founded as a fortified settlement, and it was named in Middle Plantation among York and James rivers. It served as Commonwealth and Colony city between 1699 to 1780. The site has edifices from the 17th century to the 19th century. The Raleigh Tavern is a museum that symbolizes original tavern. The site also had William and Mary college which is the second oldest higher education institution in the United States.

The Pre-Columbian landscapes show native societies developed their original places and what motivated them to construct them. Pueblo de Taos is among the oldest inhibited societies in the United States with about 95,000-acre preservation. The site is mainly known for its abode constructs that had a ladder used in accessing the roofs instead of front doors for easy defense and few windows, Pueblo or village had a river at the foot of the mountain where headwaters outflowed. Adobe refers to mud that was mixed with straw, then modeled in the form of brick, and air dried so that they could be used as masonry in the fence walls and normal walls. The adobe moderated temperature in the structures' interior during cool nights and hot days. Also, Leyes de Indias site is regarded as the modern time's urban code. The reasons that influenced the construction of Leyes de Indias includes intuition, ideology, typology, and morality. The layout of the city had military castrum. In the city, the seat of the government was The Plaza de Armas. It also had a Plaza de la Catedral which was and is still considered as the city's religious center. San Agustin was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in protecting Spanish fleet in its journey to Spain from La Habana. The place was sited between San Sebastian and Matanzas rivers. San Agustin also has Castillo de San Marcos that was erected from coquina or broken shell limestone but was later renovated. Even though the place was attacked several times and sieged two times in the colonial times by Carolina governors but the military never took it.


Bueno, Juan Antonio. "History of Landscape Architecture: Pre-Colombian + Colonial America". Presentation, Florida International University, School of Architecture, 2018.

Halperin, Christina, and Lauren Schwartz, eds. Vernacular Architecture in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Staller, John, ed. Pre-Columbian landscapes of creation and origin. Springer Science & Business Media, 2008.Waterman, Tim. The fundamentals of landscape architecture. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

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Essay Sample on Pre-Columbian Landscapes: Folklore, Myths & Histories. (2023, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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