The secrets of the Initial Series Group, a group of monuments in Chichén Itzá that people can visit from September 2023, continue to reveal its mysteries.
One of them, which derives from the architectural consolidation carried out within the framework of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza), is the function that the House of Shields had, which was determined to have served as a guard enclosure to cargo of the Palace of the Phalluses, reports a statement.
In November 2022, the Mexican Ministry of Culture, through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), began work on the also called Structure 5C36.
Its restoration continues today, focusing on the interiors which comprise a constructed area of just over 213 square meters.
The House of Shields measures 14 meters wide (east and west façades) by 18 meters long (south façade); So far, it is these covers that have been intervened.
Possibly, it was the last building added to the complex known as the Palace of the Phalluses, around 950-1150 AD, to close it in its northeast corner. On the south side, it connects with the Casa de los Caracoles (House of the snails) through an interior corridor.
Although the director of Chichén Itzá is José Osorio León, those responsible for the excavations in the House of Shields are the archaeologists Max Edwin Ayala and José Arturo Cortés.
It is one of the most recently defined buildings: “At one time it was thought that, like the House of the Moon, it was a patio gallery. However, we were able to better understand its architectural composition thanks to a thorough exploration, which allowed us to recognize walls still standing, vault projections, foundations, and columns,” says Arturo Cortés.
A definitive key to recognizing its function was the recovery of stone blocks with the relief representation of war shields, which together formed friezes.
Although incomplete, the west façade has five of these designs, while on the south façade, seven complete ones were recorded, each made up of between six and eight panels.
Max Edwin Ayala mentions that the House of Shields could not be known in any other way, since the facades of its columned patio, measuring 37 square meters, were also decorated with shields carved in stone.