Inequality, urbanism, and governance at Coba and the Northern Maya Lowlands

Scott R. Hutson, Travis W. Stanton, Traci Ardren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Gini coefficients for residential groups at Coba for roofed surface area, volume of architecture, and houselot space range from 0.423 to 0.551, fitting well within the range of many ancient and modern state-level cities and societies and other Mesoamerican centers. These values are also similar to other large, Classic period, Northern Lowland cities, such as Dzibilchaltun and Chunchucmil. These data do not support the idea that autocratic regimes exhibit greater wealth inequality. We also failed to find a pattern in which inequality grew over the course of the Classic period. The Lorenz curves for Coba and other sites do not indicate any breaks that would allow households to be sorted into wealth classes. Thus, wealth differences were fluid, continuous, and out in the open, giving these settlements the dynamism and attractiveness that helped them grow into some of the largest and most remarkable ancient Maya cities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAncient Mesoamerica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2024.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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