Student Research Projects

A Phallic or a Clock?

Student Bayli Foley, '18
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Foreign Languages and Literature
Course Spanish 313: Seminar in Hispanic Cultures


There are an abundance of tall structures built in many of the Mayan ruins. The popular culture has identified these as hand-carved phallic symbols, but there does not seem to be any real evidence to determine that these were intended to be real phallic symbols. However, a structure in Uxmal had a sign that labeled it as “probably a penis.” In addition, there are many local shops that sell hand carved-penises to tourists, but these are not identical to the structures. This interpretation of the structures has been widely accepted without question. Based on my observations at these sites, it seems more likely that these structures were used to function as clocks.