Entering Ek’ Balam, you’ll pass through a low thick wall and an elegant corbeled arch. Walls are rare in Maya cities, and were most commonly used for defense, as in the cases of Becán  and Tulum .
Ek’ Balam’s low thick walls would not have slowed marauding rivals, however, and so they most likely served to enforce social divisions, with some areas off-limits (but not out of view!) to all but the elite. They may also have been decorative—the city possessed great aesthetic flair, as the arch at the entrance and the site’s famous stucco frieze demonstrate.