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Maya Archaeology


Since 1843 after Stevens and Catherwood published their book “Incidents of Travel in Yucatán”, people throughout the world have been fascinated by this amazing civilization  who developed very advanced knowledge in architecture, astronomy, calendrics and mathematics. It’s social and political life has also been long studied and keeps surprising different scholars from all over the world. Many digs have been taking place by different professionals in the field and they do not stop getting impressed with everyday finds...

Come and visit with us some of these recently excavated Maya Sites.

Cuello. ( No photo ) A small Site in Belize, Central America, is considered to be one of the oldest up-to-date registered Maya Sites, dated at 2100 B.C.

Lamanai. Also in Belize is one of the most interesting and beautiful, involves a River Trip up the “New River”, lots of birds like Egrets, Herons, Kingfishers, Jabiru Stork, Northern Jacana, White Ibis, Purple Gallinulle, Slaty Tailed Trogon, crocodiles, turtles  and lots of orchids.

Besides this ancient Archaeological Site hidden in the Rainforest is dated at 1500B.C. and features a monolithic carved stone placed in the facade of the “Temple of the Mask”.

Oxtankah. A small Site in Quintana Roo State México, used to be an important trade Center during the Classic Period, salt and sea products were exported from here, abandoned a couple of times during the classic, it was in use at the time of the Conquest, so we also see the remains of the oldest Catholic Church in this region, near Chetumal, the Capital City of Quintana Roo.

Chacchoben. Quintana Roo. Recently excavated by I.N.A.H. (History and Anthropology National Institute) remains closed to general public, but a permit to visit can be obtained if requested on time. "The Place of the Red Corn" has a huge terrace where several temples were built on top. Remains of plaster and color can be seen at Structure II. A short walk under Ramon Trees and Cohune Palm will take us to see another plaza where it's main building has a radial staircase. A couple of large round stones used as "altars" show some evidence of late worship. Only a few years ago, someone brought water in a crystal bottle and a votive to worship, just as the Maya of the Classic Time."

Kohunlich. Quintana Roo The main attraction of this Site is the “Temple of the Masks”, dedicated to the Sun God, Kinich Ahaw. This temple is oriented on an East/West Axis and it’s splendid stucco masks are one of very few examples of this fine art of plaster as decoration of the buildings. Located in a Cohune Palm forest, the Site has been excavated since the 70’s and gives visitors a very good idea of the different structures in  a Maya City.

Dzibanché. Quintana Roo Also a Classic Site, excavated just during 1993-1994, shows magnificent Architecture of Peten Style. Structure VI still holds an original Lintel dated at 733 A.D. and remains of roof comb, clear examples of the “Mayan Arch” can be also seen at this Site. Some of the inscriptions found here link activities between Calakmul and Dzibanché as early as 495 A.D.

Chicanna. Campeche. “The House of the Mouth of the Serpent”, where Structure II, represents the “entrance” or “access” to the “underworld”. The facade of this building shows eyes, nostril, upper jaw with teeth, mouth wide open and lower jaw with its teeth, very ornate and well preserved representation of the “Earth Monster”.    Remains of original stucco with red and blue colors can be seen  in this building.

Becan. Campeche. It is one of the few Maya Sites surrounded by a moat and a wall, with several bridges to access the city, it is considered the Capital of the Rio Bec Region, shows some of the most massive structures of this area. Structure IV is a huge palace, with a courtyard surrounded by several rooms on the top, it also has remains of decoration like the one we see at Chicanna and belongs to the Classic Period.

Xpujil. Campeche. A small, but interesting Site, mainly due to it’s unique “Three Tower” Rio Bec Style Palace.  One of the towers has a narrow and steep staircase where you can climb to get to the level where eventually was the roof of the building “connecting” the side towers. In the interior of the rooms you can see the “benches” where the people of Xpujil performed some of their activities and in the facade, remains of masked panels.

Hormiguero. Campeche.  Another extraordinary encounter with magnificent architecture awaits for your visit. This Mid to Late Classic Site displays a very ornate, well preserved facade of the “Earth Monster”, flanked by two towers, typical of the “Rio Bec Style”. Structure V, is a small two story structure fully ornate and partially restored, which is located next to an unexcavated courtyard which has another big temple with the “Earth Monster” facade, with some standing architecture, so you can compare and see buildings in it’s original state under the debris and trees with the ones where archaeologists have worked.

Rio Bec. Campeche. This Site is not available all year round, it still remains inside a remote hard to get area in the jungles of Campeche. It's name was given in 1906 by a French explorer due to the number of "Oak" trees he found while exploring, the Maya name of this tree is: "Bec" This Site has 22 groups spread throughout a vast area.
Usually we only see Groups "A" and "B".
Group "A" has almost no restoration, so, being there is like exploring and finding the ruins for the first time ever, see them still covered by vines, plants and trees.
Group “B” has some restoration and shows checkerboard panels in the main facade as well as on the sides, clear false stairways and remains of roof comb. When road allows it is worth the hard drive to see this Site.

Balamkú. Campeche. Found shortly after the Site was looted. Here we can enjoy the remarkable art of the Maya in it’s 16.8 meters long stucco facade. The name comes from one of the designs we find in the freeze, which represents three captive jaguars. This building is also known as “The House of the Four Kings” due to the representation of re-birth or accesión of four rulers, who are emerging from the open mouths of frogs and crocodiles.

Calakmul. Campeche. Located in the Heart of the “Calakmul Biosphere Preserve” which has over 1.5 million acres of protected area has become, after the new digs, one of the most important Pre-Classic Sites, as well as Uaxactun and El Mirador. Also of major importance during the Classic time, was a rival of Tikal and made alliances with Caracol, in Belize. 120 stellae have been registered up to date and has the tallest structures in Maya Mexican land. Impressive and magnificent.

Great chances for “lifers” to see not only birds, but also cats, monkeys, butterflies, orchids, or snakes.

Note: Sightings of any wildlife are not guaranteed.

Give us a call if you have other ideas or requests.

Trips to Palenque, Uxmal or Chichén Itzá can also be arranged.

Most  tours include a visit to two nearby Archaeological Sites, entree fees, ground transportation, guide and lunch.

The cost is U.S. $ 95.00  per person, two persons minimum.

Lamanai or Calakmul do not combine with another Site and the cost is U.S. $ 115.00  per person and a minimum of three is required to do these trips.

This price is for  One Day Trips which begin and end in Chetumal or Bacalar Area, overnight will be charged extra

For more information contact Luis I. Téllez

or phone
01 9 8-32-34-96
Chetumal Q. Roo  México


Books on Maya Archeology


The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya

Linda Schele and David Freídel

Published by William Morrow, New York

ISBN 0-688-11204-8



By Joyce Kelly

University of Oklahoma Press

ISBN 0-8061-2499



Cultural Traditions in the Land of the Feathered Serpent

Jacqueline Phillips Lathrop

Published by: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company

Sixth Edition

ISBN 0-7872-4981-5



Edited by Peter Schmidt, Mercedes de la Garza, Enrique Nalda

Published by:

Rizzoli International Publications INC:

300 Park Avenue South, New York, NY10010

ISBN 0-8478-2129-3



Three Thousand Years on the Shaman’s Path

David Freídle, Linda Schele, Joy Parker

William Morrow and Company Inc.

1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10019

ISBN 0-688-14069-6



The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City

Carolyn E. Tate

University of Texas Press

Box 7819 Austin TX 78713-7819

ISBN 0-292-77041-3



Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period

Dorie Reents-Budet

Published by the Duke University Press

Durhan, London

ISBN 0-8223-1434-7

ISBN 8223-1438-x (pbk)



Published by:

Alfred A. Knopf Inc. New York

ISBN 0-679-75569-1



Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art

Linda Schele , Mary Ellen Miller

Published by:

Goerge Braziller, Inc New York in association with the

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth

ISBN 0-8076-1278-2



The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs

Linda Schele and Peter Mathews

Published by; Scribner

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

ISBN 0-684-80106-X



Michael D. Coe

Published by:

Thames and Hudson Inc. New York NY 10110

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 83-72969



Michael D. Coe

Published by:

Thames and Hudson Inc.

500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 91-65312



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