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OXKINTOK ARCHEOLOGICAL ZONE                                                          Printer friendly version

 
 

Oxkintok means in Maya “Three Priests from The Flint” (it can also mean “Three Days of Burning” or “Many Blood Parties”). Oxkintok is in the farthest occidental region of the Puuc Route and it is characterized by the great antiquity of its calendar inscriptions (475 and 487 AC), for its anthropomorphic stone columns, and its guardians. Most famous, however, are the structures, such as the Satunsat, that make up a labyrinth.

Oxkintok is one of the oldest cities in Yucatán, Stellas and inscriptions found here have provided valuable information on the Mayan culture. Its architecture is representative of the splendid Puuc style. It was mentioned by Fray Antonio de Ciudad Real during the colonial period as a site of "many ancient buildings." In the 19th century, John L. Stephens shared his idea that "the universal belief that a cave such as the Satunsat, contained infinite passageway without end."

Continuous archeological interventions took place in the region between 1986 and 1992. The projects were sponsored by the Spanish crown, the committee of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America, and the State of Yucatán. In 1996, efforts were dedicated to find a singular significance of the city's history by looking at local building structures. A palm made mat, or “Pop” in Mayan language (a sign of power and authority), was found painted in the floor of one of the oldest buildings, and in another a grave that was exhumed, and among the burial objects, they found a very fine mask of jade.

Unique to the archeological sites of the Yucatán a building was discovered that had calendar inscriptions that date back to the year 487 AC. In the Satunsat, beyond the intricate passage ways and levels, the archeologists have found a mortuary chamber with the remains of the great lord of Oxkintok.

This archeological site is located at five Km. southeast of Maxcanú village. Its architecture belongs to the "Early Puuc" style. It lists four architectural groups:

AH-CANUL GROUP:
Make stand out the following buildings: The Chi'Ich palace, which belongs the Puuc period; this could be deduced for the characteristic type of dome and the ornamentation of mosaic stone that upgrade the west facade. The Devils Palace, called this way by people of the area due to a found character sculpted in a monolithic column; it's a small building of three rooms.

The men of stone of Oxkintok are located in the eastern side of the Canul group. These figures are fat beings dressed in decorated garments with intertwined robes, mesh vests and zoomorphic chest armor. Despite of the indiscriminate looting that has taken place, the figures have not lost their appeal as an important public monument.

THE MAY GROUP:
Stands out the structure May-6, which is a small palace type building. Its main characteristic is the external ornamentation in the small pillars and stone drums in ring form.

The May group is the best restored group of structures in the site. The pyramid is another labyrinth with painted and decorated walls that were the foundation for construction in ancient times.

THE SATUNSAT GROUP:
The called structure labyrinth or "satunsat" is a remarkable sample of the variety of the Mayan architecture; this building produces a very pleasant visual impression.

THE DZIB GROUP:
The less known and less restored of all.

Another important find came during the restoration of the Ball Court. A huge, but fragmented ring with a hieroglyphic inscription was discovered. Near the Ball Court, a circular hole has been unearthed, and experts believe that it is an ancient steam bath used for the purification and cleansing of the ball game players and pregnant women.

Oxkintok is one of the most important centers in the history of the Maya of the region and it offers key insight into the historical development of the peninsula. It opens a door to Xibalbá, and the greatness that can entice visitors to want to know more about the way of life of the ancient Maya of the Yucatán.

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Yucatan, Oxkintok, Archeological zone, Pyramide, Stellas - Photo by Oxkintok

The Pyramid at Oxkintok

Yucatan, Oxkintok, Archeological zone, Ch'ich Palace - Photo by Oxkintok
The Ch'ich Palace at Oxkintok
Yucatan, Oxkintok, Archeological zone, Man of Stone - Photo by Oxkintok
Man of Srone at Oxkintok