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Location Chacmultun Archaeological Site

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Chacmultun Archaeological Site

Location: Merida  |  Yucatan  |  Mexico

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Language: Spanish
Chacmultun means MOUNDS MADE OF RED STONE in Maya.

H.E.D. Pollock, working under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution, visited Chacmultun in 1980. He writes: The outstanding characteristic of Chacmultun... is the utilization of natural eminences to locate the city's important civic and religious structures. The buildings tend to face one another, but, and perhaps more importantly, they focus on the floor of the valley that bisects the site. One is tempted to conjecture the presence of some important precinct or structure on the valley floor. In any event, lack of knowledge of this central part of the city is a handicap to understanding the overall plan.

The name Chacmultun applies specifically to the group of buildings in the northwest part of the ruins, but has been extended to include the whole site. The three groups which constitute the major ruins at the site are known as the Chacmultun Group, the Xetpol Group, and the Cabalpak Group.

In the ancient city of monumental architecture integrates four groups called Chacmultún, Cabalpak, Xethpol and Central together cover approximately one square kilometer. The first three groups, which are located in the area visited structures were built on Huitz or hills, leveled the ground, so that each group will be surrounded by artificial terraces that enhance its monumentality. Surrounding the heart of settlement are numerous platforms and mounds on which houses were built in various organizations.

Chacmultun is an ancient and most unique archeological site in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is located in the municipality of Tecax, 82 miles southeast of Merida, the capital of the Yucatan State. It was inhabited since 300BC, but reached its glory epoch between 600 and 1000 AD. This city was continuously occupied until the Spaniards arrived in the 15th century.

The name Chacmultun means "mounds of red stone" in the Maya language. The city was named so due to the color of the stones that lines the walls. This hue is caused by microorganisms that inhabit the place and whose particles, in contact with water and air, redden the stone.

Chacmultun is an "off the beaten path" site because it is one of the lesser known and visited ruins in the area. It was discovered in the 19th century by the Austrian explorer Teobert Maler, and was excavated in detail during the 1970s.

Covering 100 hectares in extension, the constructions of Chacmultun were built on top of hillocks, hill slopes and artificial terraces – foundations of up to 26 feet high, as the terrain is quite uneven. That gives all its buildings an image of supremacy and power.

Some of the facades are decorated with quite rare Maya murals and beautifully elaborated friezes, which is characteristic of the Puuc architectural style.

Other attractive feature of the complex are the wall paintings, depicting court ceremonies, including figures in large headdresses and a man with a bow and arrow. The figures are small, about one foot high, but show an amazingly fine artistry.


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