CALAKMUL “City of Twin Pyramids”. Calakmul is located in the state of Campeche, Mexico just north of the Petén region, and is somewhat difficult to reach. It is located north of El Mirador and south of Balamku, Calakmul is one of largest Maya cities from the late pre-Classic and Classic and may soon take its place in the ranks Tikal and Caracol as one of the most important Maya sites.
This site, in its golden age was an important regional capital, sprawls, over an area of approximately 42 square mile, where 6,700 structures of various types have been located.
The site is located in the vast Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, one of the last of the Yucatan rainforests. It is distinguished by its least 100 engraved stelae, which is the largest number found at any know site.
Most of the stelae depict luxuriantly attired personages, probably local rulers, standing on top of prisoners. They also have calendar glyphs that show dates between 500 and 850 A.D. Among these there are two acropolis, a ball court, and numerous temples and pyramids including one of the largest monuments in the entire Maya area.
Recent investigations there have led to the finding of a tomb with rich offerings. Archaeologists also have discovered the remains of high-ranking captives, providing further evidence of Calakmul’s power and influence.
BECAN “The Road of the Serpent”. Becan was an active city for a very long period of time. Dates as early as 600 B.C. and as late as 1450 A.D. have been identified.
The ruins are linked with Chicanna one mile away, and Xpuhil, four miles away, and are easily reached by car. The site covers some 63 acres, although the entire site boundaries are still undefined.
This archaeological site was built from carved limestone. Becan represented an important political and military control place, and is considered the Capital of the Rio Bec region. The core area of Becan is ringed by a moat and there are remains of a wall, in some places almost 11 feet high. The formation of the ditch and protective wall is very rare in the Maya civilization.
XPUHIL “Place of the Cattails”. It is a small site near Becan, in Campeche and was named by members of the fourth Carnegie Expedition to Campeche, Who “discovered” the site in 1938.
The ruins typify a beautiful example of the Rio Bec style; however, show one major modification, a third tower. The Rio Bec style is known for the use of two towers wit thatched or non-permanent buildings on top. Here at Xpuhil they added a tower in the form of a pyramid.
Although the site’s façade looks east, the best conserved part is at the rear. These towers were very solidly put together and served decorative purposes.
Their stairs are exceedingly narrow and steep, while on the upper simulated towers there are three stone masks, which are apparently portrayals of felines, decorating the staircases. The simulated towers display Itzamna, the creator god, as a celestial serpent.