Acanceh Travel Blog

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Acanceh "dying deer" (in the Yucatec Maya language) is a Maya site located in the modern town of Acanceh, Yucatán State, Mexico. Acanceh is located about 14 miles from Mérida.

Acanceh monumental construction began sometime between 200 AD and 300 AD, during the Early Classic period. Acanceh covered more than 2 square miles with more than 400 stone structures. Three of these buildings have been reconstructed and consolidated and are open to the public. The three-leveled step pyramid in Acanceh is 36 feet high. One of the sub-structures of this three-leveled step pyramid has been intentionally uncovered revealing several carved stucco masks that were applied to the surface of this sub-structure.
The "Palace of the Stuccos" is 162 feet wide, 20 feet high. There are several stucco friezes applied to the surface of this structure. The Palace of the Stuccos's  design is very complex, with numerous rooms. The is a Teotihuacano influence present in the architecture of the structures at Acanceh. Until recently little more than a large undulating, shapeless mound, the so-called Palace of the Stuccos has been carefully cleaned and consolidated, revealing a complex structure that includes many once-vaulted rooms and stairways. Its non-pyramidal nature would probably point to its inclusion in the broad category of palaces or range-type structures which, modern scholars speculate, may have once functioned as administrative buildings and/or as the dwelling places of the ruling class and other high-status individuals.

Acanceh's primary structure is at the northern edge of the modern town's main square. The modern town assume the same street orientation of the historic town. Recent investigations of this structure revealed four huge architectural stucco masks. These masks are of an Olmec style from the gulf coast. The Olmecs controlled much of the gulf coast and a network of long distance trade routes from 1500 BC to 500 BC. Their style, the stratigraphic data and the general character of the building phase they are associated with seem to chronologically place these masks sometime in the very Early Classic period (ca. 200-300 A.D.) or possibly even the Late Preclassic. The "L" shape of the eyes is a typical  Olmec expression.
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photo by: geokid