Ikil Travel Blog

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Ikil "Place of the Wind", I would rate this site as 3 star "recommended" if I could guarantee it was not overgrown. There is a significant amount of carved stones scattered over this site. I have found two underground plastered chultuns (water Storage vessels). There are hundreds of pottery shards scattered on the ground. All of this cannot be seen if the site is overgrown. Ikil, a small Post-Classic Maya site 4 miles south of Yaxcaba and 13 miles east of Chichen Itza at latitude 20.6667 and longitude -88.55. The main structure is a steep, 80 feet tall, three tiered, pyramid platform with staircases on all four sides. It has vaulted corridors and two interior chambers. There is a glyph lintel in each chambers and a tenoned stone ring in the east chamber.

The lintels are dated to 650 AD to 750 AD. It is estimated that Ikil was abandoned by 900 AD. The site has been overgrown on all but one of my visits. I was told by my local contact that the site was cleared by a university group to start some reconstruction, however, the reconstruction never took place.

This site is the source of a book of Chilam Balam. The Mayan Chilam Balam books are period manuscripts named after Yucatec towns such as Chumayel, Mani, Ikil and Tizimin, that usually consist of texts in which Mayan and Spanish traditions have melted together. The Yucatec Mayas attributed these texts to a legendary author called Chilam Balam. A Chilam is a priest who gives prophecies. Some of the texts contain prophecies about the coming of the Spaniards to Yucatan while mentioning a Chilam Balam as its first author.

The Chilam Balam texts consist chiefly of history of both pre-Spanish and colonial, calendars, astrology and herbal medicine. These texts were usually written in the Yucatec Maya language but in European script. Some of the manuscripts originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, many of the texts date back to the time of the Spanish conquest. The medical texts are very factual, the historical and astrological texts are more folklore in style. At various places in these texts, bits of information about early mythology crop up. Of great interest is the creation mythology, connected to katun 11 Ahau. Apart from their intrinsic value, the historical texts are also important because they have been placed in the framework of the native Maya calendar. Reconstructing Post- Classic Yucatec history from these stories has proven to be difficult due to their often allusive, metaphorical nature and the archaic Yucatec language. The Chilam Balam texts offer a formidable challenge to translators. The quality of existing translations varies greatly.

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photo by: emilyb201