Oxkintok A Day Trip Out Of Dolores Alba Merida
Oxkintok Travel Blog› entry 3 of 15 › view all entries
March 1st, 2009 – by: geokid
Oxkintok "Three Flint Suns" is in the northern Puuc Hills, 2 miles east of Maxcanú, or 38 miles south of Mérida on Federal Highway 180, Yucatán, Mexico. Latitude 20°33'40" North by Longitude 89°57'11" West. Oxkintok is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM . The admission fee is 85 pesos. There were no facilities at this site on my last visit. However, the guard did sell cold soft drinks. Prepare yourself with food and water.
The ruins sit on a fertile plain at the edge of the hilly Puuc region and may have been connected to Uxmal by a sacbé. The area of Oxkintok was first occupied prior to 500 BC.
The style is of mixed architecture of Early, Late and Terminal Classic techniques. Some structures are constructed with slab-vaulted masonry which is an indication of the Early Classic to Early Late Classic periods. Many quadrangles groups contain structures with veneer masonry that was introduced at the end of the Late Classic and developed during the Terminal Classic period.
The most popular and oldest structure at Oxkintok is the "The Labyrinth", Tzat Tun Tzat, Mayan for labyrinth or place in which one may be lost. Built in three levels on top of each other, its interior forms a maze of long, narrow rooms, with vaulted ceilings, connected by small doorways and narrow staircases. A grave found in this structure included a jade mask. On the floor of the crypt werepainted symbols of power and authority, leading some archaeologists to believe it was the burial place of a great lord.
Oxkintok had a ball court, on my last visit is had not been restored but some excavation had taken place. A fragmented ring with a hieroglyphic inscription was discovered during excavation.
Very near the ballcourt is what is believed to be a sweet bath. It is believed that ball players and pregnant women used sweet baths for physical and spiritual purification and cleansing.
There have been numerous Chultuns (cisterns) discovered through out the ceremonial and residential precincts. Chultuns of Oxkintok were bottle-shaped receptacles of immense capacities, ranging from 1,000 to 18,000 gallons.
Some other important structures are the "May" group, which consists of 3 structures and the "Canul" group with 4 structures.
Many of the artifacts found during digs at Oxkintok are on display at the Museum of Anthropology in Mérida. Located on Paseo de Montejo at Calle 43, the museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Sundays from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Only about 1.5 miles away are the Calcehtok Caves. The name is derived from the Mayan words CAL (neck), CEH (deer) and TOK (stone), a carved deer was found at the site. In some publications these caves are referred to as the Xpukil caves. These cave have a long history of serving the local population. During the Caste Wars they provide secretive shelter for the Mayan people. Archaeological evidence shows that Calcehtok Caves were also in use at the time of Oxkintok was developing into a city. Many artifacts have been found in these cave, including quartzite hammers, obsidian arrowheads, animal bones, ceramics, and human graves. Access to the caves are by guided tours only. When I was last there rates were 200 pesos per hour for a small group. Do not be afraid to bargain.
In 1842, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood visited Oxkintok and explored "The Labyrinth". The Carnegie Project, under Edwin Shook spent a short time at Oxkintok. Beginning in the 1980s a long-term project directed by Miguel Rivera Dorado has produced much knew information about Oxkintok. The INAH has invested in excavations and reconstructions at the site under the direction of Ricardo Velasquez.
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