Xcalumkin is difficult to find. A guide may be needed. If this were
an easy site to find I would rate it 4 stars. Access to the ruins by
car or truck is now easy due to the grading of these roads. There are
hundreds of glyphs at this site and many standing buildings. Xcalumkin
is noted for the large amount of carved inscriptions. It is about 8.5
miles east of Hecelchakan, Campeche
, in the large savanna of Xcalumkin.
This savanna is dotted with low hills and is bordered by an irregular
chain of higher limestone hills covered with scrubby woods that extends
about 7 miles north to south and averages more than half a mile wide.
Take the road leading from Hecelchakan to Bolonchen. The ruins lie
south of this road and occupy an area of about 3/4 of a square mile.
The boundaries of this site may be considerably larger, including
numerous structures and mounds visible in the distance. More work would
have to be done to determine if these outlining structure are part of
this site. Branching from the Hecelchakan to Bolonchen road is an
unsurfaced access road to an irrigation well. This road passes the main
group of ruins and several other structures.
The center of the
site, "Main Group" is composed of 29 buildings constructed on leveled
ground. Most of the structures are on raised platforms. All structures
are clustered in an irregular grouping surrounding the Initial Series
Court and the adjacent structures of this court.
structures, preserved vaulted roofs remain. However, consolidation is
needed to prevent complete collapse of all the remaining roof
structures. Two cenotes are located at the edge of the Main Group. The
largest of the two cenotes is 22 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep (This
is a false bottom). This false bottom is perforated by a 1 foot
diameter hole that opens into a large natural chamber approximately 32
feet deep. There was water in this lower void on my last visit. Most of
the surrounding low hills have one or more courts on them. Many of
these courts contain chultuns. It is likely that the main purpose of
these courts is to collect water.
These ruins were discovered by
Teobert Maler in March 1887. He later published a short narrative
description of them, illustrated with photographs taken during his
efforts of several days clearing rubble from the Initial Series
In 1903, E. H. Thompson visited the site to make molds of the
inscriptions for the Peabody Museum. The next archaeologists known to
have been to the site were Sylvanus G. Morley in 1918 and Thomas Gann
in 1924. Morley published his reading of the date in the Initial Series
Building, but otherwise neither of them recorded data of significance.
In April and May 1935, Pollock and H. B. Roberts of the Carnegie
Institution of Washington spent three weeks at Xcalumkin, making notes,
conduct a ceramic survey and looking for inscriptions. Clearing rubble
from the Hieroglyphic Group revealed eleven sculptures that were later
reproduced by Tatiana Proskouriakoff.
Prior to 1942, Raul
Pavon Abreu removed a number of pieces of sculpture for exhibition in
the Museo Arqueologico in Campeche, including door Jambs 1, 6, and 7;
Columns 2 and 5; and Panels 5 to 8.
It was fortunate that he did so,
for the site was plundered in the 1960s. In 1968 Ray Matheny and his
students spent three weeks reconnoitering the site and making test
excavations on behalf of the New World Archaeological Foundation, while
Eduardo Martinez E. of the same foundation mapped the Main Group. Eric
von Euw's work for the Corpus was carried out in 1976 and 1978, in the
course of which he removed some of the remaining sculpture to the Museo
Arqueologico, Campeche. Ian Graham's visits were made in 1986 and 1988.
I have included an published inventory of the sculpture located at this site.
Initial Series Building Lintel-Lintell west jamb-Jamb 1
Corbel, west jamb-Capital 1 East jamb-Jamb 2
Corbel, east jamb-Capital 3 West column-Column 1
Capital of west column-Capital 2 East column-Column 2
Tablet above Initial Series panel-Panel 1 Initial Series panel-Panel 2
Hieroglyphic Group, Northwest Building
Sculptured stone in east wall, south wing-Fragment 1
Hieroglyphic Group, Middle Building
North doorway, west jamb-Jamb 3
South doorway, west jamb-Jamb 4
South doorway, corbel of west jamb-Capital 4 South doorway, east jamb-Jamb 5
South doorway, corbel of east jamb-Capital 5 South doorway, west column-Column 3 South doorway, east column-Column 4
East inner doorway, inscription-Miscellaneous 5
Hieroglyphic Group, South Building
North facade, medial molding-Cornice 1 North doorway, lintel-Lintel 2
North doorway, east panel-Panel 3
North doorway, west panel-Panel 4
North doorway, east column-Column 5 North doorway, west column-Column 6
side, inner doorway, east human panel-Panel 5 North side, inner
doorway, east glyphic panel-Panel 6 North side, inner doorway, west
human panel-Panel 7 North side, inner doorway, west glyphic panel-Panel
8 North side, inner doorway, lintel-Lintel 3
North side, inner doorway, east jamb-Jamb 6
North side, inner doorway, west jamb-Jamb 7
South side, lintel-Lintel 4
South side, west jamb-Jamb 8
South side, east jamb-Jamb 9