Oxkintok "Three Flint Suns"
Oxkintok Travel Blog› entry 5 of 25 › view all entries
October 17th, 2009 – by: geokid
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. Occupation of Oxkintok began in the Pre-Classic period prior to 300 BC and continued until some time after 1500 AD. The hieroglyphic inscriptions found at the site contain dates, some of which are the oldest known in Yucatan.
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. Some archaeologist think of this site as a transition from traditional Classic Period architecture to Puuc Veneer masonry style. Oxkintok also exhibits a type of "talud-tablero" veneers which is thought to be an influence from Teotihuacan in Central Mexico.
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. It has been speculated that it might have served as a mausoleum, or represented the three levels of the Mayan world-view, or may have been built as a man-made cave. It is easy to get lost as you wander through the rooms.
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. Museum admission is $39 pesos.
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 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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