Chichen Itza Timeline

Chichen Itza Timeline


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Maya civilization

100 The decline of the Olmecs. 400 The Maya highlands fall under the domination of Teotihuacan, and the disintegration of Maya culture and language begins in some parts of the highlands. 500 The Maya city of Tikal becomes the first great Maya city, as citizens from Teotihuacan make their way to Tikal, introducing new ideas involving weaponry, captives, ritual practices and human sacrifice. 600 An unknown event destroys the civilization at Teotihuacan, along with the empire it supported. Tikal becomes the largest city-state in Mesoamerica, with as many as 500,000 inhabitants within the city and its hinterland. 683 The Emperor Pacal dies at the age of 80 and is buried in the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque. 751 Long-standing Maya alliances begin to break down. Trade between Maya city-states declines, and inter-state conflict increases. 869 Construction ceases in Tikal, marking the beginning of the city's decline. 899 Tikal is abandoned. 900 The Classic Period of Maya history ends, with the collapse of the southern lowland cities. Maya cities in the northern Yucatán continue to thrive. 1200 Northern Maya cities begin to be abandoned. 1224 The city of Chichén Itzá is abandoned by the Toltecs. A people known as the Uicil-abnal, which later takes the name Itzá, settles in the desolate city. 1244 The Itzá abandon Chichén Itzá for reasons unknown. 1263 The Itzá begin building the city of Mayapán. 1283 Mayapán becomes the capital of Yucatán. 1441 There is a rebellion within Mayapán and the city is abandoned by 1461. Shortly after this, Yucatán degenerates from a single united kingdom into sixteen rival statelets, each anxious to become the most powerful. 1511 A Spaniard named Gonzalo Guerrero is shipwrecked and washed up on the eastern shore of Yucatán. He defects to the Maya, tattooing his face, piercing his ears and marrying into a Maya noble family. Guerrero later becomes an implacable foe of the Spaniards and does much to help the Maya resist Spanish rule in Yucatán. 1517 The Spanish first arrive on the shores of Yucatán under Hernandez de Cordoba, who later dies of wounds received in battle against the Maya. The arrival of the Spanish ushers in Old World diseases unknown among the Maya, including smallpox, influenza and measles. Within a century, 90 per cent of Mesoamerica's native populations will be killed off. 1519 Hernán Cortés begins exploring Yucatán. 1524 Cortés meets the Itzá people, the last of the Maya peoples to remain unconquered by the Spanish. The Spanish leave the Itzá alone until the seventeenth century. 1528 The Spanish under Francisco de Montejo begin their conquest of the northern Maya. The Maya fight back with surprising vigour, keeping the Spanish at bay for several years. 1541 The Spanish are finally able to subdue the Maya and put an end to Maya resistance. Revolt continues, however, to plague the Spaniards off and on for the rest of the century. 1542 The Spanish establish a capital city at Mérida in Yucatán. 1695 The ruins of Tikal are discovered by chance by the Spanish priest Father Avedaño and his companions, who had become lost in the jungle. 1712 The Maya of the Chiapas highlands rise against the Mexican government. They will continue to do so off and on until the 1990s. 1724 The Spanish Crown abolishes the system of encomienda, which had given Spanish land barons the right to forced Maya labour, as long as they agreed to convert the Maya to Christianity. 1821 Mexico becomes independent from Spain. In general, life becomes more tolerable for the Maya than it had been under Spanish rule. 1822 An account of Antonío del Río's late eighteenth-century explorations of Palenque is published in London. The book raises a great deal of interest in further exploration of the "lost" Maya civilization and settlements. 1839 American diplomat and lawyer John Lloyd Stephens and English topographical artist Frederick Catherwood begin a series of explorations into Maya regions, revealing the full splendour of classical Maya civilization to the world for the first time. 1847 The Yucatán Maya rise up against the Mexican government, rebelling against the miserable conditions and cruelty they have suffered at the hands of the whites. The rebellion is so successful that the Maya almost manage to take over the entire peninsula in what has become known as the War of the Castes. 1850 A miraculous "talking cross" in a village in central Quintana Roo predicts a holy war against the whites. Bolstered by arms received from the British in Belize, the Maya form into quasi-military companies inspired by messianic zeal. The fighting continues until 1901. 1860 The Yucatán Maya rebel again. 1864 Workmen digging a canal on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala discover a jade plaque inscribed with a date of A.D. 320. The plaque becomes one of the oldest known objects dated in the Maya fashion. 1880 A new tide of government intervention in Maya life begins as governments attempt to force the Maya to become labourers on cash-crop plantations. This destroys many aspects of Maya cultural traditions and agricultural methods preserved over 4,000 years. Towns which had been protected for the Maya soon become a haven for mixed-race ladinos who prey economically on the indigenous Maya and usurp all positions of social and economic power. 1910 Rampant government corruption leads to the Mexican Revolution. 1946 American photographer Giles Healey is taken to the Maya city of Bonampak by the native Lacandón who live nearby. Healey becomes the first non-Maya ever to see Bonampak's stunning wall-paintings, which reveal new details about Maya civilization. 1952 The Priest-king Pacal's tomb at Palenque is discovered and excavated by Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz, marking the first time a tomb has been found inside a Maya pyramid. Prior to this, Maya pyramids were believed to be temples with a purely religious or ceremonial purpose. 1962 Maya hieroglyphic signs are first catalogued. Uncontrolled looting of Maya tombs and other sites begins around this time in the southern lowlands, continuing until well into the 1970s. 1992 A Quiché Maya woman from Guatemala named Rigoberta Menchu, who has lost most of her family to the death squads and is known for speaking out against the extermination of the Maya, wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Contents

The Maya name "Chichen Itza" means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza." This derives from chi', meaning "mouth" or "edge", and chʼen or chʼeʼen, meaning "well". Itzá is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula. One possible translation for Itza is "enchanter (or enchantment) of the water," [5] from its (itz), "sorcerer", and ha, "water". [6]

The name is spelled Chichén Itzá in Spanish, and the accents are sometimes maintained in other languages to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllable. Other references prefer the Maya orthography, Chichʼen Itzaʼ (pronounced [tʃitʃʼen itsáʔ] ). This form preserves the phonemic distinction between chʼ and ch, since the base word chʼeʼen (which, however, is not stressed in Maya) begins with a postalveolar ejective affricate consonant. The word "Itzaʼ" has a high tone on the "a" followed by a glottal stop (indicated by the apostrophe). [ citation needed ]

Evidence in the Chilam Balam books indicates another, earlier name for this city prior to the arrival of the Itza hegemony in northern Yucatán. While most sources agree the first word means seven, there is considerable debate as to the correct translation of the rest. This earlier name is difficult to define because of the absence of a single standard of orthography, but it is represented variously as Uuc Yabnal ("Seven Great House"), [7] Uuc Hab Nal ("Seven Bushy Places"), [8] Uucyabnal ("Seven Great Rulers") [2] or Uc Abnal ("Seven Lines of Abnal"). [nb 3] This name, dating to the Late Classic Period, is recorded both in the book of Chilam Balam de Chumayel and in hieroglyphic texts in the ruins. [9]

Chichen Itza is located in the eastern portion of Yucatán state in Mexico. [10] The northern Yucatán Peninsula is karst, and the rivers in the interior all run underground. There are four visible, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. Of these cenotes, the "Cenote Sagrado" or Sacred Cenote (also variously known as the Sacred Well or Well of Sacrifice), is the most famous. [11] In 2015, scientists determined that there is a hidden cenote under Kukulkan, which has never been seen by archeologists. [12]

According to post-Conquest sources (Maya and Spanish), pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, and recovered artifacts of gold, jade, pottery and incense, as well as human remains. [11] A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice. [13]

Several archeologists in the late 1980s suggested that unlike previous Maya polities of the Early Classic, Chichen Itza may not have been governed by an individual ruler or a single dynastic lineage. Instead, the city's political organization could have been structured by a "multepal" system, which is characterized as rulership through council composed of members of elite ruling lineages. [14]

This theory was popular in the 1990s, but in recent years, the research that supported the concept of the "multepal" system has been called into question, if not discredited. The current belief trend in Maya scholarship is toward the more traditional model of the Maya kingdoms of the Classic Period southern lowlands in Mexico. [15]

Chichen Itza was a major economic power in the northern Maya lowlands during its apogee. [16] Participating in the water-borne circum-peninsular trade route through its port site of Isla Cerritos on the north coast, [17] Chichen Itza was able to obtain locally unavailable resources from distant areas such as obsidian from central Mexico and gold from southern Central America.

Between AD 900 and 1050 Chichen Itza expanded to become a powerful regional capital controlling north and central Yucatán. It established Isla Cerritos as a trading port. [18]

The layout of Chichen Itza site core developed during its earlier phase of occupation, between 750 and 900 AD. [19] Its final layout was developed after 900 AD, and the 10th century saw the rise of the city as a regional capital controlling the area from central Yucatán to the north coast, with its power extending down the east and west coasts of the peninsula. [20] The earliest hieroglyphic date discovered at Chichen Itza is equivalent to 832 AD, while the last known date was recorded in the Osario temple in 998. [21]

Establishment

The Late Classic city was centered upon the area to the southwest of the Xtoloc cenote, with the main architecture represented by the substructures now underlying the Las Monjas and Observatorio and the basal platform upon which they were built. [22]

Ascendancy

Chichen Itza rose to regional prominence toward the end of the Early Classic period (roughly 600 AD). It was, however, toward the end of the Late Classic and into the early part of the Terminal Classic that the site became a major regional capital, centralizing and dominating political, sociocultural, economic, and ideological life in the northern Maya lowlands. The ascension of Chichen Itza roughly correlates with the decline and fragmentation of the major centers of the southern Maya lowlands.

As Chichen Itza rose to prominence, the cities of Yaxuna (to the south) and Coba (to the east) were suffering decline. These two cities had been mutual allies, with Yaxuna dependent upon Coba. At some point in the 10th century Coba lost a significant portion of its territory, isolating Yaxuna, and Chichen Itza may have directly contributed to the collapse of both cities. [23]

Decline

According to some colonial Mayan sources (e.g., the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel), Hunac Ceel, ruler of Mayapan, conquered Chichen Itza in the 13th century. Hunac Ceel supposedly prophesied his own rise to power. According to custom at the time, individuals thrown into the Cenote Sagrado were believed to have the power of prophecy if they survived. During one such ceremony, the chronicles state, there were no survivors, so Hunac Ceel leaped into the Cenote Sagrado, and when removed, prophesied his own ascension.

While there is some archeological evidence that indicates Chichén Itzá was at one time looted and sacked, [24] there appears to be greater evidence that it could not have been by Mayapan, at least not when Chichén Itzá was an active urban center. Archeological data now indicates that Chichen Itza declined as a regional center by 1100, before the rise of Mayapan. Ongoing research at the site of Mayapan may help resolve this chronological conundrum.

After Chichén Itzá elite activities ceased, the city may not have been abandoned. When the Spanish arrived, they found a thriving local population, although it is not clear from Spanish sources if these Maya were living in Chichen Itza proper, or a nearby settlement. The relatively high population density in the region was a factor in the conquistadors' decision to locate a capital there. [25] According to post-Conquest sources, both Spanish and Maya, the Cenote Sagrado remained a place of pilgrimage. [26]

Spanish conquest

In 1526 Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo (a veteran of the Grijalva and Cortés expeditions) successfully petitioned the King of Spain for a charter to conquer Yucatán. His first campaign in 1527, which covered much of the Yucatán Peninsula, decimated his forces but ended with the establishment of a small fort at Xaman Haʼ, south of what is today Cancún. Montejo returned to Yucatán in 1531 with reinforcements and established his main base at Campeche on the west coast. [27] He sent his son, Francisco Montejo The Younger, in late 1532 to conquer the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula from the north. The objective from the beginning was to go to Chichén Itzá and establish a capital. [28]

Montejo the Younger eventually arrived at Chichen Itza, which he renamed Ciudad Real. At first he encountered no resistance, and set about dividing the lands around the city and awarding them to his soldiers. The Maya became more hostile over time, and eventually they laid siege to the Spanish, cutting off their supply line to the coast, and forcing them to barricade themselves among the ruins of the ancient city. Months passed, but no reinforcements arrived. Montejo the Younger attempted an all out assault against the Maya and lost 150 of his remaining troops. He was forced to abandon Chichén Itzá in 1534 under cover of darkness. By 1535, all Spanish had been driven from the Yucatán Peninsula. [29]

Montejo eventually returned to Yucatán and, by recruiting Maya from Campeche and Champoton, built a large Indio-Spanish army and conquered the peninsula. [30] The Spanish crown later issued a land grant that included Chichen Itza and by 1588 it was a working cattle ranch. [31]

Modern history

Chichen Itza entered the popular imagination in 1843 with the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens (with illustrations by Frederick Catherwood). The book recounted Stephens' visit to Yucatán and his tour of Maya cities, including Chichén Itzá. The book prompted other explorations of the city. In 1860, Désiré Charnay surveyed Chichén Itzá and took numerous photographs that he published in Cités et ruines américaines (1863).

Visitors to Chichén Itzá during the 1870s and 1880s came with photographic equipment and recorded more accurately the condition of several buildings. [32] In 1875, Augustus Le Plongeon and his wife Alice Dixon Le Plongeon visited Chichén, and excavated a statue of a figure on its back, knees drawn up, upper torso raised on its elbows with a plate on its stomach. Augustus Le Plongeon called it "Chaacmol" (later renamed "Chac Mool", which has been the term to describe all types of this statuary found in Mesoamerica). Teobert Maler and Alfred Maudslay explored Chichén in the 1880s and both spent several weeks at the site and took extensive photographs. Maudslay published the first long-form description of Chichen Itza in his book, Biologia Centrali-Americana.

In 1894 the United States Consul to Yucatán, Edward Herbert Thompson, purchased the Hacienda Chichén, which included the ruins of Chichen Itza. For 30 years, Thompson explored the ancient city. His discoveries included the earliest dated carving upon a lintel in the Temple of the Initial Series and the excavation of several graves in the Osario (High Priest's Temple). Thompson is most famous for dredging the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote) from 1904 to 1910, where he recovered artifacts of gold, copper and carved jade, as well as the first-ever examples of what were believed to be pre-Columbian Maya cloth and wooden weapons. Thompson shipped the bulk of the artifacts to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

In 1913, the Carnegie Institution accepted the proposal of archeologist Sylvanus G. Morley and committed to conduct long-term archeological research at Chichen Itza. [33] The Mexican Revolution and the following government instability, as well as World War I, delayed the project by a decade. [34]

In 1923, the Mexican government awarded the Carnegie Institution a 10-year permit (later extended another 10 years) to allow U.S. archeologists to conduct extensive excavation and restoration of Chichen Itza. [35] Carnegie researchers excavated and restored the Temple of Warriors and the Caracol, among other major buildings. At the same time, the Mexican government excavated and restored El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcán) and the Great Ball Court. [36]

In 1926, the Mexican government charged Edward Thompson with theft, claiming he stole the artifacts from the Cenote Sagrado and smuggled them out of the country. The government seized the Hacienda Chichén. Thompson, who was in the United States at the time, never returned to Yucatán. He wrote about his research and investigations of the Maya culture in a book People of the Serpent published in 1932. He died in New Jersey in 1935. In 1944 the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that Thompson had broken no laws and returned Chichen Itza to his heirs. The Thompsons sold the hacienda to tourism pioneer Fernando Barbachano Peon. [37]

There have been two later expeditions to recover artifacts from the Cenote Sagrado, in 1961 and 1967. The first was sponsored by the National Geographic, and the second by private interests. Both projects were supervised by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). INAH has conducted an ongoing effort to excavate and restore other monuments in the archeological zone, including the Osario, Akab Dzib, and several buildings in Chichén Viejo (Old Chichen).

In 2009, to investigate construction that predated El Castillo, Yucatec archeologists began excavations adjacent to El Castillo under the direction of Rafael (Rach) Cobos.

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, with the relatively densely clustered architecture of the site core covering an area of at least 5 square kilometers (1.9 sq mi). [2] Smaller scale residential architecture extends for an unknown distance beyond this. [2] The city was built upon broken terrain, which was artificially levelled in order to build the major architectural groups, with the greatest effort being expended in the levelling of the areas for the Castillo pyramid, and the Las Monjas, Osario and Main Southwest groups. [10]

The site contains many fine stone buildings in various states of preservation, and many have been restored. The buildings were connected by a dense network of paved causeways, called sacbeob. [nb 4] Archeologists have identified over 80 sacbeob criss-crossing the site, [10] and extending in all directions from the city. [38] Many of these stone buildings were originally painted in red, green, blue and purple colors. Pigments were chosen according to what was most easily available in the area. The site must be imagined as a colorful one, not like it is today. Just like gothic cathedrals in Europe, colors provided a greater sense of completeness and contributed greatly to the symbolic impact of the buildings. [39]

The architecture encompasses a number of styles, including the Puuc and Chenes styles of the northern Yucatán Peninsula. [2] The buildings of Chichen Itza are grouped in a series of architectonic sets, and each set was at one time separated from the other by a series of low walls. The three best known of these complexes are the Great North Platform, which includes the monuments of the Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo), Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court The Osario Group, which includes the pyramid of the same name as well as the Temple of Xtoloc and the Central Group, which includes the Caracol, Las Monjas, and Akab Dzib.

South of Las Monjas, in an area known as Chichén Viejo (Old Chichén) and only open to archeologists, are several other complexes, such as the Group of the Initial Series, Group of the Lintels, and Group of the Old Castle.

Architectural styles

The Puuc-style architecture is concentrated in the Old Chichen area, and also the earlier structures in the Nunnery Group (including the Las Monjas, Annex and La Iglesia buildings) it is also represented in the Akab Dzib structure. [40] The Puuc-style building feature the usual mosaic-decorated upper façades characteristic of the style but differ from the architecture of the Puuc heartland in their block masonry walls, as opposed to the fine veneers of the Puuc region proper. [41]

At least one structure in the Las Monjas Group features an ornate façade and masked doorway that are typical examples of Chenes-style architecture, a style centered upon a region in the north of Campeche state, lying between the Puuc and Río Bec regions. [42] [43]

Those structures with sculpted hieroglyphic script are concentrated in certain areas of the site, with the most important being the Las Monjas group. [21]

Architectural groups

Great North Platform

Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo)

Dominating the North Platform of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulcán (a Maya feathered serpent deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl). The temple was identified by the first Spaniards to see it, as El Castillo ("the castle"), and it regularly is referred to as such. [44] This step pyramid stands about 30 meters (98 ft) high and consists of a series of nine square terraces, each approximately 2.57 meters (8.4 ft) high, with a 6-meter (20 ft) high temple upon the summit. [45]

The sides of the pyramid are approximately 55.3 meters (181 ft) at the base and rise at an angle of 53°, although that varies slightly for each side. [45] The four faces of the pyramid have protruding stairways that rise at an angle of 45°. [45] The talud walls of each terrace slant at an angle of between 72° and 74°. [45] At the base of the balustrades of the northeastern staircase are carved heads of a serpent. [46]

Mesoamerican cultures periodically superimposed larger structures over older ones, [47] and the Temple of Kukulcán is one such example. [48] In the mid-1930s, the Mexican government sponsored an excavation of the temple. After several false starts, they discovered a staircase under the north side of the pyramid. By digging from the top, they found another temple buried below the current one. [49]

Inside the temple chamber was a Chac Mool statue and a throne in the shape of Jaguar, painted red and with spots made of inlaid jade. [49] The Mexican government excavated a tunnel from the base of the north staircase, up the earlier pyramid's stairway to the hidden temple, and opened it to tourists. In 2006, INAH closed the throne room to the public. [50]

Around the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent deity, Kukulcán. [51] It is a widespread belief that this light-and-shadow effect was achieved on purpose to record the equinoxes, but the idea is highly unlikely: it has been shown that the phenomenon can be observed, without major changes, during several weeks around the equinoxes, making it impossible to determine any date by observing this effect alone. [52]

Great Ball Court

Archeologists have identified thirteen ballcourts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in Chichen Itza, [53] but the Great Ball Court about 150 meters (490 ft) to the north-west of the Castillo is by far the most impressive. It is the largest and best preserved ball court in ancient Mesoamerica. [44] It measures 168 by 70 meters (551 by 230 ft). [54]

The parallel platforms flanking the main playing area are each 95 meters (312 ft) long. [54] The walls of these platforms stand 8 meters (26 ft) high [54] set high up in the center of each of these walls are rings carved with intertwined feathered serpents. [54] [nb 5]

At the base of the high interior walls are slanted benches with sculpted panels of teams of ball players. [44] In one panel, one of the players has been decapitated the wound emits streams of blood in the form of wriggling snakes. [55]

At one end of the Great Ball Court is the North Temple, also known as the Temple of the Bearded Man (Templo del Hombre Barbado). [56] This small masonry building has detailed bas relief carving on the inner walls, including a center figure that has carving under his chin that resembles facial hair. [57] At the south end is another, much bigger temple, but in ruins.

Built into the east wall are the Temples of the Jaguar. The Upper Temple of the Jaguar overlooks the ball court and has an entrance guarded by two, large columns carved in the familiar feathered serpent motif. Inside there is a large mural, much destroyed, which depicts a battle scene.

In the entrance to the Lower Temple of the Jaguar, which opens behind the ball court, is another Jaguar throne, similar to the one in the inner temple of El Castillo, except that it is well worn and missing paint or other decoration. The outer columns and the walls inside the temple are covered with elaborate bas-relief carvings.

Additional structures

The Tzompantli, or Skull Platform (Plataforma de los Cráneos), shows the clear cultural influence of the central Mexican Plateau. Unlike the tzompantli of the highlands, however, the skulls were impaled vertically rather than horizontally as at Tenochtitlan. [44]

The Platform of the Eagles and the Jaguars (Plataforma de Águilas y Jaguares) is immediately to the east of the Great Ballcourt. [56] It is built in a combination Maya and Toltec styles, with a staircase ascending each of its four sides. [44] The sides are decorated with panels depicting eagles and jaguars consuming human hearts. [44]

This Platform of Venus is dedicated to the planet Venus. [44] In its interior archeologists discovered a collection of large cones carved out of stone, [44] the purpose of which is unknown. This platform is located north of El Castillo, between it and the Cenote Sagrado. [56]

The Temple of the Tables is the northernmost of a series of buildings to the east of El Castillo. Its name comes from a series of altars at the top of the structure that are supported by small carved figures of men with upraised arms, called "atlantes."

The Steam Bath is a unique building with three parts: a waiting gallery, a water bath, and a steam chamber that operated by means of heated stones.

Sacbe Number One is a causeway that leads to the Cenote Sagrado, is the largest and most elaborate at Chichen Itza. This "white road" is 270 meters (890 ft) long with an average width of 9 meters (30 ft). It begins at a low wall a few meters from the Platform of Venus. According to archeologists there once was an extensive building with columns at the beginning of the road.

Sacred Cenote

The Yucatán Peninsula is a limestone plain, with no rivers or streams. The region is pockmarked with natural sinkholes, called cenotes, which expose the water table to the surface. One of the most impressive of these is the Cenote Sagrado, which is 60 meters (200 ft) in diameter [58] and surrounded by sheer cliffs that drop to the water table some 27 meters (89 ft) below.

The Cenote Sagrado was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Maya people who, according to ethnohistoric sources, would conduct sacrifices during times of drought. [58] Archeological investigations support this as thousands of objects have been removed from the bottom of the cenote, including material such as gold, carved jade, copal, pottery, flint, obsidian, shell, wood, rubber, cloth, as well as skeletons of children and men. [58] [59]

Temple of the Warriors

The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. This complex is analogous to Temple B at the Toltec capital of Tula, and indicates some form of cultural contact between the two regions. The one at Chichen Itza, however, was constructed on a larger scale. At the top of the stairway on the pyramid's summit (and leading toward the entrance of the pyramid's temple) is a Chac Mool.

This temple encases or entombs a former structure called The Temple of the Chac Mool. The archeological expedition and restoration of this building was done by the Carnegie Institution of Washington from 1925 to 1928. A key member of this restoration was Earl H. Morris, who published the work from this expedition in two volumes entitled Temple of the Warriors. Watercolors were made of murals in the Temple of the Warriors that were deteriorating rapidly following exposure to the elements after enduring for centuries in the protected enclosures being discovered. Many depict battle scenes and some even have tantalizing images that lend themselves to speculation and debate by prominent Maya scholars, such as Michael D. Coe and Mary Miller, regarding possible contact with Viking sailors. [60]

Group of a Thousand Columns

Along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors are a series of what are today exposed columns, although when the city was inhabited these would have supported an extensive roof system. The columns are in three distinct sections: A west group, that extends the lines of the front of the Temple of Warriors. A north group runs along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors and contains pillars with carvings of soldiers in bas-relief

A northeast group, which apparently formed a small temple at the southeast corner of the Temple of Warriors, contains a rectangular decorated with carvings of people or gods, as well as animals and serpents. The northeast column temple also covers a small marvel of engineering, a channel that funnels all the rainwater from the complex some 40 meters (130 ft) away to a rejollada, a former cenote.

To the south of the Group of a Thousand Columns is a group of three, smaller, interconnected buildings. The Temple of the Carved Columns is a small elegant building that consists of a front gallery with an inner corridor that leads to an altar with a Chac Mool. There are also numerous columns with rich, bas-relief carvings of some 40 personages.

A section of the upper façade with a motif of x's and o's is displayed in front of the structure. The Temple of the Small Tables which is an unrestored mound. And the Thompson's Temple (referred to in some sources as Palace of Ahau Balam Kauil ), a small building with two levels that has friezes depicting Jaguars (balam in Maya) as well as glyphs of the Maya god Kahuil.

El Mercado

This square structure anchors the southern end of the Temple of Warriors complex. It is so named for the shelf of stone that surrounds a large gallery and patio that early explorers theorized was used to display wares as in a marketplace. Today, archeologists believe that its purpose was more ceremonial than commercial.

Osario Group

South of the North Group is a smaller platform that has many important structures, several of which appear to be oriented toward the second largest cenote at Chichen Itza, Xtoloc.

The Osario itself, like the Temple of Kukulkan, is a step-pyramid temple dominating its platform, only on a smaller scale. Like its larger neighbor, it has four sides with staircases on each side. There is a temple on top, but unlike Kukulkan, at the center is an opening into the pyramid that leads to a natural cave 12 meters (39 ft) below. Edward H. Thompson excavated this cave in the late 19th century, and because he found several skeletons and artifacts such as jade beads, he named the structure The High Priests' Temple. Archeologists today believe neither that the structure was a tomb nor that the personages buried in it were priests.

The Temple of Xtoloc is a recently restored temple outside the Osario Platform is. It overlooks the other large cenote at Chichen Itza, named after the Maya word for iguana, "Xtoloc." The temple contains a series of pilasters carved with images of people, as well as representations of plants, birds, and mythological scenes.

Between the Xtoloc temple and the Osario are several aligned structures: The Platform of Venus, which is similar in design to the structure of the same name next to Kukulkan (El Castillo), the Platform of the Tombs, and a small, round structure that is unnamed. These three structures were constructed in a row extending from the Osario. Beyond them the Osario platform terminates in a wall, which contains an opening to a sacbe that runs several hundred feet to the Xtoloc temple.

South of the Osario, at the boundary of the platform, there are two small buildings that archeologists believe were residences for important personages. These have been named as the House of the Metates and the House of the Mestizas.

Casa Colorada Group

South of the Osario Group is another small platform that has several structures that are among the oldest in the Chichen Itza archeological zone.

The Casa Colorada (Spanish for "Red House") is one of the best preserved buildings at Chichen Itza. Its Maya name is Chichanchob, which according to INAH may mean "small holes". In one chamber there are extensive carved hieroglyphs that mention rulers of Chichen Itza and possibly of the nearby city of Ek Balam, and contain a Maya date inscribed which correlates to 869 AD, one of the oldest such dates found in all of Chichen Itza.

In 2009, INAH restored a small ball court that adjoined the back wall of the Casa Colorada. [61]

While the Casa Colorada is in a good state of preservation, other buildings in the group, with one exception, are decrepit mounds. One building is half standing, named La Casa del Venado (House of the Deer). This building's name has been long used by the local Maya, and some authors mention that it was named after a deer painting over stucco that doesn't exist anymore. [62]

Central Group

Las Monjas is one of the more notable structures at Chichen Itza. It is a complex of Terminal Classic buildings constructed in the Puuc architectural style. The Spanish named this complex Las Monjas ("The Nuns" or "The Nunnery"), but it was a governmental palace. Just to the east is a small temple (known as the La Iglesia, "The Church") decorated with elaborate masks. [44] [63]

The Las Monjas group is distinguished by its concentration of hieroglyphic texts dating to the Late to Terminal Classic. These texts frequently mention a ruler by the name of Kʼakʼupakal. [21] [64]

El Caracol ("The Snail") is located to the north of Las Monjas. It is a round building on a large square platform. It gets its name from the stone spiral staircase inside. The structure, with its unusual placement on the platform and its round shape (the others are rectangular, in keeping with Maya practice), is theorized to have been a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus as it traverses the heavens. [65]

Akab Dzib is located to the east of the Caracol. The name means, in Yucatec Mayan, "Dark Writing" "dark" in the sense of "mysterious". An earlier name of the building, according to a translation of glyphs in the Casa Colorada, is Wa(k)wak Puh Ak Na, "the flat house with the excessive number of chambers", and it was the home of the administrator of Chichén Itzá, kokom Yahawal Choʼ Kʼakʼ. [66]

INAH completed a restoration of the building in 2007. It is relatively short, only 6 meters (20 ft) high, and is 50 meters (160 ft) in length and 15 meters (49 ft) wide. The long, western-facing façade has seven doorways. The eastern façade has only four doorways, broken by a large staircase that leads to the roof. This apparently was the front of the structure, and looks out over what is today a steep, dry, cenote.

The southern end of the building has one entrance. The door opens into a small chamber and on the opposite wall is another doorway, above which on the lintel are intricately carved glyphs—the "mysterious" or "obscure" writing that gives the building its name today. Under the lintel in the doorjamb is another carved panel of a seated figure surrounded by more glyphs. Inside one of the chambers, near the ceiling, is a painted hand print.

Old Chichen

Old Chichen (or Chichén Viejo in Spanish) is the name given to a group of structures to the south of the central site, where most of the Puuc-style architecture of the city is concentrated. [2] It includes the Initial Series Group, the Phallic Temple, the Platform of the Great Turtle, the Temple of the Owls, and the Temple of the Monkeys.

Other structures

Chichen Itza also has a variety of other structures densely packed in the ceremonial center of about 5 square kilometers (1.9 sq mi) and several outlying subsidiary sites.

Caves of Balankanche

Approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) south east of the Chichen Itza archeological zone are a network of sacred caves known as Balankanche (Spanish: Gruta de Balankanche), Balamkaʼancheʼ in Yucatec Maya). In the caves, a large selection of ancient pottery and idols may be seen still in the positions where they were left in pre-Columbian times.

The location of the cave has been well known in modern times. Edward Thompson and Alfred Tozzer visited it in 1905. A.S. Pearse and a team of biologists explored the cave in 1932 and 1936. E. Wyllys Andrews IV also explored the cave in the 1930s. Edwin Shook and R.E. Smith explored the cave on behalf of the Carnegie Institution in 1954, and dug several trenches to recover potsherds and other artifacts. Shook determined that the cave had been inhabited over a long period, at least from the Preclassic to the post-conquest era. [67]

On 15 September 1959, José Humberto Gómez, a local guide, discovered a false wall in the cave. Behind it he found an extended network of caves with significant quantities of undisturbed archeological remains, including pottery and stone-carved censers, stone implements and jewelry. INAH converted the cave into an underground museum, and the objects after being catalogued were returned to their original place so visitors can see them in situ. [68]

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico in 2017 it was estimated to have received 2.1 million visitors. [69]

Tourism has been a factor at Chichen Itza for more than a century. John Lloyd Stephens, who popularized the Maya Yucatán in the public's imagination with his book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, inspired many to make a pilgrimage to Chichén Itzá. Even before the book was published, Benjamin Norman and Baron Emanuel von Friedrichsthal traveled to Chichen after meeting Stephens, and both published the results of what they found. Friedrichsthal was the first to photograph Chichen Itza, using the recently invented daguerreotype. [70]

After Edward Thompson in 1894 purchased the Hacienda Chichén, which included Chichen Itza, he received a constant stream of visitors. In 1910 he announced his intention to construct a hotel on his property, but abandoned those plans, probably because of the Mexican Revolution.

In the early 1920s, a group of Yucatecans, led by writer/photographer Francisco Gomez Rul, began working toward expanding tourism to Yucatán. They urged Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto to build roads to the more famous monuments, including Chichen Itza. In 1923, Governor Carrillo Puerto officially opened the highway to Chichen Itza. Gomez Rul published one of the first guidebooks to Yucatán and the ruins.

Gomez Rul's son-in-law, Fernando Barbachano Peon (a grandnephew of former Yucatán Governor Miguel Barbachano), started Yucatán's first official tourism business in the early 1920s. He began by meeting passengers who arrived by steamship at Progreso, the port north of Mérida, and persuading them to spend a week in Yucatán, after which they would catch the next steamship to their next destination. In his first year Barbachano Peon reportedly was only able to convince seven passengers to leave the ship and join him on a tour. In the mid-1920s Barbachano Peon persuaded Edward Thompson to sell 5 acres (20,000 m 2 ) next to Chichen for a hotel. In 1930, the Mayaland Hotel opened, just north of the Hacienda Chichén, which had been taken over by the Carnegie Institution. [71]

In 1944, Barbachano Peon purchased all of the Hacienda Chichén, including Chichen Itza, from the heirs of Edward Thompson. [37] Around that same time the Carnegie Institution completed its work at Chichen Itza and abandoned the Hacienda Chichén, which Barbachano turned into another seasonal hotel.

In 1972, Mexico enacted the Ley Federal Sobre Monumentos y Zonas Arqueológicas, Artísticas e Históricas (Federal Law over Monuments and Archeological, Artistic and Historic Sites) that put all the nation's pre-Columbian monuments, including those at Chichen Itza, under federal ownership. [72] There were now hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors every year to Chichen Itza, and more were expected with the development of the Cancún resort area to the east.

In the 1980s, Chichen Itza began to receive an influx of visitors on the day of the spring equinox. Today several thousand show up to see the light-and-shadow effect on the Temple of Kukulcán during which the feathered serpent appears to crawl down the side of the pyramid. [nb 6] Tour guides will also demonstrate a unique the acoustical effect at Chichen Itza: a handclap before the in front of the staircase the El Castillo pyramid will produce by an echo that resembles the chirp of a bird, similar to that of the quetzal as investigated by Declercq. [73]

Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the second-most visited of Mexico's archeological sites. [74] The archeological site draws many visitors from the popular tourist resort of Cancún, who make a day trip on tour buses.

In 2007, Chichen Itza's Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo) was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote. Despite the fact that the vote was sponsored by a commercial enterprise, and that its methodology was criticized, the vote was embraced by government and tourism officials in Mexico who projected that as a result of the publicity the number of tourists to Chichen would double by 2012. [nb 7] [75] The ensuing publicity re-ignited debate in Mexico over the ownership of the site, which culminated on 29 March 2010 when the state of Yucatán purchased the land upon which the most recognized monuments rest from owner Hans Juergen Thies Barbachano. [76]

INAH, which manages the site, has closed a number of monuments to public access. While visitors can walk around them, they can no longer climb them or go inside their chambers. Climbing access to El Castillo was closed after a San Diego, California, woman fell to her death in 2006. [50]


Chichén Itzá

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Chichén Itzá, ruined ancient Maya city occupying an area of 4 square miles (10 square km) in south-central Yucatán state, Mexico. It is thought to have been a religious, military, political, and commercial centre that at its peak would have been home to 35,000 people. The site first saw settlers in 550, probably drawn there because of the easy access to water in the region via caves and sinkholes in limestone formations, known as cenotes.

Chichén Itzá is located some 90 miles (150 km) east-northeast of Uxmal and 75 miles (120 km) east-southeast of the modern city of Mérida. The only source of water in the arid region around the site is from the cenotes. Two big cenotes on the site made it a suitable place for the city and gave it its name, from chi (“mouths”), chen (“wells”), and Itzá, the name of the Maya tribe that settled there. Chichén Itzá was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

Chichén was founded about the 6th century ce , presumably by Maya peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula who had occupied the region since the Pre-Classic, or Formative, Period (1500 bce –300 ce ). The principal early buildings are in an architectural style known as Puuc, which shows a number of divergences from the styles of the southern lowlands. These earliest structures are to the south of the Main Plaza and include the Akabtzib (“House of the Dark Writing”), the Chichanchob (“Red House”), the Iglesia (“Church”), the Casa de las Monjas (“Nunnery”), and the observatory El Caracol (“The Snail”). There is evidence that, in the 10th century, after the collapse of the Maya cities of the southern lowlands, Chichén was invaded by foreigners, probably Maya speakers who had been strongly influenced by—and perhaps were under the direction of—the Toltec of central Mexico. These invaders may have been the Itzá for whom the site is named some authorities, however, believe the Itzá arrived 200 to 300 years later.

In any event, the invaders were responsible for the construction of such major buildings as El Castillo (“The Castle”), a pyramid that rises 79 feet (24 metres) above the Main Plaza. El Castillo has four sides, each with 91 stairs and facing a cardinal direction including the step on the top platform, these combine for a total of 365 steps—the number of days in the solar year. During the spring and autumnal equinoxes, shadows cast by the setting sun give the appearance of a snake undulating down the stairways. A carving of a plumed serpent at the top of the pyramid is symbolic of Quetzalcóatl (known to the Maya as Kukulcán), one of the major deities of the ancient Mesoamerican pantheon. Excavations within the nine-platform pyramid revealed another, earlier structure containing a red jaguar throne studded with jade.

The ball court (for playing the game tlachtli [Mayan: pok-ta-pok]) is 545 feet (166 metres) long and 223 feet (68 metres) wide, the largest such court in the Americas. Six sculpted reliefs run the length of the walls of the court, apparently depicting the victors of the game holding the severed head of a member of the losing team. On the upper platform at one end of the court stands the Temple of the Jaguars, inside of which is a mural showing warriors laying siege to a village. Standing on the platform of the temple to the north of the court, it is possible to hear a whisper from 150 feet (46 metres) away.

Other structures include the High Priest’s Grave and the Colonnade (Thousand Columns) and the adjoining Temple of the Warriors. Most of these buildings probably were completed in the Early Post-Classic Period (c. 900–1200). In the Late Post-Classic Period (c. 1200–1540), Chichén appears to have been eclipsed by the rise of the city of Mayapán. For a time Chichén Itzá joined Uxmal and Mayapán in a political confederacy known as the League of Mayapán.

About 1450 the League and the political supremacy of Mayapán dissolved. When the Spanish entered the country in the 16th century, the Maya were living in many small towns, but the major cities, including Chichén, were largely abandoned.

Long left to the jungle, Chichén Itzá remained sacred to the Maya. Excavation began in the 19th century, and the site became one of Mexico’s prime archaeological zones.

A legendary tradition at Chichén was the Cult of the Cenote, involving human sacrifice to the rain god, Chaac, in which victims were thrown into the city’s major cenote (at the northernmost part of the ruin), along with gold and jade ornaments and other valuables. In 1904 Edward Herbert Thompson, an American who had bought the entire site, began dredging the cenote his discovery of skeletons and sacrificial objects confirmed the legend.


  • Yucatán’s green and yellow coat of arms features a deer, which represents the native Mayan people, leaping over an agave plant, a once-important crop in the region. Adorning the top and bottom borders are Mayan arches, with Spanish bell towers on the left and right. These symbols represent the state’s shared Mayan and Spanish heritages.
  • The Yucatán Peninsula is home to North America’s largest indigenous population, the Mayans. Yucatán has the highest percentage of indigenous language speakers in the country.
  • According to legend, when Francisco Hernández de Córdova arrived on the coast of Yucatán, he asked the natives where he was. They replied in their native tongue that they didn’t understand what he was saying. Because Córdova thought their answer sounded like the word Yucatán, he gave that name to the region.
  • R໚ Celestún Biosphere Reserve near the fishing village of Celestún contains thousands of brilliant pink flamingos, myriad other bird species and exotic plants. During the winter months, as many as 30,000 flamingos can be seen there.
  • The state is most famous for its Mayan ruins, which number between 2,600 and 2,700. Seventeen sites have been restored and are open to the public, the most famous being Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam and Uxmal.
  • Yucatán has approximately 2,600 fresh water pools called cenotes, which the indigenous natives used for drinking water and sacrificial offerings. Today, the pools are popular tourist attractions.
  • The state provides sanctuary for 443 of the 546 bird species registered in the Yucatán Peninsula. Along with Campeche and Quintana Roo, Yucatán is home to 50 percent of Mexico’s bird species.
  • Chichén Itzá and the Pyramid of Kukulcán were recently named among the new Seven Wonders of the World. Amazingly, the pyramid was built so that on the spring and fall equinox (March 21 and September 21), the movement of the sun creates the illusion of a giant snake of light gliding down the pyramid’s main flight of stairs. To the Mayans, this symbolized the return of Kukulcán, the Plumed Snake.
  • Around 600 A.D., the Mayans migrated toward the northern regions of South America and established some of the earliest known cocoa plantations in Yucatán. The cocoa beans, which were reserved for the elite members of Mayan society, were ground and mixed with water to make an unsweetened drink.

Archaeological Sites
Because Yucatán has a rich history of ancient cultures, archaeological sites are active throughout the region. Mexico’s most extensively restored archaeological park, Chichén Itzá, covers four square miles. Founded by a tribe of warriors called the Itzพ, Chichén Itzá represents a melding of Mayan, Toltec, Puuc and Uxmal architectural influences. Once a city of grandeur, Chichén Itzá’s structures include El Castillo (Pyramid of Kukulcán), Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors) and Juego de Pelota (ball court). The nearby Cenote of Sacrifice provided water for the citizens and was sometimes used to sacrifice humans.

Uxmal, another archaeological park in Yucatán, is often called the most attractive of the archaeological sites. Built in approximately 700 A.D., Uxmal features the Mayan chultunes (or cisterns), which held water for the population. Chaac, the rain god, is seen in many of the carvings as well. Within a 10-mile radius of Uxmal are four smaller ancient sites at Kabah, Sayil, Xklapak and Labna. Together with Uxmal, these ruins make up the Ruta Puuc (Puuc Route), named after the hills in which they are nestled.

Ecotourism
The Rio Lagartos National Wildlife Refuge is home to the largest flamingo population in North America. Established in 1979, the 118,000-acre National Park features diverse geological areas, from coastal dunes to mangrove swamps. From April to August, the refuge hosts thousands of flamingos, plus another 200-plus bird species and large populations of sea turtles and jaguars.

Nearly 140 miles from Rio Lagartos, the Celestún Wildlife Refuge spans the border between the states of Campeche and Yucatán. Also established in 1979, Celestún encompasses 146,000-acres and shelters 300 bird species. Celestún also provides winter refuge for migrating birds and is a significant feeding area for non-breeding flamingos.

Urban Areas
Mérida, the capital city of Yucatán, has a population of about 750,000. It offers elegant hotels and restaurants as well as shopping malls, small stores and a central market. The city has a rich cultural life that celebrates its diversity through free concerts, performances and other public events.

An international airport brings tourists and adventurers from all over the world to enjoy the city’s colonial ambiance, ancient ruins and tropical climate. Rich in history and romantic mystique, Merida is a perfect base from which to visit the area’s many several archaeological sites, ecological parks, villages, beaches and cenotes.

In smaller cities such as Valladolid, Progreso and Tulum, tourists can enjoy the music and crafts of local artisans and dine at restaurants that serve such local delicacies as Pollo Pibil (a delicious marinated chicken wrapped in a banana leaves and baked) and Poc Chuc (tenders slices of pork marinated in sour orange juice and served with a tangy sauce and pickled onions).


Post-Classic Maya (900-1500)

During the post-classic Maya period, Chichen Itza was the most dominant city in the northern Maya region

900 A.D. – 1200 A.D. – The cities in the northern part of Yucatán thrive for a few centuries. Most prominent of those cities was the city-state of Chichen Itza, which dominated the region for more than two centuries.

1200 A.D. – Population and economic activities in northern Maya dwindles, and ultimately, those cities become uninhibited.

1224 A.D. – A few decades after the demise of cities in the north, the Toltecs leave, in hordes, the city of Chichén Itzá. Those that remain are joined by the likes of the Uicil-abnal (they later come to be known as the Itzá.

1243 A.D. – For reasons unknown to this day, the people of Uicil-abnal (i.e. the Itzá) abandon Chichén Itzá.

1250 – Chichen Itza is abandoned.

1263 A.D. – The Itzá people pull resources together and build the city of Mayapán. For the next two centuries, Mayapán grows tremendously and becomes the cultural and economic hub of Yucatán.

1441 A.D. – Leaders of Mayapán are toppled the ensuing political instability wreaks immense havoc, forcing the inhabitants to abandon the city a few decades later.

1462 A.D. – The demise of its capital – Mayapán – deals a huge blow to unity of Yucatán. The kingdom fractures into more than a dozen warring states.

The divisions among the Mayapan leave the region unprepared for the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.


The early Chichen Itza history is very obscure. This is true for a lot of other aspects of Mayan history. Not a lot of written records are found about this area. Dates and events are scattered because of the way the Mayan calendar is arranged. This is the reason why many periods or dates which were years apart are given the same name.

During the early years of Chichen Itza, this area was mainly used as a ceremonial center by the Mayans. The area was abandoned for about one hundred years, however no records of why this happened could be found. Shortly after resettlement, the land was invaded by the Toltecs who made a home in Tula. This is the reason why some architecture in Chichen Itza mirrors that of Tula. The Toltecs were said to be an aggressive group. They were ruled under the king named Topiltzin. The new king that ruled over the Iztas introduced human sacrifice and, through labor, recreated the area as a new religious center. The Toltecs introduced many new ideas to the Iztas and left their mark on the land.


7. The serpent on the staircase

During the Spring equinox, the serpent can be seen moving up and down the staircase of the Kukulcan temple.

Well not really, just the effect of a serpent.

It’s still pretty impressive that they were able to predict how this would happen. The Mayan people were known to be excellent astronomers though. Effect of the serpent on the staircase during spring equinox / Wiki Commons


New architectural style in Chichen Itza

The new architectural style of Chichen Itza was named Tolteca, due to its similarities with Tula, without this implying an ethnic affiliation or a direct relationship between both sites.

Tzompantli and Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá

During this period in the History of Chichen Itza, the inscriptions in Maya-Yucateco style ceased, being the last building that presented such inscriptions the Tzompantli also known as Temple of Sculls, dated in the year 998.

They presented abundant representations of individual characters in columns and processions, and in many occasions, the characters presented nominal hieroglyphics in a style similar to that used in the Central Mexico area.

  • Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza
  • Temple of the Warriors in Chichén Itzá
  • Great Ball Court in Chichén Itzá

The power of Chichen Itza during this time was manifested not only in the impressive architecture of emblematic buildings, such as the Pyramid of Kukulkán, also known as El Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors or the Great Ball Court, but also in the impressive program of sculpture in bas-relief, the murals, and the quantity and quality of the imported objects.

During the Middle Postclassic period, which is traditionally dated between the years 1200 and 1350, the city entered a period of decline.

For this reason, the monumental constructions ceased, imports of sumptuary objects were suspended, and the city struggled to maintain its dominance in the area, in the midst of political struggles that unfolded in the replacement of Chichen Itza by the city of Mayapán.

In this gradual period of loss of power in the History of Chichen Itza, the city continued, but the population dropped down considerably.

The remaining population occupied old buildings and even reused objects from the previous period, which is why it was almost impossible to find objects from their greatest period, in their original places of use or storage.

This occupation factor affects the contextual interpretations that are attempted to make about the life and customs of the inhabitants of Chichen Itza, in their periods of maximum development.

Although Mayapán inherited political power, Chichen Itza was not abandoned during the Late Postclassic (1350 -1530 AD).


A Historical Timeline

South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest.

South America ranks fourth in area after Asia, Africa, and North America and fifth in population after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

What is the purpose of creating a Historical Timeline?

We have created a historical timeline of the world famous ancient sites to provide you with an information on how really old are these sites. It was created by arranging these ancient sites in a chronological order also shows in what time period these ancient sites were built.

The following table illustrates the ancient sites arranged in chronological order of their original construction.

(Note: The periodical information in this timeline is based on publicly available historical resources. Some differences in the estimation of these time periods may exist.)

Historical timelines can be valuable tools that provide important information about civilizations, religions, key historical events, inventions, and the leaders which had a major impact on the world's history.

As seen from the historical timeline table, these incredible ancient archeological monuments are still in existence even today, and present great opportunities for all to revisit and re-connect with the rich human historical past.