Saturday, January 19, 2013

Xpuhil -- A Río Bec Site in Campeche

Xpuhil is a site located in the Río Bec region, within the Mexican state of Campeche (itself found in the Yucatán Peninsula.) It is just a bit over half a mile -- via Highway 186 running by the site -- west from a village named Xpujil. This site is an example of a Río Bec architectural site (for a description of kinds of Maya architecture, go here.)

History 
It is currently understood that people were living in the area of Xpuhil since around 400 BC, in the Preclassic Period. The height of Xpuhil though occurred during the 700s AD, in the Late Classic Period. The site was finally abandoned in 1100 AD during the Postclassic Period, and rediscovered in 1938.

And how did Xpuhil rank society-wise? It is possible that it was a "satellite" or "suburb" community of Becán. As a suburb, Xpuhil probably fulfilled certain economic functions for Becán, such as sending stone masons and growing food. On the other side of things, Becán would have had a religious function for Xpuhil and -- like the mafia -- would help the smaller site remain stable in the world of politics.

Setup

Xpuhil has various groups of structures (for a map click on the link titled "Auburn University Montgomery Carnegie Explorer: Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. Map of the site of Xpuhil" in the References section.) Of note at the site is a structure called Estructura I.

Estructura I possesses one dozen rooms and three towers -- this is uncommon among Río Bec style architecture, which uses two towers. The outer towers face east and the central one (the tallest of the three at nearly 174 feet) faces west. The central tower also still has a remnant of a mask of some kind of creature.


On the far side of the temple -- on a wall below it -- there is a jaguar mask.
Consideration
Xpuhil, like other sites, costs to get into and is only open to the public between certain hours. Hours for Xpuhil are 8AM until 5PM, and the cost to get in is nearly $3. It is possible to take a bus from Xpujil to the site.



References:
"Yucatan"; Yucatán By Ray Bartlett, Daniel C. Schechter; 2006

"The Rough Guide to Cancun and the Yucatan: Includes the Maya Sites of Tabasco & Chiapas"; Zora O'Neill; 2011

Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes: Xpuhil

"Yucatan & Mayan Mexico"; Nick Rider; 2005

Instituto Nacional De Antropología e Historia: Zona Arqueológica Xpuhil 

California State University East Bay: White Bone Dragon: Xpuhil

Auburn University Montgomery Carnegie Explorer: Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. Map of the site of Xpuhil

Universidad Nactional Autónoma de México: Xpuhil

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHlxn1k5gqY

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