Featured Sites: Chinkultic

Chinkultic - Main hill temple

Meta Information

Tripart: 2006.016.663

Country: Mexico

Archaeological Site: Chinkultic

Title: Chinkultic - Main hill temple

Culture: Maya

Date of Photograph: 1976

Photographer: Dr. Brian Hayden

Time Period: Late Classic

Location: Mexico; Chiapas

Subject: Site

Chinkultic, which means "stepped cenote," is set in a spectacular mountain locale in the Chiapas region of Mexico. First occupied between about 50 BC and AD 350, the site now consists of some 200 unexcavated buildings. The El Mirador pyramid (not to be confused with the El Mirador site of the Mayan lowlands) overlooks the great Cenote Agua Azul some 45 meters below. Throughout the initial occupation and a subsequent re-occupation during the Classic Period, the cenote was used as a ceremonial depository for ritual offerings, as well as for general garbage disposal. Unlike other cenotes, however, it was not used for human sacrifices.

During the Classic Period occupation, the Maya constructed a number of buildings, including a ball court that dates to the 6th century AD. They also produced hundreds of carved stelae. One stela was inscribed with the date AD 810, which is the earliest known date from the Classic Period in this region. Chinkultic was abandoned around AD1250.