Freedom8 Mesoamerica


Ek Balam
means "Black Jaguar" in Mayan. The site is located just north of Valladolid through the town of Temozon about 2 km north of Santa Rita. Ek Balam is truly one of the gems of the ancient Maya Civilization. For years archaeologists dated the site from around 600 A.D. to 1000 A.D. but, recent evidence shows that Ek Balam was inhabited as early as 400 B.C. and up to Colonial times.
What once were considered mountains surrounding the central plaza have been identified as pyramids. Three of them. The pyramids rise up seemingly all from the same place. Indeed, they looked like mountains, none of which exist in this part of the Yucatan. The restoration of the Acropolis is on going and from the top you can see Cobá, more than 30 miles away. It measures approximately 165 meters length and 75 meters high, this is one of the biggest structures in the Yucatan. The findings in and around the Acropolis are incredible. The temple is more than twice the size of the Castle at Chichen Itza with platforms and stairways in all directions. Life size statues the likes of which have only been found in Palenque. Tunnels inside the Acropolis leading to tombs. The list goes on and on.
Ek Balam had a defensive wall around this central area, a prudent measure in the face of the threat from warlike Chichén Itzá, only 35 miles to the southwest.
Upon entering the labyrinth of the wall you come upon a huge gateway arch. On the other side of the arch lies the ball court. In the previously part of the site is an astrological observatory called the Caracol, The Temple of the Twins and the Nunnery upon which sits a huge staircased temple. Much of the detail appears to be Puuc. Staele have been identified and one large one sits in the main plaza. The site has two cenotes, but neither one is located near the Main Plaza. A very large Chultun has been identified on the north side of the Acropolis. Ek Balam has 5 Sacbe's and 4 of them head in the four directions. Perhaps the 5th was ceremonial.
The Lords of Ek Balam appear to have been allied with Cobá, Yaxchilan and Yaxuná. Since Cobá and Yaxuná were dreaded enemies of Chichen Itza... perhaps Ek Balam was as well. Soon the archaeologists will complete the reconstruction and we may have answers to some of these questions.