Mayan Archaeology > Yucatan > Yucatan
MAYAN ARCHITECTURE INTEGRATED INTO THE MODERN CITY
Acancéh means “the moan of the deer” in the Yucatec Maya language. The archaeological zone is located in the center of the modern town and covers an approximate area of 3 square kilometers.
The first evidence of prehispanic occupation dates back to the late Preclassic period (300 B.C. to 300 A.D.), until the late Postclassic period (1300 to 1450 A.D.); however, it did not reach its peak until the early Classic period (300 to 600 A.D.) when it consisted of 300 different types of structures. Acancéh has resisted the aggression of modern urban growth, preserving two architectural complexes, known as the Pyramid and the Palace of the Stuccos. These two buildings suggest the existence of relations between Acancéh and places such as Uaxactún, Guatemala, and Teotihuacan.
The main Pyramid of Acancéh is 11 meters high and is formed by three staggered bodies built on a 32 meter platform per side. One of the older layers of the pyramid has been uncovered revealing eight stucco modeled masks, which flank the main staircase. The stones are carved in the Puuc style. The Palace of the Stuccos stands out due to the stucco frieze on its façade. The figures depicted on the frieze represent supernatural entities or deities, which may have been used to sustain the ruler’s lineage. This frieze is framed by horizontal moldings and colossal figureheads that symbolize a scene in the sky. The individual frames indicate that its characters are located between the earthly and celestial planes.
The site is important due to the presence of ceramic materials that are characteristic of the great City of Mexico, as well as some similar structures in Palace of the Stuccos, leading some to believe that Acancéh was a colony of Teotihuacan, to north of Yucatán.
There are also other recently discovered structures, which are undergoing excavation and are closed to the public.
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From Mérida, take the city’s southeast exit towards Valladolid, following Federal Highway 180, Mérida to Valladolid. 8 kilometers ahead, take the turn on the right going to Mayapán on State Highway 18. Keep going for 14 kilometers until you reach a turn to the left on highway 34, the town of Acancéh is less than a kilometer down this road. The archaeological site of Acancéh is located in the town center.