Mayan Archaeology > Quintana Roo > Quintana Roo
The shrine to Ix chel, the Mayan goddess of fertility
San Gervasio is the most important archaeological site on the island of Cozumel. As in many other cases, the Mayan place-name is unknown; its current name comes from the saint name of the owner of the cattle ranch on which the site is located.
Its origins are from the early Classic period (300 A.D.), when it functioned as a small settlement, and which may have been the largest in the island. In 600 A.D. the city began to grow quickly, witnessed by the appearance of perishable architecture and better quality constructions, as well as a possible reinforcement of its relations with coastal sites in northern Quintana Roo. During the terminal Classic period (1000 – 1200 A.D.) the Itzáes governed the island, where they held control of commerce between Yucatán and the Ulúa region.
Six structures can be found in San Gervasio. The “Manitas” (little hands) Group, which may have been the residence of Ah Hulneh, lord Itzá of Cozumel, named so due to the impressions of human hands preserved on the inner walls of the main building. To the east of the group, a small temple can be found known by the Mayan name Chichán Nah or “Small House”.
Ka’Na Nah (High House), is the largest of the site’s structures. It is believed that this building occupied the center of a temple possibly dedicated to the goddess Ix Chel. There is a cenote in the rear of the building (one of many in the site), which is believed to have been a source of drinking water for the population.
The Central Plaza consists of a group of buildings with a rectangular base, arranged in the manner of a roman forum.
Nohoch Nah (Great House) is a circular building that still maintains its roofing. Some of the interior finishes, painted in ocher and blue colors, have also been preserved.
The “Murciélagos” (bats) Group is an irregular base consisting of a group of small buildings with a slight resemblance to the Central Plaza. It was the first building to be constructed. The Ramonal is formed by three architectural groups, a residential zone, an Acropolis, and two pyramid bases.
San Gervasio is a great place for visitors to Cozumel. Here they can observe the natural and cultural environment where the original inhabitants of the island lived, as well as the settlements integration into the Pre-Hispanic economic life of the region.
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It is located 7 kilometers east of the modern town of San Miguel de Cozumel and is easily accessed through the island by a highway.