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 Ceibal

Ceibal Gallery

Ceibal, (also named Seibal) was first inhabited in the Middle Preclassic Period around 800 B.C., then the city grew in size and population until about the time of Christ then it began a long decline. It was then abandoned between roughly A.D. 500 and 590, and then it was reoccupied. In 735 AD, Ruler 3 from the Maya city of Dos Pilas, initiated its warfare in the Petexbatún area. captured the ruler of Ceibal, Yich'ak Balam, and his city, leading to about 60 years of foreign rule. Around 830 AD, a non-Classic Maya group settled in Ceibal, which witnessed its greatest growth over the next 100 years as its population reached about 10,000. The city was then permanently abandoned in 930 AD and not rediscovered until about 1890 AD.  Today, it is most noted for its beautiful carved stelas sculpted from high-quality limestone It is located at la Pasión river left bank, near Sayaxché,  1 hour drive from Flores on paved road, it is renown for its steles, one of the finest in Petén, Ceibal was a rival city of Machaquilá to the east, and Dos Pilas and Aguateca to the west, also had rivalry with Cancuén to the south, in fact Ceibal dominated much of the south Petén region during its splendor in the late Classic, around 700 AD The city has 4 plazas, along with 31 sculptured monuments, 2 ball courts, 56 steles and 22 altars.

Among its buildings, the circular observatory probably the first in the Classic Maya culture, its very distinctive, some of its latest stelas has Toltec influences, like bone ornaments in the nose of the main figures, and square hieroglyphs, in the main Temple there is a Jaguar sculpture with monkeys in it base.


The site is divided in 4 groups (A, B, C and D)

It is of interest that the earliest signs of civilization in the southern Petén were ceramics dated just after 1000 BC found at Ceibal along with Jade objects showing an Olmec influence. Ceibal was occupied throughout the entire classic period and was invaded around 830 AD by the Putún or Chontal Maya-Toltec from the Gulf coast known by the Maya as the Itza', meaning "people who speak our tongue poorly". Ceibal's last carved stela is dated 889 AD.

One interesting theory is that: When the Popol Vuh tells about the masters that later founded the K’iche’ supremacy, traveled to Tulán (the big city) to obtain the power badges, Maybe it narrates the fact that the Ucanal soldiers went to the actual Ceibal and proclaimed its domination, and then emigrated south, to the center of the actual Quiché. That is why they came from the east, because Ucanal is located to the east of Ceibal. This migration, as others, from the Pacific Lowlands, gave birth to new political expressions, which were successful in the Post-Classic period.

You can go there by boat (more expensive) on la Pasión river, and climb to the city half mile from the shore, or by car, crossing by ferry (a bridge is being build this year) to Sayaxché and then turning to the left, 12 Km. a some 30 minutes drive, You will need 4 hours to enjoy this site and its forest.

 

     

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Last updated 28/01/2011 17:07:36 -0500
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