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Holmul photo gallery

The Holmul region in Northeastern Petén has been the focus of investigating lately, although it was first studied in 1911 (Merwin and Vaillant 1932). In Holmul there are evidence of an early Preclassic settlements at around 850 BC, up to Late Classic around 850 AD.

The current data suggest that Holmul was a large city in the Late Classic period with settlement extending in a 3km radius from its center, in every direction and with peripheral large centers located in a ring around it at  5 km distance.  The evidence also shows that Holmul may have been but the latest of a series of primary centers in this region, the earliest of which may have been Cival, followed by La Sufricaya.  Such repeated shifts in the location of centers of power in a relatively small region (a 6 km. radius of Holmul) has profound implications for our understanding of the volatile political and military milieu of emerging Maya polities, with increased competition, warfare and complex rituals of succession to power.

The imposing
Ruin X Pyramid stands at the centre of Holmul, flanked by three massive plazas and an acropolis containing 5 Stela and 4 altars. An elaborate Pre-Classic palatial complex, identified as Group III, lies to the south of the acropolis. Connecting the main plaza with a second complex to the west is a broad causeway. Known as Group II, these immense ruins include an elite residential area adjacent to a large open-ended ball-court, and are adorned with giant masks on the east and west facades. The main plaza is bound by Group I terrace to the north, Group 3 to the south, Ruin X to the east and a small structure to the west with a total area of 0.9 hectares. 

The East Plaza is about 1 hectare in area and 130 by 68 m, bounded by Ruin X to the west, Structure 7 on the east, Structure 5 to the north and Structure 46 on the south. The paired layout of Ruin X and Structure 7 appears to match the model of Late Preclassic Group E at Uaxactún, and Tikal’s Mundo Perdido, as well as the Late Classic version of the same model known from several Eastern Petén sites as "Complejo Ritual Publico" (see Fialko 1988: 13-21; formerly known as “E-Groups”). In addition, three stelas (1, 2, 12) and two altars are located in this plaza along E-W and N-S axes and three fragments of monuments are on the south end of the plaza. Stela 2 and Altar 2 are located in front of Structure 5 at the north end of the plaza, while the  small altar 9, is located to the south end.  Stela 12 is located centrally on the summit of Structure 7 and forms an E-W alignment with the eastern doorway of Ruin X at the opposite end of the plaza. In the center of the plaza, are Stela 1 and Altar 1, oriented east-west and at the midpoint between the E-W alignment between Ruin X and Stela 12, and across the N-S axis connecting Stela 2 with Altar 9.

To the north, the East plaza extends behind Structure 5, facing Group I to the west and three small structures to the east. A large multi-chambered chultún with an orifice of about 3.5 m in diameter is located in the center. The combined areas of the northern and southern portions of the East plaza which are separated by Str. 5 measure 2.4 hectares. Group III Court A is a rectangular elevated courtyard whose access might have been through a ramp on the northeastern corner from the East Plaza and a narrow passage/bridge linking the northwestern corner with the adjacent Court B. The court is elevated 6 m above the surrounding plaza level. The west side of Court A is occupied by a 12 m high pyramid, the north east and south sides are occupied by several low range structures of apparent residential function. Str. 44 is a 18 m-long range structure on the south edge of Court A. It has a narrow central room with a central doorway, two side benches and two blocked doorways to the east and west. A rear central doorway also leads out to the steep-sloped back of the elevated Court A. Court B is a rectangular platform rising 6 m from the main plaza to the east and 12 m from the western sloping terrain. It supports vaulted multi-roomed buildings on all sides. The main access may have been from a stairway leading up the Main Plaza and through an alley (possibly vaulted, Figure 5) between two structures with two and three rooms (vaulted)

Bench 1 in the south corner of the west room (interior room) of Structure 43.

View of central rooms in Structure 4

 facing the plaza below. The ball court I (Structures 11 and 12) is located about 100 m west of Group 1 along the edge of a causeway connecting Group I and Group II. These two structures are N-S oriented, have identical dimensions (17x10x4m) and are separated by a 5 m-wide alley. with  a ball-game marker in its center. Adjacent to Ball-Court I and to the west of it, is a C-shaped courtyard open-ended to the south. Structure 13 is the main building of this courtyard enclosing it on the north side and measuring 32x7x3 m.

The Holmul region has a distinctive feature, because in a radius of 6 Km. from Holmul centre there are several smaller sites, as Cival, La Sufricaya, Ko’, Tot , Riverona, Hahakab, and Hamontún, the earliest of  them being Cival, followed by La Sufricaya

There have been Amazing discovering in all the sites, such as the impressive Pre Classic Burials at Holmul, the Giant Mask from the Preclassic at Cival and Mural painting with iconography at La Sufricaya, that are subject of study by Guatemalans and Vanderbilt University, Lead by Francisco Estrada- Belli sponsored by National Geographic, since 2000, that have showed that Holmul was a large Maya city in the Late Classic with strong links to all the other cities in the 6 Km radius. 

Holmul is located at the Holmul river Basin, 25 Km. north of Naranjo, and 40 Km Northeast of Tikal, an area with few small sites, such as Jobal and El Pilar (shared with Belize), this is due to a lot of bajos, that exist between Naranjo and Holmul sites, known as Low Holmul river basin, the largest site between Naranjo and Holmul is Witzná, that has 2 story palaces, a ball court and a Central Acrópolis. 

The investigation in 1911 gave birth to the first ceramic lowland classification known as Holmul I to V 

Bench 4 in south room of Structure 43.



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Last updated 28/01/2011 17:07:37 -0500
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