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 Northwest Petén

Peten’s North-West is characterised by a tight network of rivers, large wetlands, or Bajos, and numerous lakes. This difficult environment is the reason why this region has been investigated archaeologically until few years ago. Along with the famous sites, La Corona and Waka´, there are several sites in this poorly explored area of Guatemala, including the important Hix Witz Polity.     See map above.

Hix Witz (Jaguar Hill) Polity


La Joyanca, Pajaral and Zapote Bobal shared the Hix Witz or Jaguar or Ocelot Hills toponym and emblem glyph. According to Stuart, Pajaral itself is probably the "true" Hixwitz, since the small acropolis is built atop a large Hill that juts up dramatically from the lower plaza and surrounding terrain. Zapote Bobal - a larger site - is also built on high ground, but in no way can this be called a hill or mountain. Stuart suspects that these sites shared local political and ritual power during the Late Classic, perhaps like Dos Pilas and Aguateca, and power shifted between them over time. The Hixwitz polity is mentioned in Dos Pilas, Yaxchilán and Piedras Negras Hieroglyphic texts, but its main links were with Waka´, some 20 Km Northwest from Zapote Bobal. The kingdom frontiers, would have been Piedras Negras to the west, Waka' to the north and Motul de San José to the south east. It is being investigated by the "Proyecto Petén Noroccidente" leaded by James L. Fitzsimmons.

Hix Witz Emblem Glyph


La Joyanca, Structure 6E-12, Temple with grafity in its roomsLa Joyanca: Its a mid size site, now in a protected area of 3.6  Km2. The site was discovered in 1994 during prospect ion for the construction of the Xan-La Libertad pipeline. The site was occupied for a long time,  its ceramics shown dates from the late Preclassic 400 AD up to the Late Classic (850-1000). The highest population levels were reached during the late Classic, (600-800 AD), after the site was abandoned certain palaces in the Guacamaya group may have been reoccupied during the Terminal Classic up to 1000 AD, long after than the other sites in the area, including Piedras Negras. Its influence reachead the rural sites named  El Tambo, 17 de Abril, El Aguacate and Tuspan.

More than 400 structures have been identified. In its central area, it includes the architectural elements required for what was probably an autonomous government: on  one hand, the Main Plaza with the  two temple-pyramids 10 and 12 Mt. high (str. 6E and 6E-12). In the Temple's interior three rooms with stonework vaults have been restored. A solar figure in modelled stucco was found in the entrance corridor opposite the door, as was a Mayan text carved on the wall of the central chamber. The Str.6E-13, has seven to nine adjacent rooms on a platform 6 metres high and 56 metres long; on the other, the Guacamaya Group, a complex of residential buildings with vaulted palaces. There are few sculpted monuments, (Stelas and altars), and there is no ball-game court. The small Gavilán Group is evidence of much more humble dwelling-places; it consists of two little mounds in the residential zone, completely stripped, in which two houses have been found which had not been occupied for much time. Along with Zapote Bobal and Pajaral, This site integrated the polity founded by Chan Ahk on 486 AD, --according to the text of a stela--and known as Hix Witz, an allied of Tikal up to 646 AD, and then under the sphere of Dos Pilas,  References to the Hix Witz polity also appears in texts from  Piedras Negras, Itzimté,  and Yaxchilán

Site map

Regional map

Central area 

 Site's  air view

Structure 6E-10

Structure 6F-22


Rural area



Pajaral: Is a Mid sized Late Classic ceremonial site, at 200 mt Above sea level its the tallest point in the area. The Site features two main groups, with 5 large and complete carved Stelas (3 mt. High) and around 20 more shattered long ago, also there are several altars. The largest of the thirteen structures in the lower plaza are up to 8 meters in height. Many of the stelas were found on the western side of this lower plaza. The upper plaza is built on a hill that is 300 meters long and 30 meters high that was modified in the process of building the structures in that plaza. The largest of this plaza structures is 20 meters high. The upper plaza area is accessed by a large staircase 150 feet wide and perhaps 100 feet long, with 67 steps, That give the sensation of being the Largest Classic Pyramid. The diverse architectural styles visible at the site suggest contact with various other Maya sites, several of the buildings in the upper plaza may have been used for astronomical observations. The archaeologists say about this city, that it appears to had been a major religious site that attracted pilgrims from all over the Mayan world in its heyday, 700 to 800 AD. the later thinking is due to the lack of residential areas. "There's nothing that compares with it in all known Mayan culture". Part of the "Hix Witz" polity, along with La Joyanca and Zapote Bobal.

Zapote Bobal: A large size Maya site that shows occupation from the Late Preclassic to the Late Classic,  its name is due to the abundance of the
Sapodilla trees named "Zapote Bobo" in Guatemala. This city has  more than 65 main structures in the central area and residential groups, there are 16 carved monuments in the central area and several more in its surroundings, (16 Stelas and 21 Altars, mainly in front of Structure 55 named El cementerio, or graveyard for this feature) All the text are from 642 to 749 AD, coinciding with the alliance with Dos Pilas and its Warfare against Tikal. The central area was constructed in a natural elevation some 1 Km long and 700 mt. wide. that was levelled. The main plaza has 3 Temple Pyramids (11-12 mt High), the north plaza has Palace like structures. There are 4 patios to the south of the central plaza and a Pyramid Temple the tallest in the site (25 mt.) there are several aguadas in the site. The residential area is in a 2.5 Km radius surrounding the Central Area. Part of the "Hix Witz" polity, along with La Joyanca and

Site Map

Structure 55 and acrópolis unearthed

El Cementerio map showing sculpture location

Stela 12, Chan Ahk.

Stela 2, Base

St 12 "Dancing" Chan Ahk

Stela 6 Backside



Chakah: A small site 5 Km. southwest of Waka',  with occupation from the Late Classic to the Terminal Classic. It was probably the port of Waka' on the San Pedro Mártir River. The site has 12 groups with more than 61 structures identified to date, it has 3 main plazas, being Plaza A and C the larger and with the biggest Structures, that show Vaults, up to 4 mt. high, there have been found ceramic pottery with the name of El Zotz in Central Petén. There are several burial uncovered and a Chultún

Burial 4 ceramic

El Reinado: NI´TUUNAL (Stone Tip) its real name,  was  a large Site located north west of Flores, near the Chiquibul mountains and south of San Diego Site and Lake. The site was occupied from the Late Pre Classic to the Late Classic (100 BC to 900 AD). The site shows monumental architecture includes a ball court, Temples, platforms and Palaces, there are at least 12 Stelas and 3 altars uncovered to date, the investigations are in course and the archaeologist expect to learn more in the diggings.

Central Map site

Periphery structures Maps

Periphery structures Maps

Group B Stelas 

Hyrogliphic steps Plaza A North Structure

Step Plaza A West Structure

Plaza A map

Obsidian Blades




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