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The Chicanna archaeological site is located 44 km from Escarcega in the State of Campeche by the Federal Highway 186 in Mexico.
Chicanna means 'House of the Mouth of the Serpent' and is open from 8:00 to 17:00 hrs.
The Maya created complex societies with individuals clearly differentiated by their political, religious and economic role. They founded cities and villages, constructed great public works (hydraulic, roadways, agricultural, etc.), developed excellent artistic works, had their own from of writing and reached and elevated level of development in mathematics, celendrics and astronomy.
The history of the pre-Columbian Maya is, divided into several periods commonly referred to as Pre classic (2000 B.C. - 300 A.D.) Classic (300-900 A.D.) and Post classic (900-1500 A.D.), each one with its respective subdivisions. The construction peak and the major population density are generally attributed to the Late Classic (600-900 A.D.).
The Maya were never helped by extraterrestrial being. What hard work. Not did the Maya disappear. They abandoned some cites in order to found other new ones, and from the 16th c. on the fusion of Maya and Europeans gave rebirth to southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and the western region of Honduras and El Salvador. Today, the Maya live in many rural communities or enriching themselves into the traditional western cites and villages, enriching themselves with their historical and cultural legacy.
Chicanna was erected at the base of Yucatan Peninsula. Its builders took advantage of a slight natural elevation the construct several groups of structures which severed as room and enclosures for carrying out ritual ceremonies. It was discovered in 1966 when it was given its present name, which no doubt refer to the facade of Structure II: chi, mouth, can, can, serpent, and house; translated this way it alludes to the 'House of the Serpent mouth'.
Due to its dimensions and the rich decoration of the buildings it has been considered a small elitist center of Becan, that is like a residential zone of the rules of the ancient regional capital. It had important commercial connections with other settlements as attested to by the presence of non-local materials found at the site: objects from the highland of Guatemala and region of Honduras. Most likely, many of these products were concentrated in Bacan and distributed from there. Evidence of occupation dates from the period known as the Late Pre classic (300 B.C. to 250 A.D.), while the last stages of activity at the site have been dated to the Early Post classic (1100 A.D.)
Chicanna is one of the 45 sites located in the archeological region known as Rio Bec. This category refers to the shape and decoration of the buildings, which together constitute the architectonic style. Consequently, it is common to find the presence of elongated buildings flanked by slender towers with rounded corners, as well as the enormous representation of Itzamna principal god of the Maya pantheon, also known as the Earth Monster, on the facade of the lower construction.
One of the most important attractions in Chicanna is a Mayan building reconstructed on a platform characteristics are of the Rio Bec Style.
This is the highest building at Chicanna. Its layout is almost quadrangular, composed of two levels and oriented towards the cardinal points. The lower section has eleven rooms and the upper part four. The principal facade is on the south side. One can climb upwards from the central room of the first level by means of a stairway which divides in two under both vaulted passages. The rooms on the lower level contain benches on whose bases one can appreciate faces. The facade of the upper temple preserves the remains of the typical motif of the Chenes region: a complete, gigantic, zoomorphic mask. In each of the corners, there are columns of masks of the prominent nose god which guards the mouth of the sacred monster. It is the only structure which contains two zoomorphic entrances on the east side, with lengthened jawbones towards the front; a partial third entrance is found on the north side. In order to add volume, a roof comb was erected in which figures of important gods were modeled along with the rulers of the ancient Maya society. It was built around 850 A.D. and possibly, several rooms were added on the west side in 1000 A.D.
The style of the Chenes shows baroque characteristics in the facade of the buildings. The entrances of these resemble the mouth of a monster, the principal gate represents a great mouth of the Chac God with large canine teeth which project over the lintel.
This structure is found 100 m. to the southwest of the foundations of twelve rooms. its bad state of preservation is due fundamentally to the deficient construction technique which existed in the period in which it was built. The pottery with which it is associated is roughly made. The architectonic and ceramic information have led specialists to conclude that it is one of the oldest structures at Chicanna as well as within the entire region dominated by Becan.
Structure I: This imposing building closes the principal plaza of the site on the west side and is the best example of Rio Bec architecture at Chicanna. The central part of the single story structure has six rooms arranged in two rows of three rooms each. As one can see, it is flanked by two solid towers which remind one of the great pyramidal bases crowned by temples: symbol and synthesis of the enormous religious and political authority of those who ruled the ancient Maya society. The sides of the towers preserve decorated panels with crosses formed by inset square stone blocks, motifs which evoke the ancient relevance to the cardinal points. One can barely distinguish on the facade of the center room the remains of the decoration which was achieved with panels of stylized profile masks.
Structure II: This building closes the principal plaza to the east, the most important cardinal point in the Maya vision of the universe, as it alludes to the place where the sun, which was very much worshipped in ancient times, is reborn daily. It is built upon a small artificially leveled area and has only one story. Inside there are remains of eight rooms: three to the front and five on the back side, all roofed over with the Maya arch. The rooms have benches for resting and spending the night. This building was the houses of an official of the hierarchy. Probably the center room was used for ritual ceremonies. The remains of a roof comb were found on the upper center part. This gave grandeur to the building as they modeled images of important personages as well as some gods there. The decoration of the facade is one of the most complete and best preserved representations of itzamna. It resembles a great face with and open mouth; the entrance doorway constitutes entrance into the buccal cavity and symbolically, indicates the introduction to the entrails of the powerful god. On the facade of the rooms located to the sides, one can appreciate Maya home: houses with roofs and walls made of palm and wood.
Structure III: The structure which you see today is composed of several buildings which were joined together over the course of time as a result of carrying out multiple modifications. The oldest part was erected between 300 and 400 A.D. and corresponds to a substructure or existing construction within the pyramidal base on the west side. It was modified from 450 to 550 A.D. By the end of the Classic period, this area of Chicanna was no longer restricted to the celebration of ceremonial events, but its use was amplified to include housing. The two rooms which look out to this plaza were built around 950 A.D. The entrance step to each to them was shaped like an amphibian. Later on, seven other rooms were erected behind and to the sides of these rooms, thereby forming two asymmetric courtyards. Some of the rooms were covered with the typical Maya vault and others were thatched with perishable materials such as wood and the huano palm.
Structure VI: This building had only two central rooms originally (660 A.D.) and its largeness was accomplished by constructing a perforated wall or roof comb on its upper part, as a type of finishing. Several stucco modeled figures, both mythological and symbolic beings, decorated this finish. Today, one can only see the stone supports which sustained it. The findings from the exploration, such as a nose, fangs and other parts, revealed that additionally the frieze contained a partial zoomorphic facade, that is, a figure without a jawbone. To both sides of the main entrance, one can still appreciate parts of two panels of stylized profile masks, Later on, the smaller rooms on the west side were incorporated which provided wide interior phase, of lesser quality, occurred in the middle of the tenth century A.D. when the two rooms on the east side were added.
Important Notice: With the object of contributing to the conservation of Chicanna Archeological zone, it is prohibited to:
Should also obey the instructions of the guards, not litter and respect the posted regulations. Any infraction against these rules are punishable by law.
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