The history of San Gervasio
archaeological site dates back to the
Early Classic period (300 - 400 a.d.) when the acropolis "El Ramonal"
was built. This Group was the main center from which all the other
smaller settlements, (small hamlets), on the island were controlled.
During the late Classic period (600- 1000 a.d.), the "Murcielagos"
and the "Cedral" groups were converted into the administrative
center of their respective communities. During the Terminal Classic
period (1000 - 1200 a.d.) the Itzaes dominated Cozumel, from which
point they controlled the trade between Yucatan and the region of
the Ulua. Archeological evidence exists which indicates that the
urban settlement model of San Gervasio was copied from the capital
of the Itzae, with its plazas connected by this culture. During the
Post Classic period (1200 - 1650), San Gervasio became one of the
most important centers of pilgrimage in Mesoamerica trage. San
Gervasio rose to become the administrative and religious center in
addition to being the seat of government for the entire island;
During the Colonial Period, San Gervasio must have still been
inhabited since pottery found there supports this theory.
• The Archaeologist have worked in the
investigation, consolidation and rehabilitation of material remains
found in the Archaeological zone you are about to visit. Through the
help of specialists, various pieces, paintings, panels, sculptures
and sundry objects have been restored. Physical Anthropologists have
analyzed and interpreted the bone remains found during excavations.
All have contributed important knowledge concerning our Pre hispanic
past and have helped make of this Archaeological zone a touchstone
of our historical, cultural and ecological heritage. Please help us
• If you are about to climb the different
buildings in this zone, we recommend you do so with the utmost care
so as to avoid accidents.
• The restrictive sings throughout the zone are
there so as to avoid its deterioration and to prevent the visitor
from exposing himself to danger.
• Let us keep this zone clean by using the
garbage cans in the Service areas.
• You are about to enter an exceptional
historical site. Take care of it is yours.
This building is so named
due to finding a vaulted tomb in its interior, unique in San Gervasio.
The structure is a platform, since it had no building on top of it, only
benches and altar. It is believed that the structure was used for open
air ceremonies in which not only the priests participated but also the
congregation in the plaza. The structure has two construction periods,
the first one was built during the Terminal Classic period (1000-1200
A.D.) and the later one during the Post Classic period (1200-1650 A.D.)
Little Hands Structure, Plaza Manitas Grupo III,
building is so named because of the red-colored hand prints which
mark the wall. The building is comprised of two rooms in which a small
temple was built in the interior of one of the tem. Its use could have
been residential as much as ceremonial since the interior space is quite
ample. It is thought that it could have been the house of the "Ah Hulneb",
Itza Overlord of Cozumel during the Terminal Classic period (1000-1200
A.D.) and that the inner temple was his personal shrine. "Little Hands"
has two other construction phases, both dated during the Post Classic
period (1200-1650 A.D.)
The Small House Structure,
Due to its architectural characteristics
and its reduced size, it is almost certain that could be done in its
interior was to place offerings. "Small House", ("Chichan Nah"), like
"Little Hands", has a small temple in its interior, but in this case the
structure pertains to only one construction phase, the (1200-1650 A.D.).
31 & 32,
Structure 31 is an unusual residential
since it is typically Mayan-Chontal. It has large interior
spaces with a frontal portico, and its roof was made of palm fronds,
while Structure 32 is a small masonry temple. It is considered that the
former structure was the house of the "Halach Uinic" of Cozumel and the
latter the private "chapel" of the liege.
Both structures date from the
Post Classic period ( 1200-1650 A.D. ).
In pre Hispanic days, this construction was
entrance or exit of the central part of San Gervasio, leading to the
coastal sites, which were reached by means of Sacbe 1.
The pilgrims and
traders would reach the famous sanctuary of the Goddess Ixchel and
deposit an offering at the altar that lies in the middle of the vaulted
passageway. Here one can appreciate the kind of vaulting used, which is
shaped like an inverted staircase, common on the east coast. "The Arch"
dates from the Post Classic period ( 1200-1650 A.D.).
The Columns Structure,
columns, a bench running along
the inner walls and a throne or altar in
the middle of the room. The chambers along the side were used to deposit
six burials, along with offerings of small stone steal sculpted with
different figures. The building has two construction periods of which
corresponding to the Terminal Classic period (1000-1200
A.D.), was partially covered by the later one, dating from the Post
Classic period (1200-1650 A.D.).
This structure had a ceremonial use as it lies
in the middle of the
plaza, and therefore it
must have served as a dais from which the
speaker addressed the people gathered here. In "The Altar" one can
observe two different construction periods: to the west there are
balustrade steps, completely
covered with stucco; which is the oldest
construction and dates to the Terminal Classic period (1000-1200
the latest structure, which covers the first one, belongs to the Post
Classic period ( 1200-1650 A.D.).
temple was originally roofed although part of its vaulting, shaped
like an inverted
staircase, can still be seen on its southern side.
There is an altar within, where offerings were placed in pre
times. The building was completely stuccoes and the inner walls were
decorated with bands, spirals and red colored hand prints. "The Alamo"
was during the Post Classic period.
This building is thus called because of the
discovered within it, which were painted with vivid
colors of red, blue, ochre and
black, and was covered with geometric motifs, stepped lines, Grecian
frets, spirals, etc. This building had a vaulted roof and was used for
ceremonial purposes. In its interior, there were altars and benches used
for placing offerings and holding certain kinds of ceremonies. "The
Murals" has only one construction period which dates to the Post Classic
period (1200-1650 A.D.
Colonnaded halls are very popular on the
They have benches along the interior walls and in the middle
there is a jutting part, either an altar or throne, which evokes an
important personage sitting on it and presiding over a meeting with
members of the community. This structure has 19 columns, some of which
are double. The roof was not vaulted, but rather is flat, like
modern-day ones, which wooden beams holding it all together. It was
built during the Post Classic period ( 1200-1650 A.D.).
This structure was so named as an ossuary,
with numerous human remains, was found inside during exploration of the
building. The temple no longer exists but originally it had masonry
walls and roof. Next to the structure is the beginning of Sacbe 4, which
connects the Central group. The Ossuary was built during the Post
Classic period (1200-1650 A.D.)
Structure 25 B,
This was colonnaded hall with a masonry
roof, supported with wood beams. It had a bench which ran along the
entire interior, embedded into the side and back walls. It differs from
the other colonnaded halls in that it has three pillars with square
bases and three columns with round bases. This structure was build in
the Post Classic period (1200-1650 A.D.)
This structure was so named because
of the miniature shrines that were built on the sides of the stairway,
which must have been used for placing offerings. The upper part had a
stone vaulted roof and the interior was predominantly decorated in blue.
It was built during the Post Classic period (1200-1650 A.D.)
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