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Guatemala has many Mayan Ruins and archaeological sites to visit. This is a list of the sites in Guatemala we feel offer travelers options to visit and enjoy. As part of the end of the world idea for 2012, George of Georges Travel Network will be featuring a special Welcome to the end of the world tour which will offer travelers a chance to see Mayan Culture as it is today and back hundred of years.

360 Day Mayan Solar Calendar
In earlier times the Hindu, Persian, Hebrew, Babylonian, Assyrian, and on it goes, Mayan calendars were based on a 360 day year with 12 months of 30 days each. Holidays are separate days that are set apart and do not count in the days of the year. If you actually have 365 days in a year but have 5 holidays, those holidays are holy and your calendar year is 360 days.

La Corona is an ancient Maya city in Guatemala’s Petén department that was discovered in 1996 and later revealed to be the long-sought “Site Q“, a prominent, undiscovered Maya city. “La Corona” means “the crown” in Spanish; the first archaeologists to study the site named it this after seeing a row of five temples that resembled a crown.

During the 1960s, looted Maya artifacts referring to a then-unknown city surfaced on the international antiquities market. Peter Mathews, then a Yale graduate student, dubbed it “Site Q”, the Q being short for “que?” which means “what” in Spanish. Some researchers believed that the inscriptions referred to Calakmul, but the artistic style of the artifacts was different from anything that had been found there. Santiago Billy, an environmentalist, studying scarlet macaws found

Cival is an archaeological site in the Petén Basin region of the southern Maya lowlands, which was formerly a major city of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the present-day Department of Petén, Guatemala. The site flourished from about the 6th century BC through the 1st century, during the Maya Pre-Classic Period (see: Mesoamerican chronology). It may have had a peak population of some 10,000 people. The site is about 25 miles (40 km) east of Tikal, on a ridge over the left bank of the Holmul river.
The site has temples on step pyramids and plazas arranged to point to astronomical events such as the equinox sunrise, and is surrounded by a defensive wall. The site’s largest step-pyramid is 27 meters high and 70 x 40 meters wide. Some buildings were decorated with stucco sculptures depicting Mesoamerican deities.
The site was long lost in the jungle, and was discovered and partly plundered by looters around 1980. It was first mapped by explorer Ian Graham in 1984, who gave it the name Cival after a local word for “lagoon”. The ancient name of the site is currently unknown.

Chocolá is a Preclassic Southern Maya site whose developmental emphasis was from ca. 1000 BC to AD 200. The site lies within the Southern Maya area, long thought by scholars to have been seminal in the development of “high traits” of Classic Maya civilization, and a supposed nexus of Olmec, Maya, and other ethnolinguistic groups and cultures. Chocolá is in the San Pablo Jocopilas municipality in the southern Suchitepéquez department of Guatemala. A modern village lies on top of and within the ancient site.
Lying on a plateau below volcanic mountain ridges to the north and east, and at a height of 500-1000 meters, the site consists of three general groupings extending over ca. 6 by 2 kilometers, oriented north-to-south. To the north, great platform mounds consisted of elite residences, with elaborate hydraulic networks of stone-lined canals bringing water in from underground springs.

Chitinamit (or Chitinamit-Chujuyup) is an archeological site of the Maya civilization in the highlands of Guatemala. It has been identified asJakawitz, the first capital of the K’iche’ Maya. The site is located in the El Quiché department, in the municipality of Uspantán. Chitinamit dates from the Early Classic through to the Late Postclassic periods and covers approximately 2 hectares (220,000 sq. ft), making it the largest site in its region.

The site overlooks the Queca River in a rugged region that is considered particularly poor for agriculture, it is therefore likely that the mountain-top location was selected because it was readily defensible. The site is located on the mountain of Chujuyup, on the western edge of the Chuyujup Valley and was excavated in 1977 by Kenneth Brown of the University of Houston. It is defended by a stone rampart and possesses stone terraces, together with a ball-court and a temple to the K’iche’ patron god, also named Jakawitz. Its occupation seems to have come to an violent end, with many projectile points being found together with evidence of the burning of buildings.
Chitinamit includes residential structures measuring roughly 3 by 7 meters (9.8 by 23 ft) with the walls marked out with vertical schistose slabs measuring approximately 15 centimeters (5.9 in) high. These structures differ from the architectural style of the original Maya population and are presumed to represent the style of intrusive K’iche’ lineages. The site is arranged around an enclosed plaza

El Chal is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site located in the upper San Juan River valley of the southeastern Petén Basin region, Guatemala. The site is situated approximately 30 kilometers (19 mi) to the north of the modern town of Dolores, near the contemporary village settlement of the same name, lying some 600 meters (2,000 ft) to the south.
El Chal was occupied from approximately 300 BC through to 1300 AD (from the Late Preclassic through to the Early Postclassic Periods of Mesoamerican chronology), although some Middle Preclassic activity has been identified in the acropolis. The Late Preclassic occupation of the city was concentrated around an E-Group ceremonial complex some 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) north of the later site core.[3] The site’s major period of occupation was during the Late Classic Period, when it was an important centre in the southeastern Petén region. Among the structures at the site is a large quadrangular residential complex, a structural type that is uncommonly found at Southern Maya lowland sites although there is a smaller one with similar characteristics at Machaquilá.

Cancuén is an archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, located in the Pasión subregion of the central Maya lowlands in the present-day Guatemalan Department of El Petén. The city is notable for having one of the largest palaces in the Maya world.

Cancuén was a major city during the Classic Period, reaching its peak during the 7th century. The city was a major trade center, specializing in jade, pyrite and obsidian. Its strategic position on the river Pasion helped it dominate trade in the region. Tajal Chan Ahk, one of the city’s most powerful rulers, built the city’s palace in 770 A.D. The palace covered nearly 23,000 square meters and contained 200 rooms, making it the largest in the Maya area.
The city had two ball courts, a large marketplace and a dock on La Pasión River. The city does not contain many large temples or burial sites; it is thought that the inhabitants of Cancuén worshipped and buried their dead in the mountains near the city. Several dozen bodies dressed in royal garments were discovered near the base of the central pyramid. Investigations have shown that the bodies, including the city’s ruler at the time, Kan Maax, had been executed and dumped in a cistern. The massacre occurred around 800 A.D. the time when the Mayan civilization collapsed, leading some scholars to believe that it was connected to the upheaval that accompanied the collapse of the Maya civilization.

Motul de San José is an ancient Maya site located just north of Lake Petén Itzá in the Petén Basin region of the southern Maya lowlands. It is a few kilometers from the modern village of San José, in Guatemala’s northern department of Petén. A medium sized civic-ceremonial centre, it was an important political and economic centre during the Late Classic period (AD 650–950).
The site was first settled between 600 and 300 BC, in the latter portion of the Middle Preclassic period, when it most likely was a fairly small site. ThisMaya city then had a long and continuous occupational history until the Early Postclassic, up to around AD 1250, with peaks in the Late Preclassic and Late Classic periods. Motul de San José had begun to refer to Tikal as its overlord in the late 4th century AD; by the 7th century it had switched its allegiance to Calakmul, Tikal’s great rival, before returning its allegiance to Tikal in the early 8th century. In the late 8th century Motul de San José appears to have been conquered by Dos Pilas, capital of the Petexbatún kingdom.
Most natural resources were easily available in the immediate vicinity of the city. The nearby port at La Trinidad de Nosotros was an important hub for the import of exotic goods and export of local products such as chert and ceramics. Other goods not immediately available were likely to have been provided by the city’s satellite sites.

El Baúl is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in present-day Escuintla Department, Guatemala. El Baúl, along with the sites of Bilbao and El Castillo, is part of the Cotzumalhuapa Archaeological sites Zone. It is in the prehistoric Formative stage of the Americas.

The El Baúl acropolis is located 4 km north of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, 550 meters (1,800 ft) above sea level, 50 kilometers (31 mi) from the Pacific. Its southern acropolis complex was destroyed in 1997 by an urbanization of this city, and the main groups are now sugar cane fields. the ball-court is located 500 meters (1,600 ft) north of the acropolis with several residential groups in between, united by 2 causeways. Its geologic context is volcanic: the Fuego volcano is active and located just north of the site.
This site shows monumental architecture in its acropolis as well as a sweet house and obsidian workshops. Analysis of these deposits is particularly important for the study of the ancient obsidian industry. The P31 stratigraphic pit continued below these deposits to a depth of 3.78 meters (12.4 ft), revealing volcanic ash layers derived from the adjacent Fuego volcano. Obsidian debitage continued below these ash layers, suggesting that the area was used as a refuse deposit for a prolonged period.

Balberta is a major Mesoamerican archaeological site on the Pacific coastal plain of southern Guatemala, belonging to the Maya civilization. It has been dated to theEarly Classic period and is the only known major site on the Guatemalan Pacific coastal plain to have exposed Early Classic architecture that has not been buried under posterior Late Classic construction. The site was related to the nearby site of San Antonio, which lies 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) to the west.
Balberta first appears to have been occupied in the Late Preclassic period, when it was a small site of minor importance. After a period of rapid growth it became one of the largest Early Classic sites on the Guatemalan Pacific coast and reached the height of its power between AD 200 and AD 400, after which it rapidly declined and was replaced by a new capital at the nearby site of Montana. It traded with the distant metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, with other recovered artifacts having their origin on the Gulf coast of Mexico. Cacao was probably one of the city’s main exports, being a particularly valued perishable product in Mesoamerica. At its height Balberta demonstrated true state-level political organization and dominated a wide swathe of the Guatemalan coast
Balberta is located in the municipality of La Democracia in the department of Escuintla,[9] approximately equidistant between the La Gomera and Achiguate rivers flowing down from the Guatemalan Highlands and about 19 kilometers (12 mi) from the coast and 90 kilometers (56 mi) southeast of the contemporary site of Kaminaljuyu. Balberta lies at an altitude of 34 meters (112 ft) above mean sea level on a flat coastal plain with a width of approximately 30 kilometers (19 mi). The soils of the plain are sandy sedimentary deposits, they are fertile and well-drained, supporting tropical vegetation and suitable for the cultivation of a variety of crops. The site lies on the lands of four plantations, the Santa Rita, San Carlos, Santa Mónica and San Patricio plantations, with the majority of the site occupying the first three of these. The plantations are dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane, with the exception of the Santa Mónica plantation, which grows cotton and maize, depending on the season.

Aguateca is a Maya site located in northern Guatemala’s Petexbatun Basin, in the department of Petén. The first settlements at Aguateca date to the Late Preclassic period (300 BC – AD 350), and the city was sacked and abandoned in the early 9th century. Aguateca sits on top of a 90 meters (300 ft) tall limestone bluff, creating a highly defensible position. There is an extensive system of defensive walls that surrounds the city, reaching over 3 miles (4.8 km) in length. The site sits on the shore of a lake and is usually accessed by boat. The ruins of Aguateca are considered to be among the best preserved in Guatemala.

Aguateca and the nearby city of Dos Pilas were the twin capitals of a powerful dynasty claiming descent from the rulers of Tikal. Around 700 AD, Aguateca became a large, densely populated city, with a higher density of structures than most other lowland Maya sites. In 761 AD, the rulers of Dos Pilas appear to have abandoned their city and relocated to Aguateca. During the reign of Tan Te’ K’inich the city was invaded and burned. The city was completely abandoned around 830 AD. A 6-meter (20 ft) tall temple at the site was left unfinished, the centre of the city was destroyed by fire, valuables were left scattered in elite residences, and ceramics were left in their original domestic positions, all of which demonstrate the sudden abandonment of the city.

Tak’alik Ab’aj is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Guatemala; it was formerly known as Abaj Takalik; its ancient name may have been Kooja. It is one of several Mesoamerican sites with both Olmec and Maya features. The site flourished in the Preclassic and Classic periods, from the 9th century BC through to at least the 10th century AD, and was an important centre of commerce, trading with Kaminaljuyu and Chocolá. Investigations have revealed that it is one of the largest sites with sculptured monuments on the Pacific coastal plain. Olmec-style sculptures include a possible colossal head, petroglyphs and others. The site has one of the greatest concentrations of Olmec-style sculpture outside of the Gulf of Mexico.
Takalik Abaj is representative of the first blossoming of Maya culture that had occurred by about 400 BC. The site includes a Maya royal tomb and examples of Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions that are among the earliest from the Maya region. Excavation is continuing at the site; the monumental architecture and persistent tradition of sculpture in a variety of styles suggest the site was of some importance.
Finds from the site indicate contact with the distant metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico and imply that Takalik Abaj was conquered by it or its allies. Takalik Abaj was linked to long-distance Maya trade routes that shifted over time but allowed the city to participate in a trade network that included the Guatemalan highlands and the Pacific coastal plain from Mexico to El Salvador.

Motul de San José is an ancient Maya site located just north of Lake Petén Itzá in the Petén Basin region of the southern Maya lowlands. It is a few kilometers from the modern village of San José, in Guatemala’s northern department of Petén. A medium sized civic-ceremonial centre, it was an important political and economic centre during the Late Classic period (AD 650–950).
The site was first settled between 600 and 300 BC, in the latter portion of the Middle Preclassic period, when it most likely was a fairly small site. ThisMaya city then had a long and continuous occupational history until the Early Postclassic, up to around AD 1250, with peaks in the Late Preclassic and Late Classic periods.[3] Motul de San José had begun to refer to Tikal as its overlord in the late 4th century AD; by the 7th century it had switched its allegiance to Calakmul, Tikal’s great rival, before returning its allegiance to Tikal in the early 8th century. In the late 8th century Motul de San José appears to have been conquered by Dos Pilas, capital of the Petexbatún kingdom.
Most natural resources were easily available in the immediate vicinity of the city. The nearby port at La Trinidad de Nosotros was an important hub for the import of exotic goods and export of local products such as chert and ceramics. Other goods not immediately available were likely to have been provided by the city’s satellite sites. The local area provided a number of different soils suitable for varied agricultural use, and the port at La Trinidad de Nosotros provided the city with freshwater products such as turtles, crocodiles and freshwater molluscs. Deer were hunted locally and provided an important source of protein for the upper class, while freshwater snails were the main source of protein for commoners.

Altar de Sacrificios is a ceremonial center and archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, situated near the confluence of the Pasión and Salinas Rivers (where they combine to form the Usumacinta River), in the present-day department of Petén, Guatemala. Along with Seibal and Dos Pilas, Altar de Sacrificios is one of the better-known and most intensively-excavated sites in the region, although the site itself does not seem to have been a major political force in the Late Classic period.

Altar de Sacrificios is located on the Guatemalan side of the international border with Mexico, which follows the Salinas and Usumacinta rivers.[2] It is 80 kilometers (50 mi) upriver from the important Classic period Maya city of Yaxchilán and 60 kilometers (37 mi) west of Seibal.[3] The site is located on a small island located among seasonal swamps along the south bank of the Pasión River near where it joins the Salinas River (also known as the Chixoy River). This island measures approximately 700 meters (2,300 ft) from east to west, with the ceremonial architecture located on the higher eastern end and the residential groups on the lower western end.

La Amelia is a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site near Itzan, in the lower Pasión River region of the Petén Department of Guatemala. It formed apolity in the Late Classic (AD 600 to 830), and was involved in the war between Tikal and Calakmul followed, in 650, by the take over of Dos Pilas, leading to centuries of war until this region collapsed around 830, being the first of the Classic sites in this area to be abandoned.

La Amelia was a subordinate site in the Classic Period Petexbatún kingdom of Mutal that was first ruled from Dos Pilas and then from Aguateca.[3] The site is located to the northwest of Dos Pilas, and may have originally been called B’ahlam. The rapidly expanding Dos Pilas kingdom conquered La Amelia in the early 8th century. The occupational history of La Amelia appears to have been brief and limited to the Late Classic.
In AD 802 the last known ruler of the kingdom, Tan Te’ K’inich, supervised a ritual conducted by the ruler of La Amelia, Lachan K’awiil Ajaw Bot, the last reference anywhere to Tan Te’ K’inich.

Q’umarkaj sometimes rendered as Gumarkaaj, Gumarcaj, Cumarcaj or Kumarcaaj) is an archeological site in the southwest of the El Quiché department of Guatemala. Q’umarkaj is also known as Utatlán, the Nahuatl translation of the city’s name. The name comes from K’iche’ Q’umarkah “Place of old reeds”.
Q’umarkaj was one of the most powerful Maya cities when the Spanish arrived in the region in the early 16th century. It was the capital of theK’iche’ Maya in the Late Postclassic Period. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Q’umarkaj was a relatively new capital, with the capital of the K’iche’ kingdom having originally been situated at Jakawitz (identified with the archaeological site Chitinamit) and then at Pismachi’. Q’umarkaj was founded during the reign of king Q’uq’umatz (“Feathered Serpent” in K’iche’) in the early 15th century, immediately to the north of Pismachi’. In 1470 the city was seriously weakened by a rebellion among the nobility that resulted in the loss of key allies of the K’iche’.
The major structures of Q’umarkaj were laid out around a plaza. They included the temple of Tohil, a jaguar god who was patron of the city, the temple of Awilix, the patron goddess of one of the noble houses, the temple of Jakawitz, a mountain deity who was also a noble patron and the temple of Q’uq’umatz, the Feathered Serpent, the patron of the royal house. The main ball court was placed between the palaces of two of the principal noble houses. Palaces, or nimja, were spread throughout the city. There was also a platform that was used for gladiatorial sacrifice.
The area of Greater Q’umarkaj was divided into four major political division, one for each of the most important ruling lineages, and also encompassed a number of smaller satellites sites, including Chisalin, Pismachi’, Atalaya and Pakaman. The site core is open to the public and includes basic infrastructure, including a small site museum

Yaxha (or Yaxhá in Spanish orthography) is a Mesoamerican archaeological site in the northeast of the Petén Basin region, and a former ceremonial center and city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Located in the modern-day department of Petén, northern Guatemala, it is approximately 30 km (18.6mi) southeast from Tikal, between the Yahxá and Sacnab lakes. It shares a unique relationship with two other cities (Nakum and Naranjo); together they form a triangle in the midst of which there are other minor sites. This area forms the core of the designated Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park. The site has more than 500 structures, including 40 stelae, 13 Altars, 9 Temple Pyramids, 2 Mesoamerican ballcourts, and a network of sacbeob(causeways) that connect the central, northern (Maler), and eastern ‘acropoleis’, and the Lake causeway that was the main entrance in the past. The top of Temple 216 (restored) provides a view of the two lakes on one side and the jungle and the stepped-pyramids on the other.
On Plaza C is the only twin-pyramid complex outside of Tikal, that commemorates a Katun, a 20 years period, there are 7 in Tikal, also known as the stela plaza. The fact that the site holds the twin-pyramid complex can be a visible insight on the political alliances that eventually influenced the architectural style of the city at its peak.
The Temple K is being restored here, at the entrance of the site. The city has 3 main groups, the East Acrópolis built on an elevated platform, is the tallest point of the site and in front of it are several Stelas broken long ago. The main ball court is restored, and located near the Central Acrópolis. The Deutsche Bank is financing its undergoing restoration.

Zaculeu or Saqulew is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site in the highlands of western Guatemala, about 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) outside of the modern city of Huehuetenango. Occupation at the site dates back as far as the Early Classic period (AD 250–600) of Mesoamerican history. Zaculeu was the capital of the Postclassic Mam kingdom,[2] and was conquered by the K’iche’ Kingdom of Q’umarkaj, displaying a mixture of Mam and K’iche’ style architecture. In AD 1525 the city was attacked by Spanish conquistadors under Gonzalo de Alvarado y Chávez during a siege that lasted several months.Kayb’il B’alam, the city’s last ruler, finally surrendered due to starvation.
The site contains a number of temple-pyramids with talud-tablero style architecture and double stairways. The pyramids and governmental palaces are grouped around a series of plazas, and the site also possesses a ballcourt for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame. The site was originally fortified with walls.
The site was restored by the United Fruit Company in the late 1940s. It is open to tourists and includes a small museum

Tikal or Tik’al according to the modern Mayan orthography) is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya.[3] Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century. Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowlan d Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.

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