1 Etymology 2 Discovery 3 Excavations, investigations, and modern development
3.1 Exploration timeline
4 Population 5 History
5.1 Wars with Tikal 5.2 Prosperity 5.3 Collapse
6 Known war events 7 Monument chronology 8 Monuments 9 Timeline 10 Lords of Caracol 11 Select architectural groups 12 Other area sites 13 See also 14 Notes 15 References 16 External links
"Caracol" is a modern name from Spanish: caracol "snail, shell", but
more generally meaning spiral- or volute-shaped— apparently on
account of the winding access road that led to the site. Local
tour guides say that the nickname "Caracol" originates from the large
population of snails present on the site. Researchers would say to go
to "that one place with all the snails", and this eventually developed
into just referring to it as "Caracol". When visiting the site you
will see that snails are quite literally everywhere. Its ancient name
has been reconstructed from the Emblem Glyph popular among its early
rulers - Ux Witz Ajaw, or “Three Hills Lord”. The full name of
A. H. Anderson initially visits Caracol
Linton Satterthwaite and the University Museum conducts investigations
focusing on recording monuments, and makes a limited map
A. H. Anderson returns to
Population At Caracol, there are approximately 267 structures per square kilometer, 85% higher than Tikal. The site covers approximately 200 square kilometers, and within this area, structures are generally situated equidistantly and are integrated with the terrace system. The town grew into one of the largest ancient Maya cities, covering some 177 km² with an estimated population of over 100,000  with settlement focused along the many radiating causeways (potentially peaking between 120,000 and up to 180,000) History
People Society Languages Writing Religion Mythology Sacrifice Cities Architecture Astronomy Calendar Stelae Art Textiles Trade Music Dance Medicine Cuisine Warfare
Classic Maya collapse
Spanish conquest of the Maya
Yucatán Chiapas Guatemala Petén
v t e
Date Victor Defeated Nature of Warfare
188.8.131.52.11 Tikal Caracol Axe Event
184.108.40.206.2 Caracol Tikal Star-War
220.127.116.11.4 Caracol Naranjo Hubi (destruction)
18.104.22.168.5 Caracol Naranjo Hubi
22.214.171.124.3 Caracol Naranjo Star-War
126.96.36.199.12 Caracol Naranjo Star-War
188.8.131.52.1 Naranjo Caracol Star-War
Pre-184.108.40.206.0 Caracol Ucanal Capture ?
Post-220.127.116.11.15 Caracol Tikal Axe Event
 Monument chronology
Gregorian Date Long Count Altars Stelae
AD 400 18.104.22.168.14
AD 495 22.214.171.124.0 2 Ajaw Altar 4
AD 504 126.96.36.199.0 Altar 19
AD 514 188.8.131.52.0 13 Ajaw Altar 7 Stela 13
AD 534 184.108.40.206.0 11 Ajaw Altars 3, 14 ?? Stela 16
AD 554 220.127.116.11.0 9 Ajaw Altar 5 Stela 14
AD 573 18.104.22.168.0 7 Ajaw Altar 6 Stela 15
AD 583 22.214.171.124.0 Altar 24 Stela 4
AD 593 126.96.36.199.0 5 Ajaw Altar 1 Stela 1
AD 603 188.8.131.52.0
AD 613 184.108.40.206.0 3 Ajaw Altars 11, 15 Stela 5
AD 633 220.127.116.11.0 1 Ajaw Altar 21 Stelae 7, 22
AD 652 18.104.22.168.0 12 Ajaw Altars 7, 17 Stela 3
AD 702 22.214.171.124.0
AD 798 126.96.36.199.9 BCM 3
AD 799 188.8.131.52.9 BCM 4
AD 800 184.108.40.206.0 Altar 23 Stela 11
AD 810 220.127.116.11.0 9 Ajaw Altar 22 Stelae 8, 9, 18
AD 820 18.104.22.168.0 Altars 12, 13 Stela 19
AD 830 10.0.0.0.0 7 Ajaw Altar 16
AD 849 10.1.0.0.0 5 Ajaw Altars 18, 10 Stela 17
AD 859 10.1.10.0.0 1 Ajaw
Monuments Stela 1
Potentially posthumous monument erected by Kan II to solidify his rule by referring to Lord Water (but not his predecessor Knot Ahau) Martin and Grube  say that it was erected by Yajaw Te’ K’inich along with Altar 1 to mark the 22.214.171.124.0 K’atun ending (AD 593) Located behind structure A1 with cached vessels below it, and a small ‘transformational tomb’ behind it containing three cremated individuals  Found standing and unfragmented by A. H. Anderson in 1938, later excavations by the University Museum in 1950 revealed its association with Altar 1 
Discovered during the 1951 season fragmented into seven pieces, located between the south end of Platform A1 and Structure A9. Only the top portion was found Depicts a badly eroded ruler from the waist up holding the ceremonial bar No date survives
Found broken in two major fragments, one found in 1950 in Plaza A3, the lower portion found in 1953 at the west edge of Reservoir B. The lower portion did not seem to have been re-erected, nor was it associated with any other monuments or construction features Dedicated at 126.96.36.199.0 – AD 652 by Kan II at his accession (AD 618), it also references his 1st penis perforation at age 5 under the direction of his father, Yajaw Te’ K’inich II (Lord Water)  May portray Batz’ Ek’, who may have served as Kan II’s regent/surrogate parent, or his mother. The text includes the “arrival” verb (at 188.8.131.52.8 and again at 184.108.40.206.5, although the presence of two arrivals is not thoroughly explained), indicating that whomever Batz’ Ek’ was, they were foreign to Caracol. Batz’ Ek’ is an enigmatic character, who on this stela bears the Snake emblem glyph yet may in fact be from Site Q. Shows Site Q emblem glyph in clauses showing its ‘secondary importance’
Probably from AD 583 (220.127.116.11.0), depicts Yajaw Te’ K’inich (Lord Water) Found in 1950 by A. H. Anderson in Plaza A3, when excavation showed that this was not the monument’s original placement
Marks the 9th K’atun ending in AD 613 - 18.104.22.168.0  Elaborate Early classic style, showing Knot Ajaw holding the ceremonial bar, surrounded by open portals with emerging named ancestors The northernmost in a line of stelae (including Stelae 6 and 7) discovered in front of Structure A13. None of these stelae had associated altars, yet a sub-altar cache was found in front of Stela 5 (although this may represent a later offering) which could indicate the previous presence of a Giant Ajaw Altar
Discovered with Stelae 5 and 7 in front of Structure A13 in 1950, and tentatively dates to 22.214.171.124.0  First stela erected by Knot Ajaw in AD 603 (126.96.36.199.0?)  Originally had over 144 glyphs, and depicted twin portraits of Knot Ajaw and his father, Lord Water Makes note of Lord Chekaj K’inich who also carries the Caracol emblem glyph, and may be the younger brother of Lord Water (Yajaw Te’ K’inich)
Dating to 188.8.131.52.0 1 Ajaw – AD 633 Placed at the southern end of the line formed with Stelae 5 and 6 at Structure A13
Located in the A-Group Plaza to the west of Altar 14  Badly eroded, the only semi-legible text being a date which is presumably 184.108.40.206.0? – AD 810, and is very stylistically similar to Stelae 9 and 11
Was unfortunately located under a logging road, and is heavily damaged and broken. Associated with Altar 4, both monuments were in the center of the A-Group Plaza along the east-west axis facing Platform A10 Seems to have a different dating than Altar 4, leading Beetz and Satterthwaite  to suggest that they were not an original pair Similar to Stelae 8 and 11 in the same Plaza, which depict a ruler with the ceremonial serpent bar, potentially dating between 220.127.116.11.0 and 10.0.0.0.0
Found in the A-Group Plaza, it displays a glyphic text on one face
 making it unusual in the
Erected by K’inich Joy Kawiil in AD 800 (18.104.22.168.0) in the A-Group Plaza (Martin and Grube 2008) Suggests that Tum Yohl K’inich is K’inich Joy Kawiil’s father, or potentially a related high-ranking military leader Discovered in 1953 along the east-west axis of the plaza, near but not paired with Altar 19 
Found in the A-Group Plaza at the base of Platform A1a, just south of Stela 20. The building sequence indicated that Stela 12 preceded the construction of Platform A1a When discovered, A. H. Anderson noted that the stela was devoid of any carving, and entirely plain. While this may be an uncarved monument, it is also likely that erosion destroyed any carving that may have once been present
Located in the front of Structure A4 on Platform A1, and situated near Stela 14, 15, and 16, and Altar 7. It is one of the few Early Classic monuments left in situ by early excavations. The iconography on the front closely resembles that of Stela 16, and the back contains enough legible glyphs that the date 22.214.171.124.0 can be assigned to the monument, placing it in the reign of Yajaw Te’ K’inich I. This date makes it the second oldest stela at the site, and confirms the existence of a royal dynasty at Caracol. The iconography is standard Early Classic, with the ruler holding the ceremonial bar while wearing a god mask.
Erected by Yajaw Te’ K’inich II in AD 554 to commemorate the K’atun ending 126.96.36.199.0  Found on Platform A1 near Stelae 13, 15, and 16, and in association with Altar 7  It was originally thought to be uncarved when first discovered, yet it is actually finely incised and depicts a ruler seated holding the ceremonial bar over a 42 block glyphic text
Dedicated in AD 573 – 188.8.131.52.0 7Ajaw
Completes the grouping on Platform A1 which includes 13, 14, 16, and
Altar 7. It is primarily glyphic, although there are small and
eroded figures at the top of the monument
Records the accession of K’an I in AD 531, and a ch’ak (axe) event
K’an I’s only K’atun ending in AD 534 (184.108.40.206.0), erected on Platform A1 Gives a genealogy and includes his grandfather K’ahk’ Ujol K’inich I, a royal woman from Xultun, and both of his parents. Also mentioned is Lord Bahlam Nehn of Copan, although his appearance is unclear It is comparatively well preserved, and depicts the ruler with the ceremonial bar standing above three smaller seated figures which appear below the ground line In the monument grouping that includes Stelae 13, 14, 15, and Altar 7. Along with Stela 15, it seems to have been broken in antiquity and buried beneath Altar 7.
Erected by K’an III, it is associated with Altar 10 to the southeast of B Group  It depicts two seated lords facing each other and accompanied by glyphic texts, dating to AD 849 - 10.1.0.0.0. Originally it seems that there was also carving on the sides, with four large cartouches on each side presumably with one large glyph block in each, although these are now eroded and illegible
Badly eroded, but shows a full figured vision serpent over the body of a bound captive Erected by K’inich Toobil Yopaat to mark the end of the 19th K’atun, 220.127.116.11.0 (AD 810)  Found in the B-Group Plaza, to the west of Structure B28 
Erected by K’inich Toobil Yopaat in AD 820 – 18.104.22.168.0  Associated with Altar 12 at the southern end of the B-Group Plaza in front of Structure B5, facing Caana. Once the tallest stela at Caracol, it is now broken into several eroded fragments. Only six glyph blocks partially remain on the front, which while eroded, clearly shows the outline of a ruler holding the ceremonial bar. Each side of the monument displayed two cartouches with four glyph blocks each, although those on the left side are broken and eroded. The legible text on the right side seems to be a continuation of the text on the left side, and begins with a glyph that resembles the Site Q emblem. The text also references the two Paddler Gods, who were ‘seen’ by K’inich Toobil Yopaat.
Only the upper portion is known, and it gives a date of what is likely an accession, but neither the date nor the ruler’s name are included in the surviving text  Located on the front of Platform A1a, and is also nearly associated with Stela 12 which both broke and fell into the plaza below  On the lower portion of the stela, the outlines of four cartouches can still be seen, although their glyphs are illegible. On the upper portion of the Stela are two facing seated individuals with two eroded glyphic text in between. In the upper left corner appear the jaws of what Beetz and Satterthwaite describe as a serpent
The top left portion of the stela is broken off, and the lowest row of
glyph blocks have broken off and eroded
Depicts an unknown
Found at the summit of Structure A2 in association with Altar 17.
It once had a hieroglyphic text which covered the entire face of the
monument; this text is now badly eroded. Two small figures were carved
on the top corners of the monument, sitting crossed legged facing each
Surviving text relates events from the reign of K’an II.
Importantly, this stela relates the arrival date of Batz’ Ek’ to
Only a partial stela, found intentionally broken and placed beneath Altar 17 at the summit of Structure A2. No iconography exists, and only a small amount of text survives. Shows a date that falls between AD 361 and AD 420 and references yajaw te’ which may be referencing a recurring royal name: Yajaw Te’ K’inich 
Found in front of the eastern building of the elite residential group associated with the Puchituk Terminus plaza  Finger bowl caches and broken jadeite artifacts were associated with its erection Only a small portion of the original carving exists; no glyphic text. It depicts a ruler below the waist, and a jaguarian figure emerging from a serpentine mouth. A second figure appears on the left, but only a hand is still visible.
A Giant Ajaw altar placed by Yajaw Te’ K’inich to mark the 22.214.171.124.0 5 Ajaw K’atun ending (AD 593) along with Stela 1  Excavations by the University Museum in 1950 revealed its association with Stela 1 
A Giant Ajaw altar located in Plaza A3 at the east edge of Platform A1, which Beetz and Satterthwaite  suggest was a secondary placement because of its uncertain relationship to the plaza floor 126.96.36.199.0 13 Ajaw?, although its lack of associated monuments and eroded state make this date tentative
A Giant Ajaw altar dating to 188.8.131.52.0 11 Ajaw or 184.108.40.206.0 11 Ajaw Found in front of Structure A1, resting on three limestone legs which were embedded in the plaza floor and associated with the northern, western, and southeastern axis’s  Altar 14 is also dated 11 Ajaw, although Beetz and Satterthwaite  assign this monument to an earlier date of 220.127.116.11.0, Mathews dates Altar 3 to the earlier date
Dated to 18.104.22.168.0 2 Ajaw, this Giant Ajaw altar is associated with Stela 9 in front of Platform A10 in the A-Group Plaza.
A Giant Ajaw altar found west of Altar 6 and in front of Structure A3  B and S suggest that it dates to 22.214.171.124.0 9 Ajaw, although it is too highly eroded to be certain. They also suggest that this altar may have originally been paired with Stela 14 which tentatively marks the same K’atun ending
This Giant Ajaw altar was found along the north-south axis of Plaza A, and dated based largely on iconography to 126.96.36.199.0. It was also seated on three limestone legs resting on a plaster floor, similar to Altar 3 Altar 16 also has the 7 Ajaw date, but is dated 260 tuns later because of its size, associated stela, and iconographic traits
Well preserved Giant Ajaw altar found on Platform A1 beneath the broken portion of Stela 14, near Stelae 13, 15, and 16. Dates to 188.8.131.52.0 13 Ajaw A disturbed sub-altar cache may indicate the removal of an earlier altar originally associated with Stela 14; the later placement of a cache containing Late Classic materials was found undisturbed immediately below this altar
Altars 8 and 9
Plain and uncarved monuments which some have suggested are not monuments at all  Located in Plaza A3, yet are not associated with any structures or carved monuments
Found under the fallen portion of Stela 17 to the southeast of B Group, and presumably dating to the same period as the stela (10.1.0.0.0?)  It is badly eroded, but the outlines of three figures with the same style headdresses can be seen, along with a few legible glyph blocks
Highly eroded Giant Ajaw altar, it is almost unrecognizable except for the scalloped quatrefoil surround and potentially a dot and bar coefficient  It was situated at the northern edge of Structure B2, potentially placed along the centerline of the structure, although it was not associated with any caches or stelae Located on top of several square limestone blocks which appeared to be secondary altar supports, which contrasts the rounded leg supports for Altars 3 and 6, further suggests that this was a secondary placement Beetz and Satterthwaite suggest the 184.108.40.206.0 3 Ajaw dedicatory date for this monument based on their reconstruction of the dates for Stelae 5 and 6 which would both require a coefficient 3 Ajaw on Giant Ajaw altars if erected on the K’atun ending
Dedicated by K’inich Toobil Yopaat in AD 820 (220.127.116.11.0) and
associated with Stela 19 at the southern end of the B-Group Plaza
facing Caana 
Depicts Toobil Yopaat of
Found in front of Caana at the southern end of the B-Group Plaza with Stela 19 and Altar 12 Dating to 18.104.22.168.0 (AD 820), Beetz and Satterthwaite hypothesize that this altar may have been associated with Stela 18, although this matter cannot be relied upon until further excavation reveals the base of the stela in situ It depicts an event taking place within a quatrefoil with water and earth symbols at the four corners. There are three figures within the cartouche, the first figure seems to be presenting a bound captive to a Lord
A Giant Ajaw altar potentially dating to 22.214.171.124.0 11 Ajaw, this altar was found along the north-south axis of A-Group Plaza near Stela 8. It was located above a well-preserved fragment of Altar 15, and while there was no formal cache, this fragment might be constituted as such The occurrence of an 11 Ajaw date also appears on Altar 3, but Altar 14 appears to be earlier, and may have originally been paired with Stela 16
A fragment found in the A-Group Plaza along the north-south axis below Altar 14  Potentially dated to 126.96.36.199.0 3 Ajaw, it was probably originally paired with a stela (possibly Stela 5)
Isolated at the southern base of Structure B19 (from which it presumably fell in antiquity), it was not associated with a stela, and is the smallest of all the Giant Ajaw altars. Dated to 10.0.0.0.0 7 Ajaw
This Giant Ajaw altar dating to 188.8.131.52.0 was found resting on edge near the top of Structure A2, erected on K’atun before Altar 17. Only the upper portion of the stela exists, although it once had 12 small cartouches around the rim. It is also the last Giant Ajaw altar known from Caracol. Stylistically similar to Altar 2 with small glyph cartouches around the central Ajaw, this pair is distinct from the other known altars. Beetz and Satterthwaite argue that like Altar 2, Altar 17 was not originally paired with a stela.
Discovered on the south slope of Structure B6, it is a severely weathered Giant Ajaw altar While Beetz and Satterthwaite suggest a 10.1.0.0.0 5 Ajaw date, this date is tentative because of the level of erosion
A Giant Ajaw Altar found near Stela 11 in the A-Group Plaza and possibly dating to 184.108.40.206.0  Because the known Giant Ajaw altars are paired with carved stelae, Beetz and Satterthwaite suggest that it may have been paired with Stela 7 at the base of Structure A13, which would create an east-west alignment
One of the Giant Ajaw altars commissioned by K’an II in AD 633 to
commemorate the 220.127.116.11.0 K’atun ending 
References Kan II’s birth date, but the majority of the text
deals with Yajaw Te’ K’inich II 
It tells that Yajaw Te’ K’inich II’s accession takes place under
the auspices of the
Discovered in the Plaza of the Two Stelae, a residential area connected with the B Plaza by a causeway. Found in front of two uncarved stelae, it dates to 18.104.22.168.0 (AD 810). Erected by K’inich Joy K’awiil, its iconography repeats that of the earlier Altar 23 – two bound captives sit on Cauac-thrones. This altar deviates from Altar 23 because of its ballgame iconography and titles.
Dedicated by K’inich Joy K’awiil in AD 800 (22.214.171.124.0) in the B
Plaza west of Structure B28, placed at the same time Stela 11 was
erected in the A Plaza.
Depicts two bound lords from
Found in the El Chaquistero group in 1991 on the second highest
structure in the group.
A Giant Ajaw altar dedicated by Yajaw Te’ K’inich II on 126.96.36.199.0.
It is one of the first monument erected at
Ballcourt Markers 1 and 2
Both badly eroded, but are obviously a stylistic set. Both show two figures facing away from each other, one a god head and the other an animal. BCM 1 shows a rabbit head facing away from an image of the Sun God. BCM 2 depicts a jaguar head facing away from what is likely an image of God N emerging from his shell. BCM 1 was found 8m southeast of Ballcourt A, and BCM 2 was found in the center of Ballcourt B.
Ballcourt Marker 3
Discovered northwest of the B Group Ballcourt. Erected by K’inich Joy K’awiil, and associates him with the date 188.8.131.52.9 (AD 798) which is the first date after the epigraphic hiatus. It refers back in time to the dynastic founding which took place in AD 331 (184.108.40.206.4)
Ballcourt Marker 4
Located at the southern end of the B Ballcourt  Has the same glyphic arrangement as BCM 3, yet dates one year later at 220.127.116.11.9 (AD 799). The text describes the accession of K’inich Joy K’awiil, as well as the ‘presentation’ of a monument
1200 BC – 250 AD Preclassic Small sedentary villages followed by
development of monumentality and larger centers.
c. 600–900 BC Earliest archaeologically known habitation at Caracol
c. AD 70 Structure A6-1st, "Temple of the Wooden Lintel," constructed
and consecrated; locus B34 burial; full Maya ritual complex present at
c. AD 150 Elaborate burial placed in Structure B34 locus.
AD 250–900 Classic "Peak" of Maya civilization; pyramids, tombs,
inscriptions, widespread trade; by AD 800 Maya "collapse" is underway.
c. AD 330 Teotihuacan style cremation with three individuals (S.D.
C117F-1) placed in the plaza of the Northeast Acropolis 
AD 331 (18.104.22.168.4)
The southern acropolis.
331–349: Te' K'ab Chaak
circa 470: K'ak' Ujol K'inich I
484–514: Yajaw Te' K'inich I
531–534: K'an I
Yajaw Te' K'inich II
Te’ K’ab Chaak (Tree Branch Rain God) is the dynastic progenitor
of Caracol, yet is only known from two Late Classic back dated texts.
One places him at AD 331, and the second at AD 349.
K’ahk’ Ujol K’inich I (also known as Ruler I, or Smoking Skull
I) appears on the 6th century genealogical text of Stela 16, but his
place in the line of reigning lords is unknown. His reign has been
estimated to be circa AD 470. He may have been the father of Yajaw
Te’ K’inich I.
Yajaw Te’ K’inich I acceded to rulership in AD 484 (22.214.171.124.16),
and is known from Stela 13, which records his celebration of the 4th
K’atun in AD 514. His monuments include Stela 13 and Altar 4. He
is the father of K’an I.
K'an I (also known as Ruler II) is the son of Yajaw Te’ K’inich I,
and acceded his father in AD 531 – 126.96.36.199.3. Stela 15 text
gives his parentage statement, and tells that his accession was
overseen by a ‘higher authority,’ either another lord or a divine
being. His monuments include Stela 16 (which includes his parentage
statement) and Altar 14.
Yajaw Te' K'inich II
One of the earliest groups at the site. Has temples on three sides,
and a western range platform supporting six structures; built over the
Investigations encountered ritual activity in a traditionally non-ritual context at the back of the structure. Stela 1 and Altar 1 were located at the rear, in front of a tomb with three cremated individuals, and over a twice life-size stucco figure which created, modified, and used during the Early Classic. Also recovered were two elaborate caches dating to the end of the Early Classic, including a cached ceramic box found at the chest of the stucco figure. Construction dates to the Early classic. Probably played a role in the Lord Water (Yajaw Te’ K’inich II), Knot Ahau, and Kan II transition. Occupation and modification demonstrated in the Late to Terminal Classic. Grouping of monuments includes Stelae 13, 14, 15, 16, and Altar 7. This building sequence seems to have begun with a dedicatory cache on the bedrock below Platform A1 containing Early Classic pottery, which was covered over by a floor in which Stelae 13 and 14 were set. A Late or Terminal Classic cache was placed directly above the first and Stelae 15 and 16 were broken and covered by Altar 7 in front of Stela 14 (this indicates that originally, Stela 14 and Altar 7 were not a pair; Altar 7 was a later addition).
Forming the western side of the A Group Plaza, excavations revealed several Early Classic caches and a Terminal Classic tomb. Stela 22 which was found 1.5m west of Altar 17, and Stela 23 were also found at its summit. Excavations revealed that the structure was built in one single construction effort during the Late Preclassic with only minor later modification.
Located on the northern side of the A Group Plaza  Painted capstone shows building renovation in AD 696  Excavations uncovered a well preserved front stairway with the basal portion of a central stair mask. Two special deposits (a Terminal Classic skull cache and a Late Classic partial burial) were found in association with the stair, but neither revealed any artifactual offerings. The mask here was also not associated with a tomb, as is the case with B19 and B20 on Caana.
Stelae 13, 14, 15, 16, and Altar 7 were found adjacent, and Stelae 12 and 20 were found at its base. No tombs were located within its core,
The largest of the four buildings surrounding A-Group Plaza, and dates to the 1st century AD. Two tombs were located in front of the structure, and were both of an Early Classic date, although no tombs were found within the core of the building. The primary eastern temple in the A Group Appears to have been the location of long term use, evidenced from cooking vessels and burning dated into the 11th century AD.
The superstructure, excavated during the 1990 field season, revealed a tandem-room structure facing south, away from the A Plaza. Excavations revealed that the earlier platform faced west, and a probe in the plaza floor showed a posthole, although it is unknown if it is associated with the platform or an earlier construction.
Defines the northern boundary of the A Group Ballcourt (Structures A11 and A12). Its earliest construction associated with the earliest floor indicated a Late Preclassic date. The latest material recovered from the floor of the structure is Late to Terminal Classic effigy censors, indicating a long use history.
A Group Ballcourt (Structures A11 and A12)
Altar 21 centrally placed within the ballcourt
Associated with Stelae 5, 6, and 7 which originally sat in a line at western front of the structure. It was obviously a place of dynastic ritual and potentially accession, as it has 3 stelae along its base. A purposely burned cache was found within the structure, and probably dated to the onset of the Late Classic. Three small platforms, and no formally constructed buildings, surmounted this structure in its final form and the structure itself seems to date to the early Late Classic.
B Group Plaza Caana (B14-B20, B36, B37)
Caana ("sky-palace") is the largest building at Caracol. It remains one of the largest man-made structures in Belize. It is situated on the north end of the B Group plaza. Rebuilt by Lord Water, and tombs were placed in B20 at AD 577Modified and inhabited during the Classic and Terminal Classic. Major constructions date to the Late 7th century (AD 650–696) In total it had minimally 71 rooms and at least 45 benches.
One of the latest constructions on Caana’s summit, it was remodeled by K’inich Toobil Yopaat in the first half of the 9th century, and include stucco references to Papmalil of Ucanal. Its latest construction raised the final floor 4m above the previous floor construction. Its rooms resembled a palace structure rather than the expected temple, which is further supported by the lack of axial caches.
One of the most important structures at Caracol, and the tallest. The large tomb of an elite woman was excavated in 1987; several additional tombs have been found in subsequent excavations. Two reentered tombs under the side rooms indicate continued use of the structure into the Late Classic (past AD 700). It was originally constructed at the end of the Late Preclassic, and only in the Late Classic was its height raised. Painted texts from elite tombs in structures B19 and B20. Earliest known hieroglyphic text associated with a tomb – Structure B20, dates to AD 537. One has a painted date that seems to be 188.8.131.52.11 (AD 634), and Martin and Grube suggest that it is Lady Batz’ Ek’ At the foot of the steps to B19 is a giant ajaw altar dedicated to the Bak’tun ending 10.0.0.0.0 7 Ajaw (AD 830).
Structures B8 and B9
Together they create the B Group ballcourt A centerline east-west trench was paced in 1986, demonstrating that the court was built in a single construction Its markers include BCMs 2, 3, and 4 (see monument list)
It was undergoing major renovations at the time of abandonment. It is a palace compound which consists of a series of vaulted structures on a raised platform to the east of Caana and the B Plaza. Substantial deposits of Terminal Classic ceramics were found between Structures B25 and B26. Excavations into the structure’s core indicate a Late Classic construction with Terminal Classic modification.
Forms the eastern portion of the Barrio complex, and was originally mapped by Satterthwaite. It is an eight-room tandem plan building, and the two rooms facing the courtyard each have benches, but no associated deposits or caches.
Dominating the eastern edge of the plaza, whose western stair seems to have been remodeled, although there was little evidence of previous construction efforts. Several of its rooms yielded ceramic vessels, burnt surfaces, beads, and benches.
The tallest building within the Barrio complex, and dominates the northern side of the courtyard. Excavations revealed that the building was never finished, as it was being enlarged at the time of abandonment.
It is the eastern building on the B Plaza, and is associated with the Terminal Classic Stela 18 and Altar 23. Excavations during the 2002 season revealed that this building was primarily constructed during the latter part of the Late Classic. Extensive disarticulated human remains were found to the front of the building’s steps, some of which seems to have been burnt along with the associated floor. These remains date to the Terminal Classic, and represent the remains of 2 to 17 individuals. These bones were directly associated with the fragmented Stela 25, which is suspected to have tumbled down from B28’s summit.
The Northeast Acropolis (B30-B34)
Directly to the east of Caana, on the north side of a plaza created by Caana to the west and the Barrio palace complex to the east. This structure group atop a large raised platform was occupied from the Late Preclassic through the Terminal Classic, with extensive modification in the later period. The only definite access point is on the western side (presumably with a similar stair on the eastern side) which would have created an intensely restricted plaza space. Massive construction during the Late to Terminal Classic raised the plaza over 2m A test pit was placed in the center of the plaza revealing an Early Classic cremation dating to AD 330 (S.D. C117F-1) which was recovered from a sealed deposit within the central plaza. Twenty ceramic vessels were recovered in various conditions, many being severely burnt, three of which are reminiscent of Teotihuacan style vessels. Six tanged points were recovered warped from the intensity of the fire, along with many other elite goods. A minimum of three individuals were present, although the bones were too badly burnt to identify sex or age.
One of two range structures that mark the southern edge of the Acropolis (along with Structure B31). There was no access point to the Acropolis between these two structures.
As pared with B30, probably contained two inset terraced area, yet their function is unknown. There is evidence of a small stairway to the west of this structure which grants access to the Acropolis.
A range structure (probably consisting of two levels originally) situated on the western edge of the Acropolis plaza. Evidence of extensive burning was found on either side of the stairway which extended into the plaza, as well as along both sides of the terrace facings. While dirt fill contained Late Preclassic through Terminal Classic refuse, there was only one Terminal Classic construction effort.
The largest construction on the Northeast Acropolis. Containing 8 rooms, there were no vaulted stones recovered, indicating a wooden/perishable roofing structure. An Early Classic tomb (S.D. C181B-1) was found beneath the summit floor containing one adult individual with head to the east. Evidence of Terminal Classic modification and expansion may be contemporaneous with the raising of the plaza. A test-pit in front of the structure recovered a Late Preclassic cache
The eastern shrine of the complex, was excavated and deposits show a long history, ranging from the Late Preclassic through the Terminal Classic. Several special deposits dating to the Late Classic were found; no late dating royal tombs were recovered (unlike Caana and the Central Acropolis)
C Group Plaza
Includes the plaza created by Structures B59-B62, B64, and I19-I20. This plaza and the majority of its associated structures date largely to the Late Preclassic based on construction sequencing and mortuary activity.
A square collapsed stone structure on the northeast corner of the C Group plaza; it was selected for excavation based on its potential as a shrine. It was completely infilled with raised benches, and resembles a sweat house except for the missing ‘firebox’ which would have been set to the rear of the structure.
Sits atop the eastern end of I19, a long range building making up the northern edge of the plaza group. Built in multiple phases all dating to the Late Classic, it had two distinct buildings. Excavations revealed used into the Terminal Classic, and several caches and burials were also uncovered.
Culebras Residential Group
Located southeast of the South Acropolis, on the eastern side of the Pajaro-Romonal Causeway. Set within a terraced hillside, and was investigated during the 2008-2009 field seasons.
The northernmost of the plaza group’s two eastern shrines. It contained a Late Classic tomb (S.D. C179B-7) with a narrow stairway created for reentry; this entry way was sealed during the latest construction effort. This entry was used to deposit a total of seven individuals into the tomb. A concentration of smashed ceramic sherds was found directly over the tomb’s axis. The items interred with these individuals indicated access to a variety of prestige goods and tradewares from outside Caracol.
This area was flourishing at the end of the Late Preclassic, and was an area for ritual as evidenced by recovered incensarios. Moving into the Early Classic, it seems to have functioned as an elite residence.
This structure formed the formal entrance way to the South Acropolis. Heavily burn but fragmentary human remains were uncovered in an excavation of a previous looter’s trench.
It is the westernmost of the three small platforms that make up the southern side of the South Acropolis. A line-of-stone building overlaid an earlier eastern facing construction dating to the Late Classic, which in turn overlaid a Preclassic floor.
This mortuary structure dominates the eastern side of the main interior plaza, and has three substructures. A tomb was found on the western slope which included nine vessels (all of Early Classic date), several Charlie Chaplins, and four limestone bars.
This structure is the eastern building of the South Acropolis plaza formed by Structures D7, D11, D16, and three small southern platforms. Excavations encountered at least two prior constructions, and the final construction dates to the Late and Terminal Classic. A crypt was placed in the front of the final construction, containing two adults and several vessels dating to the Late to Terminal Classic. A crude cist was carved out in front of the lower step of an earlier building phase.
A large building which forms the western limit of the southeast plaza, and the eastern limit of the southwest plaza of the South Acropolis. It primarily faces the southeast plaza, and probably dates tot eh Late Classic based on limited ceramics.
Defines the south side of the southwest plaza of the South Acropolis.
Exists at the western end of the main South Acropolis plaza.
This structure surmounts the large raised platform that makes us the southern side of the main plaza, and is paired with D17 and D18. An excavated burial containing two individuals dating to AD 500.
Several tombs were found by A. H. Anderson during his early excavations, and include several ceramic vessels of a Late Classic date.
It is the central structure on the platform, and much of it was presumably removed by A. H. Anderson who also seems to have encountered several tombs.
It is the eastern building of the Northwest Group, and was severely looted prior to 1985. Two secondary burials were found in the core, and two cist burials were located in the plaza directly in front of the structure. Painted stucco decoration was found in the western collapse of the building, and two earlier versions of the structure were also encountered.
Alta/Baja Vista Residential Complex
Situated immediately west of the Northwest Group (Structures F1-F4), and includes Structures F30-F42, and was selected for its occupation by Caracol’s secondary elite. 28 special deposits were uncovered during excavations. Excavations revealed a long history of occupation, dating from the Late Preclassic to the Terminal Classic.
One of the tallest residential constructions at Caracol, and the tallest building at the Baja/Alta Vista complex. It yielded a large number of Late Classic ritual deposits (3 burials and 12 caches), indicating its importance to the complex. Sequencing indicates that this structure was first utilized as a ritual location for Late Preclassic to Early Classic caching practices, and for Late Classic burials.
On the northern side of the Baja Vista plaza, it had a facing that was evident before excavation. At least two earlier version of the structure were evidenced, yet no deposits were recovered from beneath the building itself. Several burials and caches were recovered from the plaza directly in front of the structure. From ceramic materials it is possible to date the latest version of the structure to the Late Classic.
The larger of two eastern buildings of Baja Vista and at least four different versions of the building are evident. Two earlier shrines were discovered, and the earlier of the two (S.D. C184B-4) contained a large quantity of ritual ceramics and bone. This earlier shrine was also directly behind a burial (S.D. C184B-7), and directly above a second burial (S.D. C184B-6). In total, three burials, three caches, and a shrine deposit were uncovered, and the majority of these materials date to the Late Classic, one burial dates to the Terminal Classic.
Located on the southern side of the Baja Vista plaza, this structure is the central building of three low structures. It was shown to be a bi-level building with a northern frontal stoop. Materials were limited, but indicated a Terminal Classic occupation date.
Located in the west-central portion of Map Quad 3I, and is 350m east of the South Causeway and explored during the 1997 field season. One of the largest architectural complexes in the southeast sector and situated within terraces along a small hill that extends west to the South Causeway. Extensive looting had cut through at least one tomb, three eastern and one northern building. The backfill from this tomb yielded a Preclassic vessel; further excavations revealed a Late Classic tomb with a single female individual. The largest structure is the central east building and also showed extensive looting. Within the looter’s trench were the remains of 3 adults and a partial Early Classic vessel. A two-room tomb was found beneath the stairway, and although looted still revealed four individuals and three Late Classic vessels along with other smaller artifacts. A single Late Classic face cache was found in front of the lower step of the building. These excavations indicate occupation dating from the Late Preclassic to at least the Late Classic
Terminus discovered during the 1991 field season, at which time a large number of looted tombs were also salvaged. The Causeway terminates into a large administrative plaza bordered by low range structures. A second plaza set at the foot of a hill connects is connected by a 30m wide causeway, and contains large pyramids, plain stelae and altars. At the hill’s summit, there is a series of elite plaza groups accessed by a causeway stairway. Salvage work was conducted on the southern building of this group, revealing a tomb which had been decorated with red-line painting. These constructions date from the Early and Late Classic.
Also located during the 1991 field season, the causeway runs past a still functional reservoir, and the terminus is situated on a high hill. Made up of a small group of range buildings, the main plaza area probably served an administrative function. To the south of this group is a larger plaza with sizable pyramids; to the north is an acropolis group. A causeway continues past this terminus and the Guatemalan border, eventually ending at the La Rejolla terminus Excavation and salvage work done at this terminus indicated primarily Late Classic dates. The ‘Pescador’ group to the north also yielded Protoclassic and Preclassic ceramics.
Other area sites Other Maya sites within the Cayo district include Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and Chaa Creek. See also
List of Mesoamerican pyramids
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Arlen Chase and Diane Chase, 1987
Investigations at the Classic Maya City of Caracol, Belize: 1985-1987.
Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.
^ a b c d e Diane Chase and Arlen Chase 1995 Changing Perspectives on
Caracol, Belize: Long-Term Archaeological Research and the Northeast
Sector Settlement Program. Paper prepared for the 1st International
Symposium of Maya Archaeology, San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize. May 29 -
June 2, 1995
^ a b c d e f g Arlen Chase and Diane Chase 2009 Interpreting the Maya
“Collapse”: Continued Investigation of Residential Complexes in
and near Caracol’s Epicenter: 2009 Field Report of the Caracol
Archaeological Project. http://caracol.org/reports/2009.php, accessed
November 20, 2011
^ "History: Site Overview". Archived from the original on 1 April
2011. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
^ Kelly (1996, p.82)
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae
af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Simon
Martin and Nikolai Grube 2008 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens,
2nd edition. Thames and Hudson, London
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Arlen Chase and Diane
Chase 2008 What the Hieroglyphs Don’t Tell You: Archaeology and
History at Caracol, Belize. Mayab 20:103–108
^ a b c d Diane Chase and Arlen Chase 2003 Texts and Contexts in Maya
Warfare: A brief Consideration of Epigraphy and Archaeology at
Caracol, Belize. In Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare, edited by M. K.
Brown, and T. W. Stanton, pp. 171–188. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek,
^ a b 1998 Southeast Sector Settlement, A stucco Statue, and
Substantial Survey: the
2004 Searching for Support Staff and Kitchens: Continued Investigation
of Small Structures in Caracol’s Epicenter: 2004 Field Report of the
2005 Searching for Caracol’s Last Urbanites: Continued Investigation
of Small Structures in and near Caracol’s Epicenter: :2005
Field Report of the
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