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The Ancient Maya Civilization Site of Calakmul

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Introduction to Calakmul
Structure I at Calakmul

Structure I at Calakmul

Steven Depolo

Calakmul is an ancient Mayan archaeological site, located in state of Campeche, Mexico, thirty kilometers north of the Guatemala border. Calakmul is also 38 km north of El Mirador, a rival state during the Late Classic period (~600-950 AD). Covering an area of some 3,000 hectares, Calakmul had an estimated population of 50,000 people during its heyday during the Late Classic. As a Late Classic period capital city of the Maya, Calakmul ruled an area of some 8,000 square kilometers, perhaps with as many as 425,000 subjects.

The site was occupied from Middle Preclassic to Post-classic times, ca. 950 BC-850 AD; it became politically important beginning in the Late Preclassic (350 BC-AD 250); and during Early Classic period (AD 250-600), Calakmul emerged as one of at least four regional Maya capitals (the others are El Mirador, Nakbe and Tikal.

Sources and Further Information

Carrasco Vargas, Ramon, Veronica A. Vazquez Lopez, and Simon Martin 2009 Daily life of the ancient Maya recorded on murals at Calakmul, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Carrasco Vargas, Ramon, et al. 1999 A Dynastic Tomb from Campeche, Mexico: New Evidence on Jaguar Paw, a Ruler of Calakmul. Latin American Antiquity 10(1):47-58.

Folan, William J. 2001. Calakmul (Campeche, Mexico). pp 88-90 in Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia, Susan Toby Evans and David L. Webster, eds. Garland Publishing, Inc. New York.

Folan, William J., et al. 1995 Calakmul: New Data from an Ancient Maya Capital in Campeche, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 6(4):310-334.

Pincemin, Sophia, et al. 1998 Extending the Calakmul Dynasty Back in Time: A New Stela from a Maya Capital in Campeche, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 9(4):310-327.

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