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Origin of Kaan Dynasty Could be in Ichkabal
MEXICO CITY.- Ichkabal Archaeological Site is located in Quintana Roo, where answers to important Maya questions might be found, such as their agricultural system, scopes of their relation with Teotihuacan, and early history of Kaan reign, the most powerful among Maya States.

Transcendence of the site located 90 kilometers away from Bacalar Lagoon as link to Prehispanic civilization, turns it into a priority project of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Two and a half months after the beginning of the exploration work, Dr. Enrique Nalda, head of the Southern Quintana Roo Archaeological Project, announced that the first stage of excavation and reconstruction of 4 buildings will take 2 years to be completed.

He commented that one of the most interesting mysteries regarding Mayas that could be cleared up in Ichkabal is related to Kaan dynasty (represented with a serpent’s head glyph), the most powerful one in the Classic period.

Recent findings at Dzibanche, 10 kilometers away from Ichkabal, where INAH has conducted work for over 22 years, demonstrate that the dynasty settled down between 450 and 620 AD and later, in Calakmul, Campeche.

Parting from such discovering, detailed archaeologist Nalda, “the team began to expound where would this dynasty’s origin would be; some experts point out that it might be in El Mirador, an archaeological zone located at the Guatemala border”.

“Nevertheless, at present we consider we should track down the region looking for a site of certain monumentality with an important occupation during the first 4 centuries of the Common Era. Ichkabal is the right place to look for the beginnings of the Kaan dynasty”.

Although many monticules at Ichkabal are covered by weed, they outstand by their size, pointing out its former relevance.

First excavations have discovered a series of structures from the Superior Pre Classic period (beginning of the Common Era), with the possibility of some structures dating from the Medium Pre Classic, according to ceramic ware found and with the Peten constructive style.

The INAH specialist commented that the relation between Teotihuacan and the Maya area, mainly during the peak of the High Plateau (Altiplano) city in the Classic period, is another polemic issue that research at Ichkabal could uncover, determining if Teotihuacana influence was just symbolic, since vestiges of Teotihuacan influence are found at the Maya region later on.

This would confirm the hypothesis of motives other than war, commerce and migration were determinant for Teotihuacan presence in the area.

“We concluded at Dzibanche that its abandonment did not take place in 9th century, during the Maya Collapse of the Classic period, because we found evidence of intense occupation that might have extended until Spaniards arrival to Yucatan during the 16th century”.

“This dwelling continuity surprises us; Ichkabal exploration may end the Maya Collapse myth, which points out that great ceremonial centers were abandoned by the end of Classic period, around 900 AD, remaining like that until European contact”.

Another important aspect related to Maya population sustenance that can be figured out based on Ichkabal research, is agricultural system: a method different from “tumba y quema” (cut down and burn) was employed; this proposal has been used since 1970’s decade, but archaeological evidence has not been found to prove it.

The thesis developed by North American archaeologist Peter Harrison points out that Maya built lifted fields, similar to Chinampas placed on rivers’ meanders.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | Maya | Calakmul | Campeche | Southern Quintana Roo Archaeological Project |




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