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BECAN- Campeche (Yucatan), Mexico
Becan is a noteworthy site that is surrounded by both a moat and a wall. There are seven entrances over bridges that permitted entry into the site. The enclosed site encompasses about 16 acres/6.5 hectares, with a much larger outlying settlement pattern. It has one of the largest pyramids in the Rio Bec area, part of a group of sites exhibiting a similar architectural style of construction. This style of construction is noted for its high twin towers, non-functioning stairways, and faux temples that crown the tops of the towers. It was first settled in the Middle Pre Classic (700-350 B.C.).
The first reports made of the site were done by Karl Rupert and John Denison in 1934. The site is located midway between the state capitals of Chetumal and Campeche on Highway 186, a few miles/kms west from the town of Xpujil, also spelled Xpuhil.
HOURS: 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
ENTRANCE FEE: $3.00/48 Pesos
GUIDES: Inquire at visitor kiosk
ON-SITE MUSEUM: No
ACCOMODATIONS: Basic food and lodging can be found in the nearby town of Xpujil, or in either of the two state capitals
Becan has an early history. The first settlement began in the Middle Pre Classic (700-350 B.C). Monumental architecture appeared by the Late Pre Classic (350 B.C.-350 A.D) as the site grew in economic and political importance. Many trade goods from the important central Mexican site of Teotihuacan have been found here. Construction in the Rio Bec style and population growth continued through the Late Classic (600-900 A.D.) with the site becoming a regional capital. Changing political dynamics forced a decline in the importance of the site and it was finally abandoned by 1450 A.D.
The site is entered from the southwest through one of the original entrances. The East Plaza forms a nice square containing structures I-IV arranged around it. Structures I consist of a large platform that contains, on the lower levels, a number of rooms and chambers. Rising above the lower rooms are twin pyramid towers that rise over 45 feet/15 meters in height. Structure II, also set on a large platform consists of a large 45 foot/15 meter pyramid with lower rooms and chambers such as found at Structure I. The façade of this structure exhibits decorative checkerboard panels in both high and low relief.
Structure IV is on the north side of the plaza and was a palace type structure. A wide stairway leads up to an upper level courtyard with chambers containing a façade with stone mosaic zoomorphic masks. Behind this structure is an annex which leads to the Central Plaza.
Fronting the east side of the Central Plaza is another massive structure, Structure VIII, crowned by twin towers. Between the twin towers is a series of nine chambers, possibly associated with the nine levels of the Underworld, the façade of which incorporates a huge mask.
Structure IX is situated on the north side of the Central Plaza. It is a multi-tiered pyramid, and at 96 feet/32 meters is the highest structure at Becan. A broad stairway leads to the summit containing a temple, and this structure was most likely the main religious building at Becan. This structure exhibits three construction phases beginning in the Late Pre Classic (350 B.C-350 A.D.). A rich offering was found inside one of the pyramid’s temples.
Structure X is found on the west side of the plaza. This is another huge complex with 12 chambers distributed on two levels with a large central mask still exhibiting red and blue painted stucco.
Behind Structure X is the West Plaza. There is a ball court located on the east side below Structure X. Across the Plaza is another complex. There are numerous other minor platforms and structures located within the walled site.
structure VIII philippN
ballcourt steve mellard
structure IV upper courtyard hjpd.
structure IX philippN
site plan inah.
structure X south side steve mellard
structure IV phillippN
west plaza steve mellard
structure II steve mellard
overview google earth
structure X philippN
site map delange
platform south plaza steve mellard
structure I south view hjpd
plaza A w/structure I & circular altar hjpd
structure X stucco figure