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HORMIGUERO-Campeche (Yucatan), Mexico
Hormiguero, “anthill” in Yucatec Maya, is a medium size site located in the Rio Bec archaeological zone. While many of the 84 identified structures remain to be excavated, it is known for its richly decorated style. There are four main complexes set along a southwest to northeast axis.
The site is located southwest of the site of Chicanna. It is reached off of Campeche/Chetumal Highway 186. Turn south at the town of Xuphil located more or less midway between the two state capitals. Follow on south and turn west at Nueva Vida, then take the north fork to the site.
HOURS: Site not officially opened, though visitors are welcome
ENTRANCE FEE: Free
ON-SITE MUSEUM: No
ACCOMMODATIONS: Food and lodging can be found at Xuphil and Chetumal
GPS: 18d 24’ 36" N, 89d 29’ 34" W
HISTORY AND EXPLORATION
Hormiguero is located in the general Rio Bec archaeological zone, and mirrors the rise and fall of these other sites. It experienced its greatest expansion in the Late Classic (600-900 A.D.), and then fell into a gradual decline with its abandonment in the 13th century.
Hormiguero was first reported on by Karl Ruppert of the Carnegie Institution in 1933. Excavation and restoration commenced in 1977, and has continued in various phases to this date.
The south complex contains Structure II and is the most impressive of the structures so far excavated. Its façade features a Chenes style doorway framed by a huge open-mouthed stone and stucco serpent motif. This feature is representative of a style found throughout the area, and the one here at Hormiguero is the largest. It is flanked by two towers containing faux stairways crowned by false temples which typify the “Rio Bec” architectural style. The building contains a number of interior rooms and stairways.
To the north of Structure II are a number of structures that form two adjoining complexes. The most important of these is Structure V located in the west complex. This is a three tiered pyramid with a central stairway crowned with a richly decorated temple. The temple has at its corners stacked Chac rain god masks. The pyramid forms a small courtyard and on the north side is Structure VI.
Across the plaza from Structure V is the east complex which features a linear range of structures, Structures III and IX. The north complex is centered around two small plazas with Structure VIII being the most notable.