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small acropolis mosaic chac mask steve mellard
TOHCOK-Campeche (Yucatan), Mexico
Tohcok/Tohkok is a small, yet interesting site located alongside Federal Highway 261 about 3miles/5kms west of the town of Hopelchen. The core area is very small and is surrounded by cow pastures on both sides of the road which contain some unexcavated structures as well.
What one may find most interesting here are the remains of extensive use of stone mosaic decoration with some stucco overlay. The remains of both stone mosaic and stucco work, often with brilliant colors, found throughout the Maya area seem to point to a more extensive use of these materials to elaborately decorate their structures inside and out. The final result must have been awe-inspiring. One needs only to look at the magnificent stuccowork at Ek Balam and Balam Ku, to name just two, to appreciate the magnitude and mastery of this artform.
There is no fee to enter the site, and you will probably be the only one there besides the caretaker, who is both friendly and helpful. Be generous.
To reach the site from Campeche take Federal Highway 261 east for about 47 miles/75 kms. The site is literally on the side of the road with good identifying signage.
ENTRANCE FEE: Free
GUIDES: None, but there is an onsite caretaker
ON-SITE MUSEUM: No
ACCOMODATIONS: Hopelchen or Campeche
GPS: 19d 46’ 13” N, 89d 52’ 31” W
MISC: Bring water
HISTORY AND EXPLORATION
Toncok has a relatively late settlement history. Ceramic and architectural evidence dates the site to the Late Classic 600-900 A.D. A reported mural painting, since lost, recorded a Tun event date of 220.127.116.11.0 (June 18 743 A.D.). The structures have a mostly Puuc style of architecture combined with certain Chenes elements.
The site was first reported on in the 1930’s by Edwin Shook and Harry Pollock in association with the Carnegie Institution. There followed Raul Pavon Abreu of INAH, and then George Andrews in the 1980’s.
The core area structures are situated around a single plaza. Other structures and small groups are located outside the archaeological zone in the nearby fields.
The principle structure is located on the southwest side of the plaza and is called the Palace. It is a two-story structure with a central stairway that leads to a now ruined second floor. On either side of the stairway are partial vaulted chambers with two columns each. The south chamber leads out to a rear patio. A vaulted passageway under the stairs leads to the north chamber. Adjoining the north chamber is an unrestored structure with two remaining columns. The northwest and central structures are in a ruinous condition and no further information can be reported on at this time.
The small Acropolis is multi-roomed structure which occupies the northeast portion of the plaza. A small platform extends out into the plaza and its base contains a very nice stone mosaic that wraps around the 3 sides. At the corners are the well-defined remains of Chac masks, some showing the remains of stucco. A short west facing stairway leads up to the platform to what may be a stela or monument in the center. The remains of a stone wall fronts the north side of the platform.
A secondary level of the Acropolis contains the remains of 2 vaulted rooms. Below and parallel to these rooms is a passageway runs east/west. The east side of the passageway opens up to a small terrace with a corbel vaulted chamber, here called the North Chamber. The west end of the passageway also leads to a small terrace. A chamber with a floor level drum colonette decoration is on the north side. On the east side is a room decorated with exterior stone mosaic Chac masks. A stairway on the south side leads back down to the plaza.
A structure with standing architecture in the north field is in too ruinous a condition to provide any information. There are a number of chultuns (water storage wells) that are found within the site core. All in all, a pleasant way to spend an hour or two.
north field structure steve mellard
palace passageway steve mellard
chultun steve mellarde.
small acropolis steve mellard
small acropolis chac mask steve mellard
acropolis passageway steve mellard
small acropolis steve mallard
small acropolis north chamber steve mellard.
palace steve mellard .
small acropolis platform steve mellard
small acropolis platform steve mellard