welcome to the mayan ruins website .
Santa Rosa Xtampak (“In front of the wall” in Yucatek Maya) is an important site located in the northern part of the state of Campeche, due east from the capital city of the same name. It was one of the most important regional capitals of the Maya Chenes area, and as such has altars, dated stelae, sculpture, and impressive architecture. At least one sacbe (raised white stone road) linking two of the complexes has been discovered.
The site encompasses 3 sq miles/9 square kilometers, though the core area is easily visited. It is estimated that it controlled a surrounding region of 144 sq miles/400 sq kms, with the core area having a population of 10,000 at its peak. It is constructed atop a leveled hill. The core area is tightly packed and includes at least 10 interconnecting plazas with numerous courtyards and terraces containing pyramids, palaces, temples, and platforms.
The Chenes architectural style is found in a general area between the Northern Yucatan and the Peten region. It appears between 600-900 A.D., and is mainly characterized by entryways surrounded by a decoration of the earth monster on the main facade. Intricate mosaics also adorn the structures while many of the sites incorporate the Rio Bec (earlier) and Puuc (later) styles.
From Merida the site is reached traveling south on Federal Highway 180 to Federal Highway 261 past the Puuc Hill sites and on through Bolonchen. At km 79 turn east onto a paved road 5.3 miles/32 kms to the site.
HOURS: 8 AM-5PM, all week
ENTRANCE FEE: U.S. $2.50/45 Pesos
SERVICES: Bathrooms, gift shop
ON-SITE MUSEUM: No
ACCOMODATIONS: Day trip from Merida or Campeche, hostels in Bolonchen and Hopelchen
GPS: 19d 46’ 20” N, 89d 35’ 50” W
HISTORY AND EXPLORATION
Ceramic evidence suggests the site was settled as early as the Late Pre Classic (300 B.C.-250 A.D.). The structures one sees today date from the beginning of the Late Classic (600-900 A.D.). There have been a number of stelae (upright carved stone slabs) recovered that have helped to date the site. Little information has been deciphered to help in identifying its rulers and relationships with other sites, though it has been established that the site was an important capital of the Chenes area.
The site was first reported on by those intrepid explorers extraordinaire, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1841. There followed other explorers/researchers such as Teobert Maler in 1891, Harry Pollock 1936, George Brainerd, Ralph Roys and Karl Ruppert in 1949, and George Andrews 1969/1987. More recent excavations and consolidations have been undertaken by the Mexican government through INAH.
The core area is composed of several interconnecting plazas arranged around a large central platform. The plaza to the west of the central platform, here called the West Plaza, contains a number of impressive structures.
The most important, and indeed the most unusual, is the Palace that fronts the west side of the West Plaza. This grand, three story structure contains 44 rooms, many of which are joined together as suites. The structure is in the form of a squared “C”. A capstone located within the Palace has an inscription commemorating a Katun ending dated June 24, 948 A.D. (10.6.0.0.0).
The first level contains 27 chambers. Most of these chambers are organized from two to four room suites complete with benches that could have been used as beds. The four-room suites at the northern and southern ends have sculptured panels centered between the doorways to the rear rooms, and there are groups of three inset colonnettes on the west and east sides of these doorways. The central colonnette of both groups is covered with relief carvings. The pier-like doorjambs of the outer rooms show recessed panels and capitals with Puuc style profiles.
There are two interior stairways that lead up to the second and third levels. This design is rather scarce in the Maya area. The stairways provide the only access to the second level which offered it a private space, and is thought to have been the residences of the royal family. The second level contains twelve chambers. The 2 chambers on the front-facing corners are stand-alone structures separated by a terrace from the main group. They appear to be temples as opposed to residences, and have false stairways that lead down to the plaza, such as seen at Chicanna.
The third level is thought to have been a ritual/ceremonial area for the ruler and priests. It contains 5 rooms and was accessed through a stand-alone portal surrounded by a huge zoomorphic mask. A central, monumental stairway rising up from the plaza leads to the portal.
The north end of the West Plaza contains three structures of note. The northern most structure is known as the Building with the Serpent Mouth Façade. This building is noted for a huge mask of the Earth Monster surrounding an entryway that covers the entire façade of the structure, very similar to the one seen at Hormiguero. There are only 3 chambers remaining of once was a larger structure. The rear of the structure has a central stairway that once led up to the now ruined second level.
In the northwest portion of the West Plaza is found the Red House. The exterior walls of this structure were once painted entirely red, hence its name. It, and the adjacent building, are situated less than 9 feet/3 meters south of the Building with the Serpent Mask Facade. They form an unusual pair since their rear walls are separated by a space less than 3 feet/1 meter wide. The Red House has three rooms in line, with doorways on the west side and a partial corbeled vault, while the adjacent building is L-shaped, with the long portion of the L parallel to the Red House. The lower walls of both buildings are somewhat similar since both feature plain walls with groups of three good sized colonnettes at the corners.
The Cuartel is a complex to the east of the West Plaza, with structures situated around a large courtyard. The northern structure, which has been nicely restored, contains several chambers with a central stairway to a ruined second floor. One of the entryways is flanked by stacked, stylized masks. A similar structure appears on the southeast side of the Cuartel, also with a stairway to a ruined second floor. The corbeled vaults of the front of this structure have collapsed.
The South-East Quadrangle is a small group of structures representing a later transitional phase centered around a courtyard. The Puuc style of architecture is quite evident here. The northern structure is separate from the other connected structures, and allows access into the courtyard. A series of sculpted cylinders was found in this structure and have been dated to 800-900 A.D. All the structures in this group once contained corbeled vaulted chambers. A ballcourt is located in between the South-East Quadrangle and the Cuartel.
The South Plaza is a large complex containing 10 structures dominated by a pyramidal platform known as Star Hill. This complex is the oldest and largest at the site with the pyramid featuring megalithic steps that leads to its summit. Eight Stelae have been found on the large, raised plaza behind the pyramid, ranging in date from 646 A.D. to a very late 911 A.D. This area has received little restoration, and is mostly overgrown with vegetation.
A sacbe leads out from the West Plaza to a complex known as the North-West Group. This area has several structures formed around a small plaza. To the north and south of this group are two other groups with the South-West Group having some nicely restored structures. There are many other structures and groups that remain to be reported on.
palace site plan hjpd
red house hjpd
palace rear view hjpd
stela 2 hjpd
southwest group hjpd.
cuartel north structure hjpd
star hill pyramid hjpd
palace upper level detail hjpd
se quadrangle hjpd
site plan hjpd
building of the serpent mouth hjpd
building of the serpent mouth rear hjpd
palace corner tower hjpd.
southwest group hjpd
XTAMPAK-Campeche, (Yucatan), Mexico
cuartel north structure detail hjpd
cuartel se structure hjpd