A Travellerspoint blog

Belize : Caracol, Rio Frio, Rio On

Mayan ruins

Wednesday 31st July Caracol, Rio Frio Cave and Rio On Pools

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We had a really good sleep and woke in time for a good breakfast (Hidden Valley’s own coffee, grown and roasted on site), fresh orange, kraabu (sweet yellow-white, bread-like texture fruit) and pancakes. We had a pre-booked trip to Caracol (35 miles, approx 1 hour drive) and Rio Frio, so we headed to Reception at the time requested. We then proceeded to wait for some faffy American woman and daughter for HALF AN HOUR. Frankly, I’d have left without them. They thought it was amusing- Steve assured them it most certainly was NOT. Luckily for them, Freddy, the guide, was more patient.
Finally we set off south out of Hidden Valley and past the current owner’s own lodge (the grandson of Hidden Valley’s founder- he still lived on part of the estate but the rest was part of the Inn. His pile was still very impressive!). Then past the entrance of Blancaneaux Lodge (owned by Francis Ford Coppola, who’d visited Belize and loved it). Then down to the deserted forest village San Luis (close to Douglas de Silva/ D’Silva, previously Augustine).
It had only been abandoned some 10 or so years earlier, but already the forest was started to take back the land. The longest, most twisted nests I’ve ever seen were there, belonging to Montezuma Oropendolas. We turned down right to head 5 miles quite sharply down the hill towards Rio Frio. We passed an Ironwood Tree (Wild Tambron), which is a common hardwood tree. It is a clean looking bark, does not float and is highly resistant to fungi and insects.
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RIO FRIO CAVE
Then we parked for a walk to Rio Frio Cave, which is a ‘Dry’ cave (generally walkable with just a stream) and the largest in height in Belize (65 feet in the centre). The Americans wanted to know if they should wear safety helmets! (We had to work hard not to laugh). Passing some trees we saw some strange insects, which were the grubs of the Tarantula Wasp, really odd. Then on into the huge chasm of the cave itself. It was too high and the wrong geology for stalagmites, so only stalactites grew. A very beautiful cave about 1km long with sun filing in from both ends and a crystal stream running through. Rio Frio is part of the largest cave system in Central America. Belize’s cave system is based on soft limestone rocks, especially in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of Cayo, with numerous eroding underground streams. Rio Frio is generally quite dry and in dry season you can walk right through, as we did, and the trail outside leads to smaller caves (which we did not have time for). The trail from the car park to the cave takes you to a high part of the cave, from which you can walk down using the large boulders and semi-worked steps. We remembered to take photos at strategic points in this natural-lit cavern.
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After a walk up and down the cave we walked back to the minibus and the faffy Americans faffed EVEN MORE.
As a result when we headed back past the mining village the military escort to Caracol had long since gone. We headed down on our own, leaving the Mountain Pine Ridge and into the folds of the Maya Mountains/ Chiquibul forest. The unpaved road (apart from the very last mile) was further than I thought it would be. We went over quite a busy river (the Macal) into tropical rainforest whilst our guide explained why we would have had a military escort. Apparently a few years ago, some Guatemalan brigands crossed the border and attacked tourists on the road to Caracol. The Belize authorities decided the best solution was to escort tourists to the site to ensure their safety (and to give the conscripts something to do). Then Freddy pointed out a camp in the distance- British Gurkhas, he said. Steve said he thought we’d pulled out of Belize as a training ground- shortly after a set of British Army vehicles passed! Freddy just raised an eye. We passed a number of odd-looking bananas, which F said were not our bananas, but a different type. As we know- all bananas are clones, so need to be cut down often.
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CARACOL
On arrival at Caracol we parked and got out our gear. All the Belize army men were sitting under a shade, ready to escort the tourists back at the end of the day. We however set off up into the site. Freddy showed us a fishtail palm sapling- this was part of the Guatemalan gang problem. Guatemalans along the border (only a few miles away) are very poor and have little land to grow things on. Belize’s palms produce valuable sugar and are used in floral arrangements in America, and they are tantalisingly close, so a gang of 4 crossed and began to harvest it. The attacking of tourists was more an opportunity than a plan. Eventually 3 of the 4 in the gang were caught (a tip from a Belizean bothered by the negative publicity on the Cayo district) and sentenced (luckily it was easy to catch them as they partly lived in Belize as well as Guatemala).
Caracol is a very large Maya site, the largest in Belize and one of the largest in the Mayan world. The site is nearly 35 hectares with over 4000 structures, though only about 1% has been excavated (begun 2000). Caracol means “The Snail” and unlike most Maya cities its original Maya name of Oxwitza (Three-hill-water) is known. Caracol was re-discovered in 1937 when a native logger, Rosa Mai, was looking for mahogany. Mai reported to the Archaeological Commission, who sent Anderson and Jex to investigate. Anderson nicknamed it Caracol (Snail shell) due to the winding access road. Estimates of the population are around 150,000 at peak. See www.caracol.org for excavation information.
BARRIO
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We headed up to the Elite Residences (Barrio B21-26) part of Caracol first; a very nice area with an open plaza and high status buildings, beautifully made of large fitted stones. The people were generally buried under their stone beds here. The area was one of the earlier elite residential areas, although a planned enlargement was abandoned at the end of the Classic period.
B-GROUP AND CAANA
Then we headed towards the main B-group area, a plaza area dominated by the huge Caana (Sky) Pyramid. On one side of the Plaza was a smaller pyramid, beautifully covered with Maya carvings and opposite the tall Caana. The temple’s hieroglyphic panels depict K’an II conducting solstice ceremonies with the Witz Monster Mask (Representing a sacred mountain= pyramid- Quechua have similar views on mountains).
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CAANA
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Naturally, we had to climb to the top. The Caana is 143 foot high and the largest man-made structure in Belize (still). The massive platform towards the top contained 3 MORE pyramid-temples (celebrating the Maya three sacred Mountains of Life/ Creation). There was, typically Maya, a sweathouse close to the top. Our guide explained that the royals had a “duty” to ritually purify themselves for the good of their people/ city. Both lord and lady would first sweat themselves, then the Lord would draw blood from his testicles and the Lady from her lip. The main Caana complex is designated B14-20 with associated (earlier) bases parts B10-13. The main palace, built by Yajaw Te’K’inich II (Lord Water) in 577AD, has 71 rooms and 45 benches. On the very summit we saw a giant Ajaw altar (K’atun ending 10.0.0.0.0 = AD830) by the last construction on the Caana (B18) by K’inich Toobil Yopaat (c AD820) and a stuccoed work referring Lord Papmalil of Ucanal. The rooms he built suggest a palace rather than temple use. To the left of the upper courtyard were several tombs (in B19/20)- one had burial into the stonework (B19). We entered and Freddy explained that the burial was considered odd because the elite/noble lady buried there had the tomb re-entered later and further burials. These tombs were first used in the late Pre-Classic and continued into the Late Classic (cAD 700+). The tombs were partly painted and a text associated with B20 suggests a link to Lady Batz’Ek (the mother of K’an II) AD537. The Caana was inhabited throughout the Classic and Terminal phases and was still seeing major modifications AD650- 96 (B36/37 to the left side). The view from the very top was amazing! We discussed Maya polity (us, not the Americans, they didn’t see interested) with Freddy and how we’d both LOVE to visit El Mirador and the possible location of the undiscovered city that Maya records talk about. Certainly there were A LOT more Maya in Belize than the current population. Either they were amazing at farming a difficult terrain or the climate changed dramatically (see more on Maya decline). To our left was B30s group (aka Northeast Acropolis), which was a raised platform created in the Late Pre-Classic with access steps east and west. The Plaza was almost lost with the building, especially with the Late/Terminal Classic modifications. The Plaza, AD330, had a cremation of three people with three Teotihuacan-style pots. The largest building (B33) had 8 rooms and a (now lost) thatch roof.
As we turned towards the rest of the site (right from Caana) we passed the B- group ballcourt (B8 and 9) with its associated markers by K’inich Joy K’awiil AD798/99.
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GROUP A
We left this area to go on round the site, firstly going behind the Caana and into the jungle. Freddy pointed out various flora to us, such as the Zapote or Chicle Tree. This is the original Chewing Gum tree, its sap used from Maya times to make a chewing gum. The yellowy-brown fruit is also prized and quite delicious. Next to this tree was ANOTHER type of palm, nicknamed The Sandpaper Palm (no need to explain the why). Another tree, important to the Maya was the Cohune Palm- this one was a giant of a tree in height (which is why most people collect nuts after they have fallen). They are common in Belize and have a multitude of uses, including thatching. The nuts can be collected and eaten (remember to rebury the nuts at the end) or made into oil. The heart of the tree can be eaten too, and the bark used to feed livestock. The Maya even made a sort of palm-heart wine!
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We headed around the back of the Central Acropolis (seeing building B1/B2/A16) to the back of E-type Astronomical Group A, then into its Plaza. This was another pyramid group, with again some nice carvings on one of the pyramids. We went to the top of the taller structure to see how it could have been use for astronomical readings. It clearly lined up with the pyramid opposite. This group is one of the earliest at Caracol, built over an Uaxactun-style E- Astronomical group (AD70). The caching practice in this plaza predates Tikal by hundreds of years.
As we walked in, around the back of A6- The Temple of the Wooden Lintel (above) , we entered A-Plaza. To our right was A3 (modified AD 696) with a nice lower floor stair mask (stucco relief), but unusually, it does not seem to have been related to a tomb. Platforms left (A5) and right gave nice views and we saw the eponymous wooded lintel in the room on the top.
To our left was A1 structure, again with nice stucco work. This was an early building (Early Classic- pottery) used by Yajaw Te’K’inich II, Knot Ahaw and K’an II. It was occupied until the Terminal Classic and saw a lot of activity (Stelae 1, 13-16, Altar 7 are associated with it, as are 3 cremations, and 2 caches). Opposite as we entered (opposite the Temple of the Wooden Lintel) was A2, again begun in the Early Classic. The largest, and most important building was A6, the Temple of the Wooden Lintel. It was built early, at least by the Early Classic and was used throughout the site’s occupation.
A1 Pyramid
CENTRAL ACROPOLIS
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After we had finished viewing we went down the other side of this temple into the Central Acropolis plaza and a clearing where some of the more important stelae and altars were collected. We could see A11/12-Ballcourt (Late Pre- Classic) and A10 (right), as well as the larger A13 structure (3 platformed), which was probably associated with rituals for accession. With the stela and altars was an interesting carved head, looking suspiciously Olmec style (it is increasingly clear that the Olmec had a profound influence on early Maya society and beliefs).
STELAE AND ALTARS
Stela 1 (below)- erected by K’an II AD593 to celebrate his parentage & a K’atun. Linked to Giant Ajaw Altar 1. They are behind Structure A1- a Tomb of 3 people.
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Stela 11- erected by K’inich Joy Kawiil AD 800- refers to Tom Yohl K’inich. Found in A-group Plaza. Associated with Altar 23 (right)- found by structure
B28 in the plaza) and depicting the bound lords of Ucanal and Bital. Tom Yohl has the bacab title and Caracol glyph. Found next to but not linked with Giant Ajaw Altar 19 (Yajaw Te Kinich I), itself probably paired originally with Stela 7 (structure A13 base).
Stela 5,6,7- are in a line in front of Structure A13. Stela 6 date is AD 603 Knot Ajaw, has 144 glyphs and shows Knot Ajaw and his father. Stela 7 date is AD 633 K’an II. Altar 11 is by them. Altar 11 is an eroded Giant Ajaw by structure B2. Probable date 9.9.0.0.0 = 613 AD (Knot Ajaw). It has a scalloped quatrefoil surround and dot/ bar. Possibly it was associated with Stela 5, which shows Knot Ajaw with the ceremonial bar and open doors with ancestors. Altar 15 may also be linked.
Stela 20 is important due to its glyphs and pictures showing two seated men and the jaws of a serpent. The four cartouches are eroded. The lower half is missing so the date/ ruler is unknown. Platform A1a (linked Stela 12)
Altar 12- erected by K’inich Toobil Yopaat AD 820 in B-group (opposite Caana) Plaza with Stela 19. It shows Toobil with his current ally Lord Papamilil of Ucanal seated on palanquin anthropomorphic thrones facing each other at Ucanal, refers to a ch’ak war by them against a k’ul mutul (probably Tikal) when a “bakab” captive was taken. Stela 19 is in several fragments- 6 glyph blocks remain- the text is partially legible and includes Site Q (currently unknown city) emblem and two “Paddler” Gods. A ruler’s outline is holding the ceremonial bar.
altar-21-caracol_30902288040_o.jpg Altar 21 (left)- was erected by K’an II AD 663 and refers to his birth and his father’s achievements (Yajaw Te’K’inich II’s accession under Tikal, his ch’ak against Tikal in AD 556 and 562, his alliance with the Snake Polity) By A-group ballcourt.
Altar 13 (right)- erected AD 820 (K’inich Toobil Yaat) shows three figures inside a quatrefoil with water and earth corner emblems. The centre man is bound, being presented to a lord. It is in front of Caana. altar-13-caracol_30448398094_o.jpg
A-Ballcourt Markers 1 and 2, show two figures – one a god’s head, the other a rabbit facing away from the Sun god.
B-Ballcourt markers 3 and 4, erected by K’inich Joy K’awiil AD798/99 and referring to his accession and antecedents.
Other stelae/ altars (not necessarily on site):-
Stela 2- no date, between A1 and A9. A ruler.
Stela 3- plaza A3/ reservoir B. K’an II 652AD. Depicts his accession AD 618, his age 5 penis perforation, his mother Batz’Ek’s arrival in Caracol (with a Snake polity glyph and a secondary Site Q glyph)
Stela 4- Yajaw Te K’inich AD583
Stelae 8 and 9/ Altar 4, 14 and 15 in A-group plaza. Possible Stela 8 date 810 AD. Stela 9 similar design. A ruler? Altar 4 (platform A10) associated Stela 9. Giant Ajaw Altar 14 possible date K’an I and found above Altar 15. Altar 14 is associated with Stela 16, dated 534 AD (K’an I) and lists his grandfather K’ahk Ujol K’inich, mother from Xultun and a Lord Bahlam Nehn of Copan. It has K’an standing above three small seated figures.
Stela 10- AD 859, stylistically similar to Uaxactun. A-group plaza
Stela 13,14,15, Altar 3, 7 in a line platform A1
Stela 13- erected by Yajaw Te’ K’inich I and the 2nd oldest on site (Early Classic). In front of Structure A4, platform A1. The ruler is holding a ceremonial bar/ wearing god mask.
Stela 14- erected Yajaw Te K’inich II 554 AD. Very fine carving of seated ruler with ceremonial bar. Platform A1. Associated Altar 7.
Stela 15- erected 573 AD, mainly glyphs except for the small eroded men on the top, Records K’an I achievements (accession AD 531, chak/axe war Tikal + Snake vs Caracol), but it was erected later.
Stela 17/ Altar 10 in B-group by K’an III Ad849. Stela- two seated lords, edge carving unreadable. Altar- three men in headdresses.
Stela 18- 810 K’inich Toobil Yopaat. A vision serpent over a bound captive. Structure B28
Stela 21 from A-group plaza. Ruler VII AD702 with a captive lord of Ixkun. Badly eroded.
Stela 22/ Altar 17- from summit A2, erected K’an II. Refers to mother Batz’Ek possibly coming from Site Q (so, a marriage alliance of father’s?)/ Giant Ajaw Altar 17 has a central ajaw with glyph cartouches surrounding.
Stela 23 c361-420 AD. Deliberately broken and put beneath Altar 17. Mentions Yajaw te. Summit A2.
Stela 24- in front of elite residences, no date/ ruler/ writing. A hand, a jaguar- man in a serpent’s mouth, a ruler’s legs.
Altar 2- Giant Ajaw on Plaza A3, platform A1. Tum Yohl K’inich?
Altar 5- Giant Ajaw altar- no date/ ruler
Altar 8, 9- Plaza A3, uncarved
Altar 16- B19, small Giant Ajaw
Altar 18- B6, eroded, K’an III 849 AD
Altar 22- K’inich Joy K’awiil AD810 in Plaza of Two Stelae (connected B Plaza causeway). Two bound captives on Cauac thrones.
Altar 24- Yajaw Te’K’inich II after defeat of Tikal. On El Chaquistero group.
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I had found the epigraphic evidence from Caracol interesting, but it was time to continue. We went around the back to see the Maya water reservoirs, which would have been crucial on this site, as there is no nearby natural water source. The Caracol inhabitants had to rely on rainwater alone- hence their perceived need to appeal to the gods. Right next to it was a perfect example of sexual dimorphism- a huge female spider and two tiny males! We briefly looked over to the South Acropolis D-group (originally a late Pre- Classic ritual areas [incensarios], after an Early Classic elite residence). Around the corner we finally spotted some of Belize’s national flower- the Black Orchid. They were attached to a tree and clearly thriving. We did not have time to see some of the other areas (C-group plaza, I-group, Northwest F-group, Culebras residences, Altabaja residences, Southwest Saraguate
buildings, Retiro tombs and Ceiba causeway).
black-orchid-caracol_30462986153_o.jpg74def100-7f49-11eb-8821-55300201a914.png We had been told to get back to the main entrance at a specific time, so we walked back down the hill for lunch. It was an excellent lunch of dips, wraps, fajitas, biscuits and fruit punch. Just at the end a snake (non-poisonous) had come to investigate us (or sun itself). F said it was a Rat Snake, quite common and fairly shy, which is probably why it left quite quickly. Everyone else was faffing again and we had a good 20 mins so S and I went into the on-site museum. Not big, but well laid out and informative. The sections on the development of Caracol as a polity, its early excavation and the stela evidence was good (though the jungle setting was beginning to take its toll on the laminates).
At this point we were told it was time to be escorted out of the site, so all the minibuses (about 4 maybe) drove between a lead and final army transport with soldiers to drive out of the area. At some point one 4X4 had an issue so we all stopped and waited for it (safety protocol) before continuing.

RIO ON POOLS
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The sky looked a little dark and it smattered with rain so W asked if anyone would still like to visit Rio On Pools (we’d seen them on the way out from a distance). S and I said definitely yes (not sure we were so popular here, as everyone else stayed in the bus). It kindly stopped raining and the sun came out as we walked down the path to the pools. This was so worth it as the pools were excellent. As we came down and around the long waterfall (not high) came cascading out of the mountain, through a series of beautiful blue pools and finally off a ledge down to the river. We found a flat rock and changed, swimming in the largest pool and sliding down a natural water-slide. We did have to watch our footing as the rocks were quite slippery in places, but the bottom of the pools was grainy sand and easy. Rio On Pools (in Mountain Pine Ridge) are waters swirling over giant granite boulders and forming swimming pools, slides and Jacuzzis. Some of the granite boulders are dry and provide platforms to change, read or sunbathe on. The gradual falls give an ample area to explore the falls, the wide river and the towering Caribbean Pines at the sides.
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Finally we realised we’d better go, so we headed up and drove back to the Inn. As we did the heavens opened, turning all those sandy ditches into roaring red streams. I did ask about “Belize taxi” system as we passed some people, but apparently it was against HVI policy. By the time we got back it was clear sky again!
Dinner again was lovely, fresh flowers on the tables, delicious amuse bouche and Roasted Root Vegetables and Key Lime Pie for pudding. Actually, all our meals at Hidden Valley were lovely- the award winning cook deserved her awards and the waiter/esses were so polite and friendly. Each day, pastries were put out at teatime so Steve made 1 day his mission to get there before the hordes of Americans ate the lot.

History of Caracol
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1200-600BC small Pre Classic villages 900-600 BC Earliest structures at Caracol c70AD Structure A6-1st Temple of the Wooden Lintel, early Maya structures.
c150 AD Structure B34 burial
250-550 AD Early Classic- pyramids, temples, stelae
331 AD Royal Dynasty established. The Long Count (LC) calendar used.
1. Te’K’ab Chaak (Tree-branch-rain- god/ Tree-arm Chaak) c331AD/ 8.14.13.10.4-c349AD. The founder of
the Caracol Dynasty. No known contemporary epigraphic evidence but referred to in two Late Classic texts (dating him in AD 331 Stela 16 and AD 349 on Ballcourt B markers with the Maya royal emblem (ajaw). Caracol seems to have originally been a client state of Tikal. The C117F-1 deposit (3 Teotihaunaco cremations) date to this rule.
2. Unknown ruler/s
3. K’ahk’Ujol K’inich I (Fire-head-sun-god/ Ruler I, Smoking Skull
I) c470- Possibly the father of Yajaw Te’K’inich I and husband of Lady of Xultun. Appears on the genealogical Stela 16. Possibly linked to unknown ruler’s tomb in structure D16
4. Yajaw Te’K’inich I 484 (9.2.9.0.16) – 531 AD. He is known from his monuments- Stela 13 (celebrates the 4th K’atun AD 514), ?stela 20 and altar 4. K’inich is the Mayan sun god.
5. K’an I (Lord Jaguar, Antenna-top I, Ruler II) AD 531 (9.4.16.13.3) -534. An inscription on his stela 15 mentions an attack on Oxwitza (Caracol) by Tikal. His stela 15 refers to his parents and his accession. His wife was Lady K’al.
6. Unknown- AD537 sees first use of tomb Structure B20-3rd
7. Yajaw Te’K’inich II (Lord Water, Lord Mulac, Ruler III) 553 (9.5.19.1.2)- 593 AD. He acceded under the auspices of Tikal’s Lord Double Bird (Altar 21) but he seems to have moved away from his Tikal overlords, enacting a STAR WAR in AD562 against Tikal’s Lord Wak Chan K’awiil/Double Bird (Stela 23) and allied with the Kaan (Snake) polity (currently establishing themselves in Calakmul). Although Wak Chan K’awiil enacted a CH’AK (AXE WAR) in retaliation in AD 556, Yajaw’s STAR WAR of 562 AD was won and Tikal went into a period known as The Great Hiatus (see my Tikal entry). With the decline of Tikal, Caracol prospered and Yajaw started a period of monumental building. Stela 4 (583AD) shows that Yajaw allied himself (in a junior role) with the Calakmul lord. Other monuments of Yajaw include Stela 14 (K’atun 9.6.0.0.0 554AD), Stela 1/ Altar 1 (K’atun ending 9.8.0.0.0), Stela 4, Altar 6 and 24. His wives were Lady 1 (son Knot Ajaw) and Lady Batz’Ek (son K’an II). Tombs in B20-2nd (577 AD) and A34 (577 or 582 AD) were used.
8. Knot Ajaw (Smoke Ahaw, King Serpent, Flaming King, Ruler IV) 24/6/599- 613AD. Ajaw/ahaw means “ruler/ lord/ king” and is a specific glyph on stela/ altar. He was the elder son of Yajaw II and may have co-ruled for a short time. A lord, Chekaj K’inich, called a younger brother (of Yajaw) may have been a temporary guardian (stela 6). The tomb in structure L3-2nd dates to 614 AD.
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9. K’an II (Lord Stormwater Moon, Antenna-top II, Ruler V) 618-658. Born Sak B’aah Witzil as the younger son of Yajaw II and half brother of Knot Ajaw, he changed his name to his grandfather’s once he became ruler. He seems very concerned to stress his legitimacy, referring to his father, mother and grandfather on Stela 3 (but NEVER his half brother Knot Ajaw)- one wonders why (? dislike, palace coup??). Despite this, he was a competent ruler who greatly increased the fortunes of the polity. He allied with the Kaan (Snake) polity (9.9.5.13.8) against Caracol’s previous ally, Naranjo. K’an’s Altar 21 gives an account of his father’s accomplishments against Tikal. In AD 626/7 he announced a HUBI WAR (destruction) against Naranjo, captured and sacrificed their ruler (AD628). STAR wars (631 and 636 AD) led to the defeat of Naranjo. He makes much mention of the Snake/ Calakmul link, documenting a 572AD Sky Witness under the auspices of Yuknoom Chan, the 622AD accession of Calakmul lord Tajoom Uk’ab K’ahk, his gift to Caracol in AD 627 and his death in 630AD, followed by two wars alongside Yuknoom Head 631/6 AD. Kan was the most prolific monument builder at Caracol- Stelae 3,22 and Altars 2, 7, 17, 19 and 21, as well as roads, temples, palaces, etc. The population expanded and wealth increased (grave goods). Caracol’s system of multiple burial chambers spread throughout the region and Tikal’s resurgence saw them copying Caracol’s architecture. A golden age for Caracol. A female’s tomb in B19-2nd dates to 634 AD.
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10. K’ahk Ujol K’inich II (Fire-head-sun-god, Smoking Skull II, Ruler VI) 658- 680 AD. As he has no parentage stela/altar his relationship to K’an II is uncertain, although there seems to be a 29-day overlap in their rules. A stela at La Rejolla (in Caracol territory) and two stucco texts at Caana (structures B16, B18) dated AD 680 show Caracol as losing a Star War against Naranjo (the 37th ruler of Naranjo was conducting a War of Independence). K’ahk Ujol K’inich was driven out of Caracol, beginning an epigraphic hiatus until 798AD (no stelae/ altars etc).
11. Ruler VII c700 AD, definitely by 702. He erected only one stela, 21 (AD 702) but it was unnamed. It does relate the capture of an Ixkun lord. A cave at Naj Tunich refers to a Caracol noble, Tz’ayaj K’ajk’ AD692 who has the emblem glyph but without the k’inich ajaw prefix (ruler). The tomb in structure A3-1st dates to 696 AD but is unnamed.
12. Unknown ruler(s)
13. Tom Yohl K’inich (Ruler VIII) 793 AD. This ruler also appears in the Naj Tunich cave text with the emblem, but not royal glyph. He performed a fire ritual under the control of the lords of Ixkun and Calakmul. A later Altar 23 lists him as a K’atun lord and the captor of the lords of Ucanal and Bital.
14. K’inich Joy K’awiil (Ruler IX) accession 799 AD. He commissioned B-group ballcourt and their markers. Stela 11 suggests a link to Tom Yohl, but the relationship is unclear (? father). Altar 23 gives him a military relative and Stela 1 a warfare event in AD 800 ending with the capture of eight captives (including the lord of Ucanal). The Caana was completed in this reign.
15. K’inich Toobil Yopaat (Ruler X or XI) accession 804 AD. He made peace with Ucanal, but started an AXE war against Tikal (820 AD). He erected Stelae 18, 19 and Altars 12, 13 and stucco text B18.
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16. K’an III 849 AD. Nothing known except he erected three monuments.
17. Ruler XIII 859 AD. The last known lord of Caracol. Erected stela 10 to celebrate the K’atun. Last known date for Caracol.
18.Unknown rulers. The ceramic and fine goods found suggests Caracol survived the initial Late Classic collapse of the Maya (as in Naranjo, Tikal, etc) and continued into the Terminal Classic before being abandoned. Caana was abandoned c 900AD, and structure A6 (1050 AD) is the last building to have been occupied.

Posted by PetersF 19:28 Archived in Belize Tagged ruins snake belize archaeology maya

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