Ek' Balam

Ek Balam is an exposed since 1997 archaeological site near the city of Valladolid in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is a legacy of the Mesoamerican Mayan culture. The site is located in the jungle, 30 km north of Valladolid and 240 km from the coastal city of Cancun. The name of Ek Balam is Mayathan ( Yucatec Maya ) and means " Black Jaguar ".

  • 3.1 Acropolis
  • 3.2 Buildings 2 and 3
  • 4.1 Building 18
  • 4.2 Building 16
  • 4.3 Building 17
  • 4.4 Playing field
  • 4.5 Buildings 10


The earliest traces of settlement date back to the period between about 100 and 300 back .. your heyday it 700 to 1000 AD. From about the year 1200 may have begun the descent of the cult center. The earliest news of Ek Balam is found in a Relación Geográfica, a government survey from the late 16th century, there also the buildings are briefly described. According to the information contained in this document to the locals, the town belonged to a realm called Talol. Was the founder of the city either Ek ' Balam or Coch Cal Balam. Of him it is said that he had come with a large number of people from the East and have ruled until his assassination 40 years. With his successor his dynasty came to an end, the region was dominated by the ethnicity of Cupul. After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán emerged in Ek Balam, a small settlement, which remains an open chapel still exist today.

According to the inscription texts was an important ruler Ukit Kan Lek Tok ', who was 770-801 in office. He built the building 1 (or parts thereof ), in the fourth level behind the snake mouth portal his remains were found. From him there is a thumbnail view that shows a highly deformed face. Osteological investigations of his skull were able to demonstrate that the facial deformation is due to several called cross- infection of the teeth, which have led to a Höhenverrringerung the right side of the upper jaw, and perhaps fracture of the mandible.

History of Research

Among the earliest visitors of Ek Balam is one in 1886, Désiré Charnay, who received some photographs. Modern research started in 1993 by George Bey and William Ringle and then by Leticia Vargas de la Peña and Victor R. Castillo Borges from INAH, who carried out a large-scale reconstruction especially the Acropolis.


Surrounded by a double ring of walls enclosed the center of Ek Balam is about 1.25 km ². Outside the walls of the settlement covers an area of almost 12 km ². Through the outer ring of walls use multiple passes, going out of which five Sacbés: the longer pretty much according to the main directions, the shortest by south-southwest.

Important buildings

To the northern farm has three very powerful buildings are located.


Ek Balam is dominated by the Acropolis today usually called Building No. 1, whose old name in inscriptions as Sac Xoc Naj ( White House of Learning ) is specified. It is undoubtedly the largest surviving building of the Mayan culture in the north of the Yucatán Peninsula. The building occupies a rectangular area of ​​160 m length and 70 m width. The highest component projects today 31 m above the ground, but was originally about 6 m higher.

The building has 6 floors and after the current excavation progress comprises at least 72 rooms.. The main façade is in the south, in the middle runs a multiple broken stairs up to the preserved only in smaller remnants of the top floor, which consisted of only one room. The lowest floor on a pedestal consists of two identical rows of spaces each of 5 areas. The facade was completely with bas-reliefs on the lining stone covered, but were found only in the slightest part in situ, and therefore have not been reconstructed. Halfway up on both sides of the stairs is ever a room whose entrance was highlighted by a preserved only in the lowest parts of stucco relief, probably a snake mouth gate. It was reached by the until then to more than triple widened central staircase. Immediately before the inputs is on the stairs an executed in stucco snake face to see its several steps far down -reaching tongue contains an inscription that refers to the inauguration of the building of the stairs by the ruler, who had run the entire construction, Ukit Kan Le'k Tok '. The input to the two chambers has been reconstructed.

Runs on the second level, on three sides around the entire building around, a long chain of rooms. In some interruptions narrow stairs lead up to the roof level of these rooms, the two forms the entire depth of the building and one-third of its width captivating courtyards. So far, only the yard is fully excavated on the western side of the building. At its outer edge is a preserved only in the foundations series of rooms that closes it to the west and north. On the north side a wide staircase also leads up to another level, which is severely damaged. On the surface of the yard falls on a large, circular, about 2 m deep brick-lined pit, whose significance is still unclear.

From this courtyard a staircase, jumping over the western facades of the third and fourth levels of lead, up on the side on the highest level. A good four levels higher than this farm is a base forming the base of the middle part of the entire building. On the pedestal, so on the third level, are again on three sides rooms. The two central staircase nearest rooms each have a portico on two brick thick pillars. From this level, a preserved only on the eastern part staircase led to rooms on the fourth level

The fourth level is dominated by a huge snake mouth entrance marked, as is characteristic for the Chenes style. It is executed in stucco relief. It is unusual that, as usual, standing on projecting from the facade stone slabs figures are executed fully plastic. Even more unusual that exist in different parts, genre -like figures are. The Chenes style, reflects also that the facade with the snake mouth entrance is purposed something against the remaining building and is separated from it by a narrow gap, which should give the impression of a separate building.

The fifth level is seen only in its infancy and consists of rooms with portico entrance of thick, brick columns. The last and sixth level exists only in the extension of the central staircase. It should have been a single room that this gave the function of a temple.

Buildings 2 and 3

Lie perpendicular to the Acropolis two similarly designed (not yet discovered ) building complexes with 80 and 110m longitudinal expansion and today about 20 m in height. Only individual wall parts are visible above the rubble. Both buildings have not been archaeologically investigated.

Southern farm

In the southern courtyard there is a large number of very different buildings, which also come from different time periods.

Building 18

At the city end of the Sacbé 2, which leads to the south, is on a three-tiered base a strange building, which consists only of four thick, rectangular wall portions together include a small interior space on four sides by narrow or wide entrances was open. In an extension of the Sacbé to go about ramp to the wide entrances, on the other sides are stairs leading to the narrow entrances. The interior was originally covered, the vault was reconstructed.

Building 16

Besides the described entrance building is a complex building, which is also referred to as an oval palace. In fact, it is a long rectangular building to which a round part joins, which had been built in 6 steps. During the rectangular member is formed of rows of rooms on two levels, it is at the round part of a mighty pyramid base, on the top level, a no -roomed temple stands, leading up to that of the north, a wide staircase.

Building 17

In the extension of the ball court are the twin buildings, two identical buildings on a high pedestal, leading up to the stairs from the east. The buildings each have only two narrow entrances that lead to a corresponding interior. A narrow passage located at ground level between the two buildings. The facade of these buildings was also covered with stucco decoration.

Playground for ball games

The roughly north- south running ball court is located between two older buildings with interiors and facades he partially covers. It is a ball court with very broad reflex slopes and lower vertical boundary wall. On the older buildings resulted from the east or from the west stairs to a location on the roof level small temple building. The older buildings show facades reminiscent of the Puuc style: with low small columns and horizontal frieze bands with oblique elements.

Building 10

In the southeast of the southern courtyard is a very large platform with a very broad sunken stairs on the west side (only partially reconstructed ). On the platform there is only a very small and low temple building that clearly recalls the small temple of the east coast of Yucatán.


The stele was 1 ' channel, K'uh ... the last king of Ek' built in 840 AD by the ruler K'inich Balam Junpik Tok. He can be seen on the bas-relief by holding in his left hand, raised hand the scepter of the god Kawiil, symbol of his royal dignity. Above his head, and the high feather headdress sitting on a heavenly throne Ukit Kan Lek Tok ', his ancestor and founder of the dynasty of Ek' Balam.