Both Aguateca and Punta de Chimino have been extensively
excavated by Dr. Takeshi Inomata with Lic Eric Ponciano and
Dr. Arthur Demerest with Lic. Hector Escobedo. Their findings
of evidence of continual warfare within the río Pasión
region helps to show that War played its part in the downfall
of the Maya.
Aguateca's unique situation of extensive burning with gross
warfare causing the rapid abandonment of the site has provided
a fresh look into how the people actually lived and what tools
Aguateca is a large, fortified center from the Late Classic located on the shores of Petexbatun Lake. Ruins lie nine miles south of Sayaxche, and can be reached by water. However, at certain times of the year you will need to wade across the shallow parts of the lake. The Petexbatun Lagoon at the entrance of Aguateca is incredibly beautiful. Aguateca's main feature is a series of stelae dedicated to its rulers. It has been suggested that the combined armies of this site and nearby Dos Pilas brought about the downfall of neighboring Altar de Sacrificios. If true, Aguateca could have emerged as master of the Rio de la Pasion region, at least for a time. A continual 2 year project concentrated on excavating and restoring
the site of Aguateca, however there are still many structures at the site, whose monuments have not yet been explored.
CEIBAL , also known as 'The Gallery of Maya Art,' lies on a hill overlooking the Rio de la Pasion. The site is renowned for having its emblematic glyph identified and for its ceramics. Ceramic clay vessels show painted figures of men and women, and are regarded as very high quality. The site was at its peak from 700 and 900 A.D. Some of the monuments and buildings clearly reflect outside influences and perhaps this emergence was due to the arrival of intruders, called Putú ns, from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico or the Yucatan. Stelae at Ceibal depict Maya ruler-priests both with Classic features and foreign elements. One stelae may possibly be the clearest demonstration of the relationship between the Maya inhabitants and the invaders. On this particular stelae, a dignitary is dressed in the Maya Classic style and holds a puppet staff (the symbol of state), upside down, and has his right hand placed against his chest in a gesture of submission. To his side, there is another personage with long hair who grips a curved club, and whose facial features are obviously not Classic Maya. It may well be that this stelae commemorates the surrender of the Maya Classic inhabitants of Ceibal, to invaders. One of the most beautiful and best-preserved stelae of the Post-classic period can be found here, along with ceramic pieces and anthropomorphic pottery figurines. The first settlements at Ceibal are quite old and date back as far as 800 BC.
To visit this site of Ceibal you most first drive south from
Flores to the Village of Sayaxche (69 Km) and then take a
short boat ride on: “LA PASION” river, and then
walk for about 25 minutes in our tropical rain forest with
ample time to see lots of birds. The site itself is beautiful,
the main stele is one of the most well preserved from the
Late Classic Maya period and shows influence of the Toltec
culture. A round temple of the Mayan Culture brings up curious
discussions of its original use.