Mexico Travel Guide
Chiapas Archaeology

Six unnoticed archaeological sites in Chiapas

Rutopía editorial team
Rutopía editorial team
5/23/2024
- min read

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The diversity and history of Mesoamerican cultures in Mexico is not only the pretext to start a great journey (Let’s hope with Rutopia), but also is the possibility of appreciating life from its purest origin. That said, archeological sites in Chiapas should be your next stop.

Regarding this, in this country, there is a great variety of archaeological sites that will allow us to know and recognize our past. Among the most famous vestiges are those that live in Tulum, Tehotihuacán and Monte Albán. However, this does not mean that they are the only ones, archaeologists work every day to generate new findings and invite us to go beyond the classic recommendations.

A wonderful example of this can be seen in Chiapas, a unique state not only in Mexico, but in the world. Rich in its landscapes, food, culture and pre-Columbian traces. A site that, without a doubt, must be part of the things that one must see at least once in a lifetime.

Would you like to get to know Chiapas well? we take you

Here are six archeological sites that everyone should know about:

Tenam Puente and Chinkultic Archaeological Zone

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Tenam Puente is characterized by a temporality that transcends the collapse of most of the Mayan cities of the Lowlands, it corresponds to the classic to early postclassic period, outstanding in the construction technique of limestone stones perfectly assembled and placed without mortar. 

On the other hand, Chinkultic was famous in classical times for the production of beautiful pottery, it’s main attractions are the terraces, the ball game courts and countless stelae. Besides, it’s located near the Chincultik Lagoon Ecotourism Center where you can learn more about the culture and traditions of this region.

The Classic Maya Kingdom of Sak Tz’i’

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Sak Tz’i means “white dog” in the Tzeltal language, was the capital of a Mayan kingdom founded around 750 BC and was inhabited for about a thousand years, it was recently discovered in 2018, after years of searching.

At the site you will find pyramids, palaces and a ball game court, Sak Tz’i is surrounded by more powerful states, for that it’s found surrounded by streams and masonry walls.

Near this site is located the ecotourism center Topché Jungle Lodge where the nearby communities teach you how to make handicrafts, the use of medicinal plants, to live with nature and tell you stories, legends that transcend time.

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Bonampak Archaeological Site

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Bonampak in Mayan means painted walls, located in the Lacandon Jungle is a place full of history and with attractive tourist sites apart from its archaeological site, such as its jungle environment, fauna, celestial spectacles and many outdoor activities.

That being said, Bonampak stands out for the pictorial nature of it’s murals, you can admire original paintings 1100 years old, stelae and lintels that narrate the lifestyle and government of this pre-hispanic city. No other work related to the Maya brings us closer to the life of the ancient society than Bonampak.

Palenque Archaeological Site

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Palenque today is part of the heart of Chiapas and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In ancient times it was one of the most powerful cities of the Classic Maya, protected by the Lacandon jungle.

In this emblematic archaeological site you can visit the Temple of the Inscriptions, an impressive architectural work of Palenque, built through time, The Cross Group, a very important ceremonial complex, the Museum of the Site that has a large exhibition room that shows the different expressions of the Mayan culture

Yaxchilán Archaeological Site

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Covered by the blanket of thick jungle vegetation and under the gaze of the majestic jaguar, is one of the most impressive Mayan cities in Chiapas.

The importance of Yaxchilan lies not only in the beauty of it’s architecture, it’s in the 124 texts in 30 stelae, 21 altars, 59 lintels, which narrate the establishment of alliances or war conflicts and their history.

 

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Toniná Archaeological Site

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Toniná means in Tzeltal the house of stone, it’s apogee was at the end of the VI century and beginning of the X A.D., being a military power. 

The most outstanding of Toniná is the Palace of the Underworld, the Temple of the Grecas, the Ball Game and the Altar of the Sacrifices.  The whole architectural ensemble has formed an enormous labyrinth of temples, palaces and stairways that overlapped during more than a thousand years of construction.

Finally, the amazing beauty and mysticism that surrounds this archaeological site is largely due to the jungle, which is why it’s part of other places of great tourist interest such as the amazing waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol Ha.

***

Undoubtedly, archaeological sites are full of mysteries, history and experiences, that make you travel through time, If you want to experience them more closely or continue reading more about the diversity and beauty of Mexico,

We invite you to read our blog or to reserve your next adventure here.

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