Monday, March 22, 2010

Kantunil Kin Maya ruins (bye bye to Yucatan... for now!)

Well as you may or may not know I will be spending the next few months in southern Ontario working with a buddy of mine... however before leaving the Yucatan I decided to make my way over to the ruins of Kantunil Kin. This site seems to have never seen any restoration despite the fact that it is located very close to the Merida-Cancun (toll free) highway. There are no signs to mark the location of the site but if you are interested in visiting just go about 50km past Merida on the highway and when you see the pyramids on the distance turn in to the milpa. There are no roads so you better have a Jeep or somekind of sturdy vehicle. To be honest I am not even sure about the name of the ancient city... however Kantunil Kin (kin=sun) sounds about right since it is located just to the south of the town of kantunil. I have not found any useful info on the site, but because of the location and architecture I feel fairly confident in my claim that it was at one time a dominion of Izamal sometime in the late classic (Please feel free to correct me on this!). Anyway there are several structures, with about 7 of them being of substantial dimensions and 3 fairly large pyramids... including a double pyramid similar (although smaller) than the one found in Becan.

That is all for now, hope you keep following the blog (although there will not be much in the way of archaeology for the next few months!)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Templo Mayor Archaeological Site = Good Times!

No trip is complete without a good archaeology fix. Fortunately I had the oportunity to visit the ruins of "El Templo Mayor" in Mexico city. The ruins of what was once an enormous temple in the city of Tenochtitlan (The capital of the Aztec empire) is now reduced to a relatively small area after its destruction in the XVI century... however this once great temple still has many goodies for us to enjoy! As you can see from the photo below, the site is directly behind the Metropolitan Cathedral... thus placing it dead center in Mexico city (as was the rest of Tenochtitlan, which at the time of the arrival of the Europeans was one of the largest cities on earth).

Model of the temple (within the sites museum)

A very common motif in Aztec architecture... also seen in sites in the south east such as Chichen Itza (which was ofcourse very heavily influence by the peoples of central Mexico).

Remains of beautiful carvings

Eagle head

Chac Mool (you find these all over Meso America!)

Totlec like statues

Beautiful frog adornments (associated with the Rain god Tlaloc)

Feathered serpent head

A few photos of some buskers performing a Pre-Hispanic dance (ofcourse put on for silly tourists, but its still neat)

I wan nothing to do with any religion in which I will find these guys in the afterlife!!!

Mexico city!

This week I spend four wonderful days in the worlds largest city... Mexico City. Everything people say about Mexico City is true... yes there is crime, yes the pollution can be terrible... but it is also one of the most exciting places on earth and if you keep you wits about yourself... chances are you are going to have a wonderful time. On this trip I decided to take it easy and stick around the Centro Historico area instead of venturing off to far in the direction of Polanco, Santa Fe or what ever.

Downton Mexico city looking uncharacteristically calm

Moon rising over the Metropolitan Cathedral

Shot of alley off Tacuba

Metropolitan Cathedral

Latin American Tower (Built in the 50s is one of Mexico cities first sky scrapers... most of the newer and more modern ones are now in the Santa Fe area).

National art gallery

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Some wonderful artwork painted on to scafolding on the side of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the style reminds me a bit of some of the art found on the Berlin wall, just wonderful!

Hope you enjoyed the photos, check back soon for more! (next time photos of "El Templo Mayor" archaeological site.