Cancun

Cancum, Mexico, 31 August 2016

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The last post was colour infrareds of the journey from Flores to Cancun.  I also took a few regular images.  In this and the next one we are taking off from Flores.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Over the Caribbean.  There was also an infrared from the same location.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

From the air, one of the tourist resorts on the coast at Cancun.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

A view of the beach from a tourist resort.  Normally, I would never stay in one of these by choice, but it was close to the airport and we had a flight to Cuba the next day. They really represent modern commercial colonialism.  They monopolise the beachfront and are designed to encourage you to stay within their economic zone.  We are in Mexico and yet the ATMs only deliver American dollars.  We encountered them in several places in the Caribbean.  They often deny local people their traditional access to beaches for recreation and fishing.  In Jamaica we were told how some drove local people out of their roadside stalls, depriving them of significant income, in the interests of providing a homogenised experience for their clients.

In this case, as well as convenience for the next day’s flight, we were also close to a Mayan museum and some local ruins.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Glyphs on this stela mention Yuhkno’m Ch’e’n i, who ruled Dzibanche in the southern Yucutan Pensula in the sixth century. The reliefs also show lords from neighboring cities of El Resbalón and Yo’okop, captured  in a war of conquest.  Yuhkno’m Ch’e’n i was the founder of the Kaonor or “Serpent Head” dynasty. After 636 AD, they moved to Calakmul, from where its rulers conquered Tikal and controlled the central area of Petén.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Design outline of a similar stela.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

This is a figure from the facade of a Mayan building, which were lavishly decorated and painted with scenes associated with divine rulers and supernatural beings.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

A censer (object for burning incense) associated with a cult of the ancestors.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“The Maya were skilled mathematicians and astronomers. One of the most observed planets was Venus, since its transit predicted ominous auguries with the war. The Mayans recorded their cycle of 584 days in codices and stone panels like this one.”

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“A constant in the figures of the culture of the West is the representation of characters with vessels. Interestingly, both men and women carrry them. In agricultural societies, the vessel is a vital element as a container, for cooking and storing food.”

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“The rnaquetas are three-dimensional representations showing the way of life in the West, personalising gender roles and some who served. The detail and the purpose with which the pieces were made allow to visualize the expressiveness in bodies and faces, facilitating the identification of their gender.”

(Some of these translations may be a little garbled).

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

“Exalting the continuous search for beauty has always been a defining characteristic of humanity. In the West, painting the figures combines the divine and the earthly. In this Ameca style piece you can see a black decoration that serves to represent body aspects such as the hair and the iris of the eye.  Also to settle the beauty of the face and in the case of the breasts is a symbol of the cyclical.”

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

There was also a dragon (?) in the entrace of the museum.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Outside was the remains of some Mayan dwellings and buildings.  This is a recreation from a notice board.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The Mayans may have gone but the iguanas remain.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

This is the remains of the building shown on the notice board.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

The steps of a small pyramid.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, Mayans, Mexico, Mexico City, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Toltecs, Travel

Another iguana.

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Next was Cuba, but another trip is fast approaching (more on that soon) and I have run out of time for the moment.  To be continued at some later date….

From Flores to Cancun

Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, 31 August 2016

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This follows a journey in two small planes from Flores in Guatemala to Cancun in Mexico via Belize.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

This appears to be a small Mayan Temple from the modern era, in other words a church.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Soon we were flying over the red lakes of forgotten time in what was once the lands of the Maya and really still is.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Maybe there was once ancient Mayan irrigation canals here.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

The land underneath started to be hidden by the golden clouds.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

And after a while, Belize City hove into sight.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Soon we are flying over the Red Sea..

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Many shallow islands below.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Well, the Caribbean Sea, actually.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

The golden clouds of the late morning.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

Memories of an asteroid crash nearby long ago flashed up…

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

… and then faded again quite quickly.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

The weather began to seem almost normal.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

But then, what’s normal anyway.

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Aerial Photography, Belize, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Mexico, Nature, Photography, Travel

The edge of Cancun.

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And yes, that was an infrared post.

Tikal Monochromes

Tikal, Peten, Guatemala, 30 August 2016

 

These monochrome images also appear as colour images in the Tikal post. If you haven’t seen that post you should look at it as well, because many of the images are infrared and appear quite differently in colour to what you might expect, and because there are also extensive notes.

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Probably Templo 1 from the rear.

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A “palace”, generally presumed to be a royal living and administration area, but without much firm evidence.

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A ball court in front of the palace.

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Templo 2.

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The Great Plaza (into the sun). Templo 1 on the right and the North Acropolis at the left.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 2.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 1 on the left, Templo 2 on the right and North Acropolis in the distance, taken from the Central Acropolis. This is the main ceremonial area but there would have been few trees 1600 years ago.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 1.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

People ascending the Central Acropolis. Templo IV above the jungle at the horizon.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Jungle.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 3.

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A giant mask on a wall.

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Gran Pirámide, Plaza of the Lost World, one of the oldest remaining parts of Tikal.

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Temple of the skulls, Plaza of the Lost Worlds.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 5.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

The top of Templo 4, the highest at 74 metres or 150 feet, and probably a yellow-naped parrot.

 

Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel

Templo 3. They didn’t have windows of course, that’s just to keep people out of the chamber.

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Yaxha Monochromes

Flores. Yaxha and La Blanca, Peten, Guatemala, 26-29 August 2016

 

Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there is more information). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Flores.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Collaraed aracan, near Yaxha.

 

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Yaxha.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Yaxha IR.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Yaxha.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Topoxté IR.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Yaxha.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Near Yaxha.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Road to Nakum.

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La Blanca.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Black and White, Flores, Guatemala, La Blanca, Landscape, Maya, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Mexico City Monos

Mexico City, 18-22 August 2016

 

Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Teotihuacan, from Museo Nacionale de Antropologia.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Olmec.

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Huaxtec.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Maya.

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Maya.

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Maya.

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Central Mexico City.

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Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Frida Kahlo’s House.

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Frida Kahlo’s House.

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Frida’s Studio.

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Frida’s bedroom.

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Frida’s corsets.

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Palacio Nacional.

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On the streets of Mexico City.

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On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

On the streets of Mexico City.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Tenochtitlan today.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Chac mool.

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Tlaltecuhtli, Museo del Templo Mayor.

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Ball court marker?

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Jade Mask.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Museo Nacional de Arte.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Aztecs, Black and White, Frida Kahlo, Landscape, Maya, Mexico, Mexico City, Monochrome, Museo Nacionale de Antropologia, Photography, Street photography, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Museo Nacional de Arte.

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Tikal

Tikal, Peten, Guatemala, 27-28 August 2016

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This is a mixed infrared and normal post.  The images have labels and some further information, mainly from information boards, while a stream of information about Tikal follows underneath.  This latter stream may relate to quite different periods than the images and comments on the images.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Probably Templo 1 from the rear.

Tikal is one of the main Mayan cities from the Classic Era.  It is about 64 kilometres north of Flores.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

A “palace”, generally presumed to be a royal living and administration area, but without much firm evidence.

About 100 kilometres NNW of Tikal is El Mirador, an even more ancient site with what according to some calculations is the largest pyramid in the world.  Normally you have to walk in through the jungle, a day each way though I suspect little of the city has been reclaimed from the jungle.  I was intending to fly in by helicopter but it did not eventuate.

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A ball court in front of the palace.

There are traces of agriculture at Tikal from 1000 BC.

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Templo 2.

“Also known as Temple of Masks, Was built around the year 700 AD, by the ruler Jasaw Chan K’awiil l, as a mortuary monument for his wife, Kalajuun Une ‘Mo’.”

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Tikal was built on a series of limestone ridges, with swampland between and with interconnecting causeways.  The causeways made pedestrian ways during time of heavy rainfall and doubled as dams.  The buildings used limestone quarried on site and the holes this created were lined and used as ten great reservoirs for times of drought.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

The Great Plaza (into the sun).  Templo 1 and the North Acropolis at the left.

A burial was found under Templo 1.  It may be that there are others under all the pyramids.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Templo 2.

The “founder” of the dynasty at Tikal was Yax Moch Yox (“First Scaffold Shark”), sometime in the first century AD, though there were other rulers before him.

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Templo 2.

The earliest date found on a stela at Tikal is 292 AD.

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A wall area containing traces of a relief.

The first well-documented king is Great Jaguar Paw, who reigned from 317 to 378 AD.  Large scale building occurred during his reign.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Templo 1 on the left, Templo 2 on the right and North Acropolis in the distance, taken from the Central Acropolis.  This is the main ceremonial area but there would have been few trees 1600 years ago.

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In 378 AD, Great Jaguar Paw was overthrown and killed by Smoking Frog who was a foreigner, coming from Teotihuacan, the giant city-state near Mexico City today.  The invaders from Teotihuacan brought new military technology and organisation and also conquered some of the neighbouring cities.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Templo 1.

“Temple 1 (also known as the Temple of Ah Cacao or Temple of the Great Jaguar) is a funerary pyramid dedicated to Jasaw Chan K’awil, who was entombed in the structure in AD 734, the pyramid was completed around 740–750. The temple rises 47 metres (154 ft) high. The massive roofcomb that topped the temple was originally decorated with a giant sculpture of the enthroned king, although little of this decoration survives.”

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Curl Nose became ruler to Tikal in 379 AD and reigned for 47 years, yet he was also referred to as the vassal of Smoking Frog while he was still alive.

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The top of Templo IV, the highest at 74 metres or 150 feet, and probably a yellow-naped parrot.

Curl Nose’s son Stormy Sky was Lord of Tikal from 411 to 456 AD.  He was half Mayan.  The invaders were becoming Mayans but Tikal had adopted elements of the Teotihuacan culture.

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Templo 3.  They didn’t have windows of course, that’s just to keep people out of the chamber.

“Also known as Temple of the Jaguar Priest, because of the threshold figure inside the temple, this temple relates to the last phase of construction at Tikal. Its construction is estimated circa 810 and by reference that exists in a fragment of Stela is associated with the ruling Nuun bak Chaak II, who is considered the thirty-first ruler of, the dynastic sequence and is represented on the Lintel 2 of this temple.”

Tikal’s influence expanded greatly in Stormy Sky’s reign.  It directly controlled an area about 25 kilometres around and had a sphere of influence reaching 100 kilometres or more.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

People ascending the Central Acropolis.  Templo IV above the jungle at the horizon.

Stormy Sky was buried in the North Acropolis, in this image at middle left in the distance and obscured by foliage.

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Similar view, showing a bit more of the Central Acropolis.

A female became ruler of Tikal in 511 at the age of six, co ruler with Curl Head and then Bird Claw.  She is known as “The Lady of Tikal” because the stela that mentions her is incomplete and does not show her name.

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Templo 3.

The next ruler, Double Bird, may have been her son.  He ruled from 537 to 562 and came to an unfortunate end, along with much of Tikal.  This was also a period of the decline of Teotihuacan, Tikal’s faraway ally.

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A giant mask on a wall.

Calakmul is another Mayan city, 30 kilometres north of the Mexican border, so vaguely 130 kilometres north of Tikal.  It was bigger than Tikal and had many more stelae but we know little about it because the stelae have weathered away due to the inferior quality of the limestone used there.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

A stela depicting a ruler.  You may need to click on it to make it out at a larger size.

Calakmul had been an ally of Tikal but early in the reign of Double Bird, Tikal launched an “Axe War” against Calakmul and captured and sacrificed a prominent noble, probably after ball court rituals.  Reigning lords were expected to capture and sacrifice the head of another state early in their reign to prove their power but this was to prove a particularly unfortunate choice.

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Maybe a ball court marker.  Glyphs around the outside but hard to make out detail.

In 562, Calakmul overran and devastated Tikal and no doubt took Double Bird away for ritual sacrifice.  Tikal was then eclipsed for over a century while Calkmul prospered.

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The Bat Palace.

“A palatial complex that has several rooms with benches in its interior, distributed in two galleries on the first floor and on gallery on the second floor.  On the rear wall of the rooms are windows that provide views to the West.”

Slowly, Tikal regenerated itself and was becoming more prosperous under Shield Skull from 650 to 679, although he had to flee from a Calakmul raid to Palenque in 657 and after returning to Tikal, was eventually taken and sacrificed by them in 679.

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Gran Pirámide, Plaza of the Lost World, one of the oldest remaining parts of Tikal.

“Known as the main structure of the Lost World.  It stands 32 metres (105 ft) high.  This four-sided structure has staircases on all sides.  During the Preclassic period, around 300BC, this pyramid and its squared platform formed an astronomical observation unit.”

Shield Skull’s son Hasaw Chan Ka’wil brought about the re-emergence of Tikal as a great power.  He came to the throne in 682, raised many stelae and altars, and embarked on a program of reconstruction in the Great Plaza and the North Acropolis.

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Temple of the skulls, Plaza of the Lost Worlds.

“The Temple of the Skulls (Templo de las Calaveras in Spanish) is the third largest temple in the Mundo Perdido (Lost World) complex. A new version of this temple was superimposed upon a preceding version during the 7th century AD. This new version faced away from the Mundo Perdido and possessed a single room with five doorways that faced onto the adjacent Plaza of the Seven Temples to the east. Around AD 700, this version was sealed and a new version was built on top, at which time it became one of the highest structures in the Mundo Perdido. This version of the structure had a four-level platform with an access stairway interrupted by a vaulted niche, as was the architectural style prevalent at Tikal during this time. The base of the niche was adorned with three sculpted skulls, one facing forwards and the two flanking skulls in profile.”

Hasaw Chan Ka’wil was convinced that he was destined for greatness because his reign commenced 256 years after that of Stormy Sky, the most powerful year of Tikal.  This was significant in the Mayan long count of time, and represented the same point in another cycle.

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Plaza of the Seven Temples (and following images).

Empowered by this vision of greatness, he went to war against Calakmul and in 694, he defeated them and captured and sacrificed their Lord, Jaguar Paw.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife .

He ruled from 682 to 734 and won further successes against Calakmul, which was eclipsed politically.  Templo 1 is also his tomb.  His son Yikin Chan Kawil constructed the temple on top of his tomb.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife .

Yikin Chan Kawil also constructed the massive Templo 4.  His successors put up Templos 3 and 6 and much of what we see today is from the end of the era of Tikal.  This is partly due to the practice of building new structures on top of old ones.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife .

Further conflicts between Tikal and Calakmul are recorded until the mid 740s, then both states slowly faded away.

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Most of the area of the Lowland Maya, mainly in Guatemala and Belize, was abandoned by around 900.  The most plausible theory is overpopulation coupled with severe years of prolonged drought.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Jungle.

 

A remnant population may have persisted at Tikal up to around 1000, but it was then abandoned to the jungle for the next 1,000 years.

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Plaza of the Seven Temples.

“This is an important part of socio-political activity of the Tikal inhabitants of the Late Classic. At the northern end of the complex there are three ballgame courts, which in turn frame the north end of a large rectangular plaza. On the east side, there are seven temples aligned from north to south, the central temple presenting larger dimensions and the roof comb still preserved.”

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Around 3,000 separate structures have been recorded in the 16 square kilometres that form the heart of the city.  About 10,000 people lived there.  There was also a much wider area that was part of the city which overall supported around 50,000 to 60,000 inhabitants.  At the height of Tikal’s power, around 500,000 people lived in its area of influence.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Plaza of the Seven Temples.

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While superficially, the swamps around the city might seem unsuitable for agriculture, they had a complex system of canals and sophisticated practices to make this possible.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Tikal, Travel, Wildlife

Templo 5.

“One of Tikal’s highest temples, reaching a height of 57 meters, dated to the early part of the Late Classic period. The structure consists of a pyramidal base with seven stepped bodies, with rounded corners. On the façade it has a wide staircase with balustrade. During the investigations it was possible to establish that it has no substructure, which means it was built from the beginning to the top of the crest in a single chronological moment around 650 AD making it one of the earliest in Tikal.”

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There is a great expanse of jungle in the former Mayan lands of Northern Guatemala, Southern Mexico and Western Belize.  There are many unexcavated Mayan cities and no doubt many as yet undiscovered.  These are potentially threatened by plunder of ancient sites and exploitation of the rainforest region.  They are all under some kind of heritage protection but governance is weak and funding scarce.

The Mayan people of course survive and particularly retain independent communities in Guatemala.  2012 saw the beginning of a great long count cycle and the beginning of a new one.  In tradition Mayan terms we would be entering a period of renewal for the Mayan people.

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La Blanca

La Blanca, Peten, Guatemala, 27-28 August 2016

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This is a mixed infrared and normal post.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Rainbow-billed Toucan, Topoxte, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

This is our ultra-luxurious transport for a trip into the Guatemalan jungle, with my photographic pack on the tray on the right.

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We were heading for Nakum, another ancient Mayan city, and a rival to Yaxha.  (At least I’m pretty sure it was Nakum, there is some possibility it may have been Naranjo).

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But we got to a place where there was no point going further.  It was not so much that the truck couldn’t get past this point, but if it was this bad here, it was going to be impossible later on.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Rainbow-billed Toucan, Topoxte, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Here is an interesting chart from the Park Office at Yaxha that I visited later in the day.  It’s very inaccurate, though.  If you include the Minoan Civilisation with Ancient Greece, that goes back to say 2600 BBC.  El Mirador goes back to at least 1750 BC.  Chichen Itza survived to about 1250 AD.  There seems to be no reason to terminate the Byzantine Empire at 950 AD instead of 1453.  And the people of Topoxté moved to Zacpeten, where they lasted until 1697.  It does show the extraordinary length of the Mayan civilisation though. The Incas and Aztecs are ephemeral in comparison.  And it roughly equates to the whole Graeco-Romano civilised period from Crete to the fall of Byzantium.

Here also is some text “translated” from that notice board on the three periods of Mayan Civilisation….

HISTORICAL PERIODS OF MAYAN CIVILIZATION
PRECLASSIC PERIOD (1800 BC to 250 AD)
Ceremonial centers were created, ruled mainly by religious beliefs, and writing, plastic art, the cultivation of sciences and the development of monumental architecture began to be developed, such as the Acropolis with pyramids decorated with masks and friezes on their facades, which express the cult to the ancestors and the complexes of astronomical commemoration.
CLASSIC PERIOD (250-900 AD)
The Classic period marked the time of the flowering in all the orders of the most important cities of the central Petén. At this time the development in the agriculture implemented the irrigation systems and communal crops, increasing their relations with other Mesoamerican peoples. The technology increased and the political organization was tightly consolidated to the religion.
POST-CLASSICAL PERIOD (900-1524 AD)
At this time there is a cessation of political and cultural activities in the large cities of the central area, many of which are abandoned, a fact that has led to multiple interpretations of the events that might have led to this cultural decline commonly known as “collapse.”

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Since our morning expedition was abandoned, we instead went to La Blanca.

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Sometimes the light shifted and it looked quite different.

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Though small compared to Yaxha, still impressive in its own way.

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This and following images are at the Acropolis Complex, the Royal Palace.

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La Blanca was adjacent to fertile land that flooded in the rainy season.  There was also a huge reservoir for periods of drought and chultuns, or underground storage chambers for additional insurance.

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It was mainly an administrative centre and a place of trade, with not so much emphasis on religion.

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It dates from the Early Classic to the Early Postclassic, so around 250 to 1200 AD.  La Blanca is likely to have been a client state of either Yaxha or Naranjo.

 

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Graffiti on the wall of the “Oriental Palace”.  (You may need to look closely or click on the image for a larger view).  A deer at the right, at frog at bottom left.  possibly a human at top left.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Rainbow-billed Toucan, Topoxte, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Another “palace” view..

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A butterfly on the ground at La Blanca.

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Passing the wetlands on the way back….

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Rainbow-billed Toucan, Topoxte, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, History, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Rainbow-billed Toucan, Topoxte, Travel, Wildlife, Yaxha

Back at the ecolodge, this is a Rainbow-billed toucan.

 

Note to Lib Ferreira:  I said the Tikal post was the last one.  Actually it’s the next one, comoing out in the next day or so.

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