La Blanca

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

.

This is a mixed infrared and normal post.

.

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.

.

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

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).

.

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

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.

..

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.”

.

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

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

.

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

Sometimes the light shifted and it looked quite different.

.

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

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

.

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

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

.

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

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.

.

.

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

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

.

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

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.

 

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

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.

.

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

Another “palace” view..

.

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

A butterfly on the ground at La Blanca.

.

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

Passing the wetlands on the way back….

.

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

.

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.

.

Yaxha and Topoxté (IR)

Yaxha and Topoxté, Peten, Guatemala, 27-28 August 2016

.

Infrareds from Yaxha and Topoxté.  For more detail see the previous two posts in ordinary colour.  In many cases there is an equivalent image there.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha

Yaxha,

This image is intended to provide a hint of realism, albeit in infrared.  The pyramids would have been painted and I have a book which shows the Yaxha pyramids as red.  Perhaps that’s accurate because the main noticeboard at the site also shows them as red.  There would have been no trees around though and no grass growing on the steps.  The whole surrounding area would also have been paved and, if the illustrations I have seen are accurate, white.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha

There are probably several pyramids here, built one on top of each other, so maybe the colours changed each time.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha

In any case, the colours of the past are perhaps conjectural.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha

Topoxté.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Guatemala, Infrared, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Travel, Yaxha .

Topoxté

Topoxté and Yaxha, Peten, Guatemala, 28 August 2016

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Next morning we visited the island of Topoxté in Laguna Yaxha.

There are six islands on Laguna Yaxha, settlement was mainly on three of them (which comprised a Mayan city) and Topoxté is the largest.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Cormorant on a drowned tree, from the island.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

The island is now mainly jungle but there are lots of mysterious mounds..  This is because there were around one hundred structures.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Topoxté was occupied from the Middle Preclassic (1000 to 400 BC) to 900 AD, and again from 1100 to 1450 AD.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

At times it was part of Yaxha and at others, independent.  In the later period they were associated with the city of Mayapan in Yucatan and after 1450 moved 14 kilometres west to Zacpeten, on a peninsula on Lake Salpeten, until the Spanish arrived in 1697.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

This is “Building C”, the main building in the Main Plaza.  Also for the two previous images.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

This break in the jungle is probably a paved street leading up to the Main Plaza.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Once a dramatic building, you can see the bricks poking out of the soil.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Still on the island, a dramatic flower with a bug.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

After returning from the island, we visited Yaxha again.  There are eighty-two species of bat in Guatemala and I’m not going to pretend I can identify this one.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Views from the top of another pyramid.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

That’s Topoxté in the middle, with a small boat passing by, much like the one we were on (or maybe even the same one).

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Howler monkeys.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

Still howler monkeys but it’s three hours later and we are probably back at Ecolodge El Sombrero.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha

In the late afternoon we went for a drive to some nearby wetlands.

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .

.

Archaeology, Architecture, Cormorant, Guatemala, Howler Monkeys, Landscape, Maya, Nature, Photography, Topoxte, Toucan, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yaxha .