Chicanná, Campeche--page 1 (of two pages)

600-900 CE

Located in the Rio Bec region, the site is named after its most famous building (see below) and translates as the House of the Serpent Mouth. The site was occupied from about 100 BCE until about 1000 CE. West of Becán and one of its satellites, Chicanná differs in several ways. For example, it has no large pyramids and the buildings are relatively small. Instead of monumental buildings and impressive plazas, the site is small and the plan diffuse. In addition, the style is mixed. While some buildings follow the Rio Bec style of Becán and the region, the Chenes style, and even the Puuc style, are sometimes evident. The quality of the decoration and the generally ornate style suggest that this may have been the residential center for the elite.

Structure XX--from the rear and center and right: from the south and southeast

Probably built about 850 (that is, late in the development of the site), this building is the tallest at the site. Its main entrance has a Chenes monster mask of Itzamná while above the entrance are Chac heads.

The entrance and the top register


Details of chac heads and top central decoration (with perched bird)


Interior of Structure XX

There are a number of rooms inside this two-story structure. Some have benches with stucco decoration--rosettes and human faces.

Structure II--the most famous building at the site

Built in about 700 CE, this small building occupies the east side of a small plaza. Its Chenes monster portal is one of the most impressive in Mexico. (See also the scale model of a similar facade at Hochob, Campeche in the National Museum of Anthropology.)
The monster's jagged teeth are above on the lintel and below on the porch; its eyes have spiral hook-like pupils; it wears ear plugs; and of course, the door is its gaping mouth.

Some traces of red paint as well as symbolic writing--right

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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan