Previous Research at the Site
Dissertation and all web site contents copyright 2008 Bradley W. Russell
Early Archaeological Work at the Site
A more detailed review of all early work carried out at the site can be found in Pollock’s (1962:2-4)
introduction to the Carnegie volume Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico. In 1841 John L. Stephens (1843 1:130-
141) became the first of several explorers to visit and document parts of the site. While there, he
produced two important illustrations. One was an illustration of the Q-152 round temple (Figure 2.9) and
one depicted the Pyramid of Kukulkan, the Q-162 radial pyramid (Figure 2.10) referenced above. He
reported the existence of the city wall, although it does not appear that he visited it. Brasseur de
Bourbourg (1866:234-239), too, drew these two structures in 1865. A lightning strike caused the
collapse of the round temple just two years after his visit, making these two early illustrations important
in the building’s recent restoration. Brasseur saw the city wall itself, illustrating one of its major gates.
He also drew Stela 1 at its original location in the large plaza in front to the Temple of Kukulkan. Shortly
after this visit, Stela 1 was moved to its current location, set in a wall in the entranceway of Hacienda
Xcanchakan. The monument remains there today, even as the hacienda has gone to ruin around it.
Augustus Le Plongeon (1882) visited as a guest of the mayordomo of Rancho San Joaquin. The
Rancho occupied parts of the adjacent “Q” and “L” quadrants on the original Carnegie map (Jones
1957), including most of the current archaeological zone. His host showed Le Plongeon where Stela 1
was originally found. Based on his description, it probably came from structure Q-84 a series of
semicircular wall lines believed by to the Carnegie researchers (Proskouriakoff 1962) to represent a
stela platform built in the early years of the site’s occupation and now barely visible after successive
plaza floor resurfacings.
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