Archaeology Monday (pt.4): Becan

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Located near the geographical center of the Yucatan peninsula in the Mexican state of Campeche, Becan is most famous for grandiose Rio Bec style of architecture and its particularly well developed defence systems which feature a surrounding wall and moat. Archaeological evidence suggests that Becan was first occupied by Maya peoples during the Preclassic period sometime in the sixth century BC, however most of the large scale construction in the site seems to have been erected in the third century AC with construction having basically ceased by the ninth century AC. Becan has also been the site of the discovery of significant finds which include relatively intact tombs of ancient rulers. As is the case with virtually all ancient cities in the Region, Becan owed allegiance to Calakmul. The significant defence posture of the city may suggest it was a fairly important center of power and was likely subjected to siege warfare. The moat itself is approximately 16 feet (5 m) deep and 32 feet (10 m) wide, and when added to the embankment it creates a nearly 40 foot (12 m) high defensive barrier.

There were seven entrances to the metropolis: three to the north, one to the west, two to the south and one to the east, the latter is the current entrance to the site. In the area surrounded by the moat, buildings of monumental architecture stand around plazas. In the East Plaza the impressive Structure I can be found, with its two solid lateral towers; Structure II in the western part and Structures III and IV, both with a central stairway. The Central Plaza is open in two sections and is surrounded by Structures VIII and IX, which is the site’s most elevated construction (32m), and Structure X, where the stucco remains of a figurehead are kept. The Western Plaza is bordered on one side with a traditional Ball Court. A great number of smaller buildings are found outside the area surrounded by moat, which served as barns, sanctuaries, agricultural terraces, among other functions, for the people that supported the ruling dynasty of Bec├ín. Structure VIII has an interesting tunnel at its entrance, which connects two of the city’s main plazas. Due to its proximity to sites such as Xpujil and Chicanna, Becan makes for an essential stop along this network of ancient cities in the region.

Becan is only one of the many amazing sites such as Chicanna, Becan, Xpujil, Balamku, Dzibanche.and many more which we will be visiting on our Southern Campeche & Quintana Roo Archaeology & Wild-Life Experience (Feb 20th to the 25th, 2020). Space is still available but it is filling up fast! For more information email Carlos at

Check out our gallery of Becan: 


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