Dzibilchaltun means "the place where there is writing on flat stones". It is located 5.5 kilometres directly north of Mérida's ring road, Hwy 281. The central plaza is found in Google Earth at: 21.05.27.16N and 18.104.22.168W, elevation at 7 metres. Occupation of the site extends from as early as 1000 BCE, through the arrival of the Spanish, and even beyond the 16th century. It was an important centre, actively involved with trade along the Gulf of Mexico.
The site is laid out concentrically along a west to east axis. At one time, there were some 8,000 structures, but little remains today after the stones were taken to build the Mérida to Progreso highway and structures in numerous nearby towns. The easiest way to orient oneself is to think of the Central Plaza as the heart of the site. Sacbé 2 runs from the centre west for about 400 metres to Structure 57. Sacbé 1 runs from the centre 600 metres east to the Dolls group. Unique in Mundo Maya, Dzibilchaltun was a true urban centre - the housing blended with administrative structures and linked by streets. There is a good site museum. Possibly, controversially, I believe the structure in this photograph was not a temple; rather what is referred to as a palace, i.e. accommodation for the élite. This view is from the southeast.
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