6. Sacbes, Sea Access
Home Up Acknowledgements Background 1. Introduction 2. Locale; Exploration 3. Field Methods 4. Architecture 5. Ceramics 6. Sacbes, Sea Access 7. Culture History Appendix 1 - Lot Registry Appendix 2 References

Lagoon Edge


The lure of the route to the sea

            Of all the characteristics of the Muyil site, the water route connecting Muyil to the Caribbean is the most compellingly interesting. In a land with no rivers, Cayo Venado is unusual. To the ancient Maya people, known for their extensive canoe trade and travel, the lure of this water channel must have been irresistible. To Mason and Spinden, the possibility of finding an ancient Maya site at the west end of an unusual watercourse led to our first professional report of Muyil. To local modern Maya, the route provides access to good fishing. To modern tourists, a trip along the channel is a sought-for treat. To our research team, a tumult of questions, hypotheses, and investigations brought us back to the Muyil waterway countless times.

            The route to the Caribbean is an unusual natural phenomenon. The ancient Maya enhanced this natural route by adding infrastructure and by establishing a town at the western terminus. This had the effect of increasing both its usefulness and its importance to them. In the following background, I review the natural route, then describe the structures associated with it built by the Maya of Muyil. Lastly, in this introduction, I review several of the questions raised by our study of the route to the sea. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to the research along the route, to the questions, and to the evidence as it supports answers to the questions.

Copyright 2000-2005 Walter R. T. Witschey   Page last updated Wednesday, April 02, 2008