Muyil (Chunyaxché), Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a 50-ha ancient Maya site
on the Yucatan peninsula that was among the first to be occupied on the east
coast. Field research was conducted there between 1987 and 1991. The 32,000
sherds and artifacts analyzed are dated to all periods between the Middle
Formative (350 B.C.) and the Late Postclassic (A.D. 1550). No
Spanish artifacts were found.
The site is on the karstic shelf (elevation 8 m) around a natural
limestone collapse with Caribbean access by a 15-km route through freshwater
lagoons and creeks. Architectural remains include temple-pyramids to 17+ m
high, shrines, oratories, roadways, large residential platforms, small house
mounds, and areas of extensive field walls.
Ceramic analysis includes a factor analysis of sherd types by
excavation unit, and a seriation of the resulting factors to suggest a ceramic
sequence for Muyil.
Muyil was settled before its closest large neighbor, Coba, one of the
largest Maya sites known. Muyil then participated in Coba's development
between the Late Formative and the Late/Terminal Classic. Like Coba, Muyil has
associations with Belize in the Early Classic, and with the Puuc region in the
Late/Terminal Classic. Like Tulum/Tancah and Xelha, Muyil is 45 km from
Coba and has canoe access to the Caribbean. The modest numbers of Chichen Itza
ceramics at Muyil are comparable to the proportions at Xelha and Coba,
although Xelha has numerous Chichen-style architectural elements and Muyil and
Coba do not. Dzitas Slate appears after the onset of Muna Slate at Muyil and
then runs concurrently with it in low proportions in the Terminal Classic.
In the Postclassic Muyil grew, and large peripheral areas were crossed
with field walls. Muyil participated in the Late Postclassic east coast
resurgence — fragments of Chen Mul Modeled censers are abundant.
An analysis of sacbes and shoreline changes show that the local
Maya probably extended their first sacbe to accommodate the eastward
retreat of the lagoon shoreline. Sea access played a critical role in all
periods at Muyil.
Muyil was depopulated at the time of the conquest and lay abandoned
until the nineteenth century. Modern reports first appeared in 1926.
© Copyright 2000-2005 Walter R. T. Witschey Page last updated Wednesday, April 02, 2008