Muyil
Muyil Jungle Palace Photograph
While Muyil is a less excavated site, it is significant for being one of the earliest and longest inhabited Mayan sites on the Yucatan. Pottery shards and other artifacts have been found dating back from as early as 350 B.C.E. to as late as 1200-1500 C.E. Another factor that makes this Yucatan Mayan site unique is that it is an example of Peten architecture, a style typical of older, more southern Mayan sites with their steep walled pyramids such as Tikal in Guatemala.
Muyil Castillo (Pyramid) Photograph
Situated on the Sian Ka'an lagoon, a name meaning "Where the Sky is Born", Muyil was situated along a trade route on the Caribbean once accessible via a series of canals. Excavated ceramics indicate that the city probably served as key point along a trade route between Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala, and Cozumel. Jade, obsidian, chocolate, honey, feathers, chewing gum, and salt were commonly traded goods. The Mayan merchants would track their product inventories not with a base ten numeric system like we use today, but instead a base twenty system that took advantage of the "digits" on their shoeless feet as well as their hands. During much of it's history, Muyil had strong ties to the city of Coba to the north-east. Since most tourists tend to skip Muyil and Coba, they are interesting sites to visit for those looking for a more primitive experience.
Grand Cenote Photograph, Yucatan Mexico
Throughout the Yucatan, there is an extensive network of underground limestone caves called cenotes. They were vital to the Maya who lived there as one of the only sources of fresh water. Legend claims that as the Spanish were invading the Yucatan, the Maya hid their treasure deep within these waters. While this is probably a myth, the most infamous of the cenotes is Chichen Itza's Sacred Well, where during periods of drought it was given offerings of semi-precious stones. At times it was even used for sacrifice by drowning in an effort to persuade the gods to bring the rains. Grand Cenote (above) is located a short distance from Muyil, and is one of many that today tourists use for snorkling and scuba diving.