Yucatan - February 2009

The day after visiting Calakmul again, we visited Becan.  Becan felt great; sunny and wonderful and magical.  It is my second favoritest site of this trip after Hormiguero.  The site has 2 main groups of temples: the Central Plaza and the East Plaza.  The Central Plaza has Temples VIII, IX, and X. The East Plaza has Temples I, II, III, and IV.  Also, at the Entrance is a cool Stela.  Between Temple IV of the East Plaza and the Tunnel are more smaller temples together called the Annex.  The Tunnel (I just call it that; not sure what the official name is) had awesome acoustics, so I chanted mantras in it.  Sounds totally cool!

According to the INAH signs at the site entrance, Becan (meaning “trench” in Yucatec Maya), is named for the trench that surrounds the most important temples at the site.  The trench is 5 (about 16 1/4 feet) meters deep, 16 meters (about 52 feet) wide, and with an interior parapet, has a perimeter of almost 2 kilometers (about 1 1/4 mile) and encompasses 12 hectares.  Access to the zone is restricted to 7 entrances, each with its own bridge.  20 major buildings associated with plazas and patios distributed over 3 hectares are currently accessible.  Becan was the political, economic, and religious capital of the province known today as Rio Bec, to which the sites of Xpuhil, Chicanna, Puerto Rico, Okolhuitz, Channa, and Ramonal (I never heard of the last 4 sites) belong.  Becan is strategically located at the base of the Yucatan Peninsula, on the route which unites hte river and lagoon zone (present day) of southwestern Campeche with the territories of Chetumal Bay.  The earliest archaeological evidence from Becan dates from 550 B.C. (the Pre-Classic period), when the Olmec culture was declining at sites such as La Venta in (present day) Tabasco.  Becan’s apogee, reflected in the construction peak and the population density, took place between 600 and 800 A.D. (the Late Classic period).  The Mayans abandoned Becan around 1200 A.D.

According to our friend William, Becan’s actual Mayan name was “Xtu jeh hel”, meaning “surrounded by mud” or “around mud”.

For additional photos and information, please see the following links:



Map of BecanYUCATAN-BECAN-Map-February2009.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0
The front left side of Temple VIII, as seen from the top of Temple IX, in the Central Plaza at Becan