Nakum – A Mayan Site

DFN: Another place for me to go visit.

Nakum Guatemala: ancient Mayan prosperity
By Samuel Christ, 11/07/2009–Ancient-Mayan-Prosperity/816742

Nakum is, apart from the setting for one of the survivor programs, a Mayan Jungle Site and a former ceremonial center and city of the ancient Maya of Guatemala. Rediscovered in 1905 by Maurice Perigny, Nakum has had several archaeological and restorative sessions including a Guatemalan "official restoration" in 1990.

Located in the northeastern portion of the Petn Basin region, it rests in what is called the Guatemalan department of Petn. The northeastern Petn region contains significant Maya sites, Nakum being one of three sites composing the cultural and political triangle of "Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo". Approximately 17 km to the north of Yaxha and some 20 km to the east of Tikal. Outside of Tikal its main temple, a visibly-restored feature, serves as one of the Maya civilization’s best preserved archeological artifacts.

The glory days of Nakum came about during the Late Classic period. The apex of its prosperity was achieved due in large part to its strategic position just north of the Holmul river, an imperative resource of trade and communication during the period. The Late Classic period moreover yielded 15 stelae which included "structure A", "Structure C" , and "Structure V", a triadic top, an astronomical complex, a structure of vaults and vertical walls, respectively. It boasts the largest corpus of ancient hieroglyphics only second to Tikal.

The North and South of Nakum comprise what are considered to be the two main sectors of the site. Southern sector, large in comparison to the Northern, houses a major Acropolis, eleven patios, and several various structures which include a forty-four-room Palace, known as building "D". Atop the elevated Acropolis of the Southern Section a clear view of the most important structures of Nakum can be achieved. The Northern section has been more of a mystery, having been little investigated.

Politics from the composition of Nakum seems to reflect a society and culture that held political themes above religious ones, figuratively and literally. The religious structures of Nakum are located on the lower levels, supporting the imposing political Mayan Temples above. Temples A, B, and C, positioned in the southern of the Central Plaza form a clear triangle that aims northward. Nakum has a quadra-directional orientation. It is believed that royals and rulers observed rituals and performances from Palace D. Historians suggest that the East Plaza, parent to Temple V, was abandoned for reasons not completely unknown. Temple U at the Southeastern Plaza is assumed to have had a direct relationship with the Main City.


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