An Ancient Site

This website highlights the activities of the Proyecto los Fundamentos Ecónomico de Mayapán (PEMY), which has conducted archaeological investigations into the economic underpinnings of urban life and governance at the ancient city of Mayapán since 2001. The PEMY project is co-directed by Marilyn Masson (University at Albany-SUNY), Carlos Peraza Lope (INAH-Yucatan), and Timothy Hare (Moorehead State University); Bradley Russell (College of St. Rose) has directed his own survey project outside of the city wall (Mayapán Periphery Project/MPP) in tandem with PEMY research within the walled parameter. We offer here a summary of research at the city and new findings that will revise earlier characterizations of this Postclassic Maya capital city and its realm.

Mayapan was the largest ancient Maya political capital of the Postclassic Period, occupied from around A.D. 1100-1450 – it exceeded the size of all other lowland towns or cities in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico by an order of magnitude. It was a key nucleus of political, religious, and economic activity. The population of the city was 15-17,000 – two-thirds of these residents lived within the confines of its circumferential "Great Wall." Mayapan is one of the most densely nucleated of all Maya cities due to the importance of this feature. The great wall of the city has twelve gates, including seven major ones with vaulted entrances – all of the gates were not necessarily used at the same time, as some are blocked. This parameter was clearly defensive, and the gates controlled pedestrian traffic entering the city. Three major gates have temples near to them, just inside the wall. Water sources, below-ground cenotes, were also in the vicinity of gates as these were key resources for visitors to the city.