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El Baúl

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Title: El Baúl  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Cotzumalhuapa, Escuintla Department, Maya social classes, Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, Chama (Maya site)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

El Baúl

Stela 1, showing one of the earliest Long Count dates yet discovered, March 6, 37 CE (

El Baúl is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in present-day Escuintla Department, Guatemala. El Baúl, along with the sites of Bilbao and El Castillo, is part of the Cotzumalhuapa Archaeological Zone. It is in the prehistoric Formative stage of the Americas.


The El Baúl acropolis is located 4 km north of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, 550 metres (1,800 ft) above sea level, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the Pacific. Its southern acropolis complex was destroyed in 1997 by an urbanization of this city, and the main groups are now sugar cane fields. the ballcourt is located 500 metres (1,600 ft) north of the acropolis with several residential groups in between, united by 2 causeways. Its geologic context is volcanic: the Fuego volcano is active and located just north of the site.

This site shows monumental architecture in its acropolis as well as a sweet house and obsidian workshops. Analysis of these deposits is particularly important for the study of the ancient obsidian industry. The P31 stratigraphic pit continued below these deposits to a depth of 3.78 metres (12.4 ft), revealing volcanic ash layers derived from the adjacent Fuego volcano. Obsidian debitage continued below these ash layers, suggesting that the area was used as a refuse deposit for a prolonged period.

The largest causeway is 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) long and ranging from 11 to 14 metres (36 to 46 ft) wide, to communicate the acropolis of Bilbao and El Baúl. Before entering El Baúl, the causeway ran across a large bridge over the Santiago River gorge. The foundation walls of the bridge, which most probably sustained a wooden structure, are still visible along a 330-metre (98 ft) span of the river course. An excavation carried out on the western side of the river gorge revealed two constructional stages for the causeway at this location, both of which date to the Late Classic period. Many monumental sculptures have been found along the causeways.

See also


Chinchilla Mazariegos, Oswaldo (1998). "El Baúl: Un sitio defensivo en la zona nuclear de Cotzumalguapa" (versión digital). XI Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1997 (edited by J.P. Laporte and H. Escobedo) (in Español) (Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología): pp.512–522. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
Kelly, Joyce (1996). An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Norman:  

External links

  • El Baúl and surrounding sites, history and photo gallery
  • The Delanges visit El Baul, with lots of photos

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