Becan Mayan Ruins
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", menaing "surrounded by mud" or "around mud".
Map of Becan:
Click on image to enlarge: