Balankanche Revisited: Some Preliminary Observations


With the discovery of passages sealed behind a blockage in 1959, Balankanche became the preeminent cave in Maya archaeology. Because so many of the intact vessels were incense burners and because of the Maya ceremony recorded as part of the investigation, Balankanche’s ritual function was never questioned even though at that time most caves were thought to be habitational. E. Wyllys Andrews IV’s monograph on the cave has remained one of the field’s best reports.

In the summer of 2017, the Gran Aquífero Maya explored Balankanche in hopes of mapping additional underwater passages. While such passages have not yet been located, our investigations have made it quite clear that our knowledge of this cave needs to be updated in light of advances in cave archaeology over the last 50 years. These advances are most acutely apparent in the recognition of ritual features overlooked in the previous study as well as revealing a cave much larger and extensively utilized than previously reported. Based upon these preliminary observations, a more thorough restudy is recommended.

Cite this Record

Balankanche Revisited: Some Preliminary Observations. Melanie Saldana, James Brady, Robert Schmittner, Cristina Verdugo, Guillermo De Anda Alaniz. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444007)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21182