Home Headlines Xcambó was an important salt trade port controlled by the ancient Maya

Xcambó was an important salt trade port controlled by the ancient Maya

by Magali Alvarez
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The archaeological zone of Xcambó, located two kilometers from the Yucatán coastline, was a Maya settlement that once functioned as one of the most important commercial ports in what is now known as southeastern Mexico.

Located approximately 40 kilometers northeast of Merida, in the municipality of Dzemul, the city of Xcambó was established on the largest petén in the region, with numerous useful features for habitation: soil, potable water and materials for its buildings.

According to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the site was erected during the Early Classic period between 350 and 550 AD.

Its main function consisted in the administration of salt and marine products, in addition to being the center for the collection of goods at the local and regional level, which were considered of high value among the communities that inhabited the Maya area.

One of the peculiarities of this site is that it was built on the mangrove area known as ciénega, which became one of the places of communication and contact with the port, which is demonstrated by the existence of a dock or pier for the loading and unloading of trade goods.

Today, Xcambó is an archaeological site located south of the Progreso-Telchac coastal highway, on the road to Dzemul, comprised of several structures including residential units, the church, the Temple of the Cross and the Temple of the Sacrifices.

Its competition with the beauty of the Yucatecan beaches and the spotlight aimed at other archaeological zones of Yucatan and Quintana Roo have kept Xcambó as an almost unknown site, both for locals and tourists.

However, during the last few weeks the box office of this archaeological zone has seen an increase in the number of visitors of more than 1400 percent, according to Arturo Chab Cárdenas, head of INAH in Yucatán.

Boosted by the Easter vacations and due to the number of people occupying the summer homes on the Yucatan coast, Xcambó received between April 2 and 9 an average of 2,200 people per day.

“Xcambó has had a very strong increase, we saw a very noticeable increase because the place normally receives 150 people, but it is a site that is increasing its visitation every day”, said the federal official.

In view of this increase, INAH began to design an investment plan to improve the service unit in order to offer a more comfortable visit for tourists, which includes a lobby-style construction and bathrooms with capacity for constant operation.

“It is a site that due to its characteristics forces us to have to increase our infrastructure to receive a greater number of visitors,” he added.

Xcambó is one of the archaeological sites in Yucatán that does not have a fixed tourist stop, so its administration and collection corresponds solely to INAH. For this reason, the entrance fee is only 90 pesos by federal right and on Sundays access is free.

TYT Newsroom

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