Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Balamku-Central Group

The Chenes (?) style buildings just outside (north?) at the edge of the South Group. Here are photos of some of them.

Figure 1. Puuc or Chenes style range-type, presumably residential, building.

The strange part of this architecture is that the masonry is veneer-style, as in Puuc and Chenes, but it doesn't share many other specific features of those styles, such as "monster-mouth" doorways or mosaic sculpture on the frieze above (or below) the medial molding.

Figure 2. Detail of the same building as in Figure 1. Note the basal molding.

Figure 3. Veneer stones in profile.

Figure 4. Close-up of the veneer stones.

Figure 5. Another residential building with benches.

Figure 6. Another room in the same building with an interesting niche below bench. Note the "Chaak" masks.

Figure 7. Close-up of one of the Chaak masks.

Figure 8. Note the molding.

Figure 9. Note the niche below the second bench.

Figure 10. Note the niches below the benches.
Figure 11. Entrance to the Central Group Quadrangle.

The arch at the south entrance to the Central Group appears to have been added later, connecting two pre-existing structures. In Figures 12 and 13 you can see that the corners are different.

Figure 12. Molding to the left of the south side of the south entrance of the Central Group. The molding looks a little Central Mexican.

Figure 13. Corner to the right of the south side of the south entrance of the Central Group.Note the rounded corner.

Figure 14. Unusual basal molding on the building right of the entrance arch.
Figure 15. Column in a room in the building to the right (east)  of the entrance.

Figure 16. Second column in the building to the right (east) of the entrance.

The building enclosing the south end of the Central Group has a strange structure stuck on the north side of the east end (Figures 17 and 18). It has two very steep stairways with alfardas (balustrades). The stairs are almost as steep as those on the Rio Bec-type false towers.

Figure 17. Steep stairway with alfardas at east end of south structure in the Central Group. West stairway. Note the rounded corner.

Figure 18. Steep stairway with alfardas at east end of south structure in the Central Group. North stairway.

This might be a radial temple, but I couldn't see the other sides because they weren't consolidated and the collapse obscures the form.

The northeast corner of the Central Group quadrangle feature a long, large structure composed of three pyramids fused together (Figure 19).  I've never seen anything quite like it. It appears that the two pyramids on the ends were built first and then the middle one built in between them. The gaps between the three structures were filled in with masonry (Figure 20).

Figure 19. Long structure composed of three connected pyramids in the northwest corner of the Central Group.

Figure 20. Masonry used to fill in between two of the pyramids.
Inside the western pyramid (Figure 21), the excavators found a substructure with a very well-preserved stucco frieze. I took the photos below inside. The use of the flash was not allowed, and it was quite dark, but I was able to stabilize the camera by leaning against the wall, and the photos came out well enough.

Figure 21. Western pyramid in the northwest structure of the Central Group. Note the rounded corner, the outset staircase, and the block masonry.

The photos run from west to east. The frieze is said to be fairly early, perhaps the fifth or sixth century. There are photos of the interpretive panels. I believe the interpretations were developed by Claude Baudez.

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Figure 43.
Figure 43 shows the central doorway below the frieze, to illustrate that the stuccoes are above the medial molding.

Remarkable stuccowork!

Beautiful site.

Interesting architecture. I should probably read the literature on it.

As usual, feel free to use the photos for nonprofit education and research purposes. Do not publish without explicit, written permission.


Arnaud, Charlotte, Marie France Fauvet-Berthelot, Dominique Michelet, and Pierre Becquelin (1998). Balamku, Campeche, Mexico: Historia del Grupo Sur. In XI Sinposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1997, editado por J. P. Laporte and H. Escobedo, pp. 144-161. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

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