Becan Mexico

Located in southern Campeche, Becan has a long history, reaching back into the Middle Preclassic Period. It features massive temples and a magnificent enclosed plaza. The ruins were rediscovered in 1934 by archaeologists Karl Ruppert and John Denison. They named it Becan, meaning “ravine formed by water” in Maya, after the ditch that surrounds the site. The ancient name of the site is not known.

History of Becan

Becan was already occupied around 550 BC, and grew to a major ceremonial center a few centuries later. Around 250 AD, a defensive dry moat was constructed around the city center. One of the oldest defensive systems in Mexico, this ditch ran about 16 feet (5 m) deep and 32 feet (10 m) wide. When added to the embankment it created a nearly 40 foot (12 m) high defensive barrier. Around this time, the population and scale of construction declined although it remained a significant Maya site. From 500 AD Becan experienced another growth in population and many large new buildings were constructed, mostly in the Rio Bec style of Maya architecture. Construction ceased around 830 AD, but Becan continued to be occupied until 1200.

Structures IX. Photo credit: Luca Penati

Structures IX. Photo credit: Luca Penati

Map of Becan

The map shows the location of Becan. The buttons on the left can be used to zoom in or out. Click and drag the map to move around.

Becan Highlights

Two massive pyramids, Structures VIII and IX, are located in the northeast corner of the Central Plaza. Both can be climbed and provide spectacular views of the surrounding area. At 98 feet (30 m), Structure IX is the tallest structure at Becán. At the top is a platform with a huge mask on one end, and a shield-image on the other.

A short path leads from the Central Plaza through trees along the edge of the site to the East Plaza. Structure I’s back wall forms one side of the East Plaza. On the opposite side is Structure IV, which staircase is well preserved. On top of Structure IV are several rooms surrounding a small courtyard.

Structures VIII. Photo credit: NCReedplayer

Structures VIII. Photo credit: NCReedplayer

Visit Becan

Becan is located 5 miles (8 km) east of Xpujil, a town that is growing rapidly in the anticipation of a tourist boom. Several restaurants, a couple of hotels and a taxi stand are near the bus depot.

The entrance fee is M$30.