Tour Description: Ek Balam is a spectacular Maya city only recently discovered by archaeologists. Today you can see an active archaeological dig with some of the best examples of Maya artwork and architecture in the region. Witness the incredible Tomb of Ukit Kan Lek Tok, a previously unknown Maya king who was one of the most powerful rulers in Maya history. Climb to the top of the Acropolis and stare into the jaws of the Witz monster. Download and listen to this audio guide of Ek Balam and experience the sounds of the past and the unearthing of this archeological treasure. Tracks on This Tour: 1) Introduction, 2) Wall, 3) Arch, 4) The Twins, 5) Oval Palace, 6) Chapel, 7) Stele, 8) Structure 12, 9) Structure 10, 10) Structure 3, 11) Structure 7, 12) Ball Court, 13) Steam bath, 14) Structure 2, 15) Acropolis, 16) Tomb.
When the Mayas abandoned the site, it went under cover, literally, as the dense low-lying jungle of the Yucatán engulfed it. As with all of the Mayan pyramids, these were discovered when archaeologists and adventurers saw a group of hills with trees and brush growing out of them. Digging in the mounds, they uncovered treasures of buildings and artifacts hidden for hundreds of years. The buildings at Ek Balam suggest that it was rich and powerful at one time. The city lost much of its power around 1000 A.D., but remained inhabited long after. The first excavations were carried out by Desire Charnay in 1886, but it was not until 1987 that most of the serious work began when it was "rediscovered" by a 34-year-old grad student named Bill Ringle who was wrapping up his work in at Tulane Univeristy and visited Valladolid, a market town in the middle of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. A couple of buildings remain buried, waiting for their secrets to be revealed.