San Bartolo

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Contribution to Book

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The ancient Maya site of San Bartolo (17.5° N, 89.4° W) was a regional capital located approximately 30 km northeast of Uaxactun in the Department of the Petén, Guatemala (see also Map 3). It is located within the 430 km² San Bartolo-Xultun Territory, which is dominated by bajos (seasonally inundated swamps or wetlands), forming a natural boundary around the area. These bajos are filled with stunted vegetation, including the palo de tinte tree, which the Maya harvested and used as a natural dye. The territory also contains many aguadas (ponds that have been modified by humans) and chert sources, which the Maya mined for making stone tools. Within the territory are the capitals of San Bartolo and Xultun (17.5° N, 89.3° W), as well as a number of regional centers, household groups, and temporary settlements used as agricultural field houses. Archaeologists have estimated that at the height of the occupation, the territory incorporated approximately 7,700 residents. San Bartolo was dominant during the Late Formative period (ca. 250 BC-AD 250), while Xultun, the largest site in the area, took over as the regional capital starting in the Early Classic (ca.AD 250-440).


Walter R. T. Witschey


Rowman & Littlefield





Publication Information

Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya