Ancient Mayan Artifacts | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Ancient Mayan Artifacts

One Spanish word for fort is fuerte. Cool, huh? Could these words be related? Campeche has three forts: North, Middle and South. The southern one, El Fuerte de San Miguel, houses the excellent Museo Arqueológico de Campeche.


(There's something ironic about keeping Mayan artifacts in a colonial Spanish military facility, don't you think?)

The fort occupies a beautiful hilltop a couple of miles south of the city and offers a panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico. Eighteenth-century cast-iron cannon stand at gun slits. During its time, this place was impregnable. The only significant military action against the city, a raid from Mérida during the War of the Casts, failed.

A small but stunning collection of Mayan art and objects is housed in a half-dozen rooms inside the fort.


These faces, with their dignified expressions, come from no primitive jungle tribe culture. The sophistication and skill of their creators is evident. Their impact took my breath away.

No one can doubt these faces are Mayan. Canted, almond-shaped eyes, long arched noses are all around us today as we travel through the Yúcatan.


Technical Note: Photographing the exhibits was difficult: I had to increase CCD sensitivity to ASA 1600 to photograph without flash or tripod (not permitted) and I had to shoot through glass cases. Some of the best pieces were in curved cases which made viewing them (much less photographing them) nearly impossible because of unavoidable reflections off the glass.

Nevertheless, I got many, many images of stunning objects: See them in this Flickr Photoset.