BECAN THE CITY OF THE GREAT DITCH AND KOHUNLICH
Becan is a Mayan archeological site located in the Mexican state of Campeche.It is noteworthy for being surrounded by a moat mentioned in Alma 53:4,it is the only one in the Mayan region. For some investigators it is testimony to the continuous war activities between Becan and other cities in the region. For others it represents a clear division between social clases, since the inner area is made up of structures built as architectural monuments reserved for the elite. Becan could be entered through seven different entrances: three to the north, one to the west, two to the south and one to the east, the latter of which is the current entrance to the site. Outside the area surrounded by the moat there are a great deal of minor structures that served as residences, grain storage, anctuaries, farming terraces, etc., which were used by the bulk of the population in order to sustain the ruling dynasty of Becan.
The site is academically classified by researchers as the regional capital of one of the most important architectural areas of Campeche state, which is the region known as Rio Bec.
The archeological site called Kohunlich relatively extensive, covering some 21 acres and surrounded by dense tropical forest. Traces of buildings and the remains of a water canal and reservoir system leads to the conjecture that Kohunlich was an important city in its day. This site holds nearly 200 hillocks, or mounds of vegetation-covered earth covering and concealing ruins, many of them still unexcavated.
Available archeological information theorizes that Kohunlich received its first inhabitants around the year 200 AD, even though the majority of the most important structures were built between 250 and 600 AD. It is also thought that Kohunlich represented an important trade link between the cities dotting the Yucatan Peninsula and various Mayan cities found in Central America.
Building A-1, or the Temple of the Figureheads, is one of the most frequently visited because it houses stucco-molded figureheads that still retain the original red paint that once covered the entire temple. It is likely this building was constructed between 250 and 300 AD, and that the figureheads are very interesting symbols of Kinich Ahau, the “God Who Shines Like the Sun”.
The original name of the site is unknown, but the word Kohunlich, as it is called today, is not of Mayan origen; rather the name comes from a phonetic transcription of its original name given in English, “Cohoon Ridge”. To date, the site’s ancient name is unknown.