Xochicalco is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a fortified political, religious and commercial center from the troubled period of 650 to 900 A.D. that followed the breakup of the great Mesoamerican states such as Teotihuacán, Monte Albán, Palenque and Tikal.
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Archaeological Sites in Central America
Inhabited since the 2nd century A.D., Quiriguá became the capital of an autonomous and prosperous state. Its ruins contain some outstanding monuments and an impressive series of carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization.
Founded in 1519, Panamá Viejo was the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Abandoned in the mid-17th century, it was replaced by today's Historic District, which has preserved its original street plan, its architecture and an unusual mixture of architectural styles.
A number of well-known and historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites are found in Belize, considered part of the southern Maya lowlands of the Mesoamerican culture area. The sites found here were occupied until the arrival of the Spanish.
The Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche is both a World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve. The largest forest mass in Mexico and the second largest remnant forest left in Latin America, it is the heartland of the area in which the Maya civilization reached its climax.
Chiquibul National Park is the largest national park in Belize. The park surrounds Caracol, an archaeological reserve, that was once one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period. Chiquibul Forest Reserve is adjacent to the park.
Paquimé, Casas Grandes played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. The archaeological zone is distinguished by its impressive buildings in earthen architecture.
El Salvador has five archaeological parks plus a Mesoamerican site. The Yucatán Peninsula and the Petén Basin/Maya Forest region of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico have become synonymous with Maya ruins; however, there are several sites in El Salvador of importance.
The pre-Columbian City of El Tajín, located in the state of Veracruz, is a site of great significance for Mesoamerican archaeology as it is one of the best preserved and most thoroughly excavated examples of a pre-Hispanic town from the time between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of the Aztec empire.
Guayabo National Monument, set on the jungle-rich slopes of the Turrialba Volcano, protects one of Costa Rica’s most important archaeological sites, Guayabo de Turrialba. The historic ruins make up the largest pre-Columbian city ever discovered in Costa Rica.