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Sacbe’ob
Maya Causeways

Excerpts and References:

Evidence of pre-Hispanic straight track systems in Mexico survives in the region around the archaeological site of La Quemada in the western state of Zacatecas. About 100 miles of Indian roads have been identified there, and dated to between AD 700-800. They were first mapped by CharlesDe Burghes in 1833 and again by Charles Dickson Trombold in 1974.
Segments of sacbeob have been discovered on the island of Cozumel off the peninsula's northeast corner, a Mayan pilgrimage site for the worship of the moon goddess, Ixchel. Some of these connected different settlements, the best-preserved section being between San Gervasio and the northeast coast of the island. It was mapped for over three miles. It is about five feet wide and had shrines posted along it. Because of the sacbe's straightness, it was possible to predict where further sections might appear at points where visible traces had disappeared. [My emphasis.]
--Shamanism and the Mystery Lines: Ley Lines, Spirit Paths, Shape-Shifting & Out of Body Travel, by Paul Devereux
Despite the esoteric title, this is a most scholarly and thorough work, which focuses on consciousness.


Rewriting Southwestern Prehistory: New studies suggest an overarching political system dominating much of the Southwest from A.D. 850 to 1500, by Stephen Lekson, Archaeology Magazine, Jan/ Feb 97.
The Great North Road ran from Chaco Canyon to Twin Angels Pueblo and presumably continued north to Aztec Ruins. Dashed grey line [in illustration, not shown here] shows alignment of Chaco and Casas Grandes.

The infrared photograph of El Mirador, taken by a NASA aircraft a mile up [can detect]... low causeways, or sacbes because of differences in vegetation growing along the roadways. Three sacbes join in an area called the Crossroads...another... leads northwest. The roads underscore the importance of El Mirador as a great trade center. --National Geographic, Nov. 1992, pp 104-105


The Arch at Labna, unlike it's counterpart at Kabah, is extremely well preserved, even down to some remaining red and green paint inside the sculpted cornices. --msnbc.com/news/107385.asp


The other salient physical fact at Yaxuná is the great 100km(60 mile) long sacbé, raised causeway that runs straight as an arrow from the center of imperial Cobá and ends among the pyramid platforms in the ceremonial precinct of Yaxuná. The sacbé posed tantalizing questions of raw power politics of ancient Yucatan. -- David Freidel


At Coba, a site in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is a classic Mayan city. It was built around 4 large lakes and the area has been continuously inhabited for a thousand years. The largest structure at the site, the Nohoch Mul (Great Mound) pyramid, is 120 feet tall. One of the more than 16 sacbes leads due west out of the city for 62.5 miles to the minor site of Yaxuna', the longest one in Mayaland. -- Ken Goehring, College of the Siskiyous [snowcrest.net/goehring/maya/classic.htm]

Bibliography

Maya City Planning and the Calendar, Anthony Aveni and Horst Hartung, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 76 Part 7, 1986

Coba: A Classic Maya Metropolis, Wm. J. Folan E. Kintz & L. Fletcher, Academic Press 1983

Radar Mapping, Archaeology and Ancient Maya Land Use. Adams, Richard E. W., W. E. Brown, and T. Patrick Culbert 1981 Science 213: 1457-1463

Archaeology and Ancient Maya Land Use. Adams, Richard E. W., W. E. Brown Roys and Shook Preliminary report on the ruins of Ake, Yucatan Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology #20 American Antiquity Vol. 31, No.3, Part 2, Jan. 1966

Early boundary maintenance in Northwest Yucatan, Mexico American Antiquity, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1976, pp 3128-325

Cozumel: Late Maya Settlement Patterns, David A Freidel and Jeremy A. Sabloff Academic Press, 1984

page 81: "Historical corroboration for the existence of sacbes at the time of Spanish contact can be found in a statement by Las Casas and in the description of Cozumel given by Juan Diaz. He mentions stone roads raised at the sides and concave in the middle. (Wagner 1942a:71)."

Wagner, Henry R. 1942a. The discovery of New Spain in 1518by Jaun de Grijalva, trans. & ed. by HRW. Pasadena, CA, Cortes Soc., Val Treiz Press.

Mayan Magnificent Ancient White Roads, by Jose Diaz-Bolio 1992 Maya Area Press, Yucatan

Yaxcuna Coba Causeway, by Alfonso Villa Rojas and Robert Redfield, Carnegie Inst. 1934

History of Yucatan, by Diego de Cogolludo

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