2013 Ek' Balam, Yucatan, Mexico

Below are some pictures from Blades of Glory Expedition to Ek' Balam in August 2013.
Ek Balam is a burial chamber for the Mayan ruler Ukin Kan Le’k Tok’.


Ek' Balam is the Mayan word for "black jaguar". Construction of this city began in 100 B.C.E. to 300 C.E. and continued into 700 C.E. to 900 C.E. It still may have been inhabited in the 1500's when the Spanish conquistadors arrived. *Ek’ Balam was a large and powerful city that was part of the Maya Talol Empire and the capital of the Maya Empire of TOH. The Maya King Coch-Cal-Balam, founded Ek' Balam, but, U'kil-Kan Lek-T'ok, was the powerful ruler that is buried in the main pyramid called the Acropolis. The Acropolis is one of the largest Mayan structures in the Yucatan Peninsula, measuring 500 feet long, 200 feet deep and 100 feet high. There is a wall that goes around the city but it is not high enough to act as a protective structure. It was probably built for ceremonial purposes. Archeologists have found a road network near the site. *The Maya roads made of shells, lime, sea shells and sap of the Zapote tree and raised with stones. The roads connected the city with other Maya cities and within the temples and pyramids of the center. The Maya traveled at night to avoid the heat, and by using shells on the roads, the light of the moon was reflected on them making them white. They theorize that Ek' Balam was originally the agricultural center of the northwestern part of the peninsula.


Workers and university students help with the restoration process. *The Maya temples were renewed every 52 years by building on top of them, representing the re-incarnation or renewal. The overlapping constructions have several rooms on different levels and vaulted passageways. On the top, the magical winged warrior figures, art and symbolism attached to them, every movement, every finger, every thing created to represent something with symbols. This magnificent structure has life-sized stucco figures that were excavated in perfect condition. 1200 years ago they were carefully buried and covered with stones and dirt before the Maya disappeared.


The Acropolis, the impressive fortified pyramid, is the tomb of U'kil KanLek-T'ok. His name has been deduced from a glyph in the tomb. The emblem glyph named the ruler as the "Divine Lord of Talol." Talol was the name of the kingdom in ancient times.*


About one third of the way up the Acropolis there is an area on the left that houses an entrance into the monument. The entrance is surrounded by a giant toothed mouth. They believe that this mouth is the gate to the afterlife and it allowed the Mayan ruler Ukin Kan Le’k Tok’ to pass to the next world.


The view from the top of the Acropolis. In July of 2010, two students that were running from the top of the Acropolis fell and died.


Various pictures from around Ek Balam.


* courtesy of


2015 Blades of Glory