Apparently, according to the ancient Mayans, the World is coming to an end in 2012 – 21 December to be precise. This is not strictly speaking true, in the Mayan calendar 2012 marks the end of one 400 year era – a baktún – and the beginning of another. Central American nations are celebrating this auspicious event with a programme of events and festivities. Part of Mexico’s Maya World Programme, which began on 21 June counting down to 21 December, will be making a number of previously inaccessible Mayan archaeological sites open to the public. Just last week a new museum opened in Cancún.

The archaeological site of El Rey in Cancun

The archaeological site of El Rey is situated within the hotel zone of Cancún

Cancún is a popular tourist destination at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsular, with many nearby archaeological attractions – including the site of El Rey. So a new museum does much to add to the visitor experience of this archaeological rich area. El Museo Maya de Cancún is dedicated entirely to the archaeology of the Mayan culture in the state of Quintana Roo. This area – the eastern side of the Yucatán peninsular – includes the well known archaeological sites of Chacchoben, Coba, Kohunlich, Muyil, Tulum, Xel-Há, and Xcaret. And it is the artefacts recovered from some 30 years of research at these sites that are on display at Cancún’s newest archaeological attraction.

Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia issues a regular news bulletin on their Youtube channel. The November edition includes a wonderful walk-through of the new museum. The youtube video includes news about archaeological work currently underway at Dzibanche and Ichkabal, in southern Quintana Roo.

Maya and the Yucatán Peninsula – a National Geographic Guide

More Archaeological Activities When Based in Cancún

Photographs © Dennis Jarvis