Near Ocosingo, Mexico is the Toniná archaeological site where stone carvings are plentiful, including what might be the most recent known Long Count Mayan calendar markings.

The still-formidable Toniná archaeological site in Chiapas, Mexico.

The Toniná Mayan archaeological site

The Toniná archaeological site still presents itself with imposing dignity high up on a hill which the experts tell us was built up to a suitable height by the Mayans themselves. It was even more imposing when it was inhabited by what appear to have been fairly war-happy people who fought many rivals, including inhabitants of Palenque.

The view from the top of the main temple at Toniná archaeological site.

Toniná is also famous for its stucco and stone carvings including more than 100 Long Count calendar carvings. In fact, Toniná may have the most recent known Long Count date on any Mayan monument.

Some of the detailed decoration still visible in the nooks and crannies of Toniná archaeological site.

The word Toniná means house of stone in Tzeltal Mayan language, which doesn’t really narrow things down in the Mayan world where everything was made of stone (except at Comalcalco archaeological site in Tabasco, which the Mayans there built using bricks and mortar made with oyster shells).

A stele still stands guard at Toniná archaeological site.

Toniná means “house of stone” and intricate designs in stone walls like this one still remain at the archaeological site to give us an idea how this Mayan city got its name.

What they did with stone at Toniná is a bit different, however. Many of the structures have round corners and there are lots of nooks and crannies and tunnels that you can poke around in. This is one site where it pays to be nosy.

Karen doing the Mayan Stairmaster up a nearly vertical staircase.

Toniná archaeological site.

 

Check out our Archaeological Index post for quick links to information and photos from the 100+ archaeological sites we’ve visited.

Here’s more about travel in Mexico