El Puente (Maya site)

El Puente, or the Parque Arqueológico El Puente ("El Puente Archaeological Park"), is a Maya archaeological site in the department of Copán in Honduras. Once an independent Maya city, the city of El Puente became a tributary to the nearby city of Copán between the 6th and 9th centuries AD. The site contains more than 200 structures that include tombs, religious structures, and living quarters, but only a few have been excavated, including a large Maya step pyramid.

El Puente is located in the Florida Valley in the municipality of La Jigua, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) to the north of the Honduran town of La Entrada. The site is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the confluence of the Chamelecón and Chinamito Rivers. El Puente is 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the El Paraíso archaeological site. The site is located within the Southern Maya area on the southeastern periphery of Mesoamerica, and it was situated on the frontier between Maya and non-Maya peoples.

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El Puente, or the Parque Arqueológico El Puente ("El Puente Archaeological Park"), is a Maya archaeological site in the department of Copán in Honduras. Once an independent Maya city, the city of El Puente became a tributary to the nearby city of Copán between the 6th and 9th centuries AD. The site contains more than 200 structures that include tombs, religious structures, and living quarters, but only a few have been excavated, including a large Maya step pyramid.

El Puente is located in the Florida Valley in the municipality of La Jigua, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) to the north of the Honduran town of La Entrada. The site is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the confluence of the Chamelecón and Chinamito Rivers. El Puente is 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the El Paraíso archaeological site. The site is located within the Southern Maya area on the southeastern periphery of Mesoamerica, and it was situated on the frontier between Maya and non-Maya peoples.

The site was first described by Jens Yde in 1935. He mapped the site but did not carry out any excavations. The site received a Cultural Heritage of the Nation designation by executive decree in March 1989. The La Entrada Archaeological Project (PALE – from Proyecto Arqueológico La Entrada in Spanish) started excavations at El Puente in 1991 with the intention of creating the second archaeological park in the country, after Copán. The Parque Arqueológico El Puente opened on 20 January 1994 and includes a visitor centre, site museum and administrative offices.

El Puente appears to have been first settled around the middle of the 6th century AD, in the Early Classic period, fairly late in the Mesoamerican timescale and occupation at the site did not last very long.[1] Architectural and ceramic similarities with Copán suggest that El Puente was founded by that city to control the crossroads of two trade routes that met in the valley.[1] The site was a regional centre during the Late Classic period when it remained closely allied with the great city of Copán.[2][3]

After the collapse of Copán in the Terminal Classic (between AD 850–950), the La Entrada region suffered politically with local elites losing prestige and territory. However, unlike at Copán, there does not seem to have been overuse of local resources and El Puente appears to have received immigrants from Copán during the Late Classic.[3]

^ a b Nakamura & Cruz Torres 1994, p.521 ^ Cite error: The named reference NCT-520 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Nakamura & Cruz Torres 1994, p. 523
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