Comalcalco is an ancient Mayan archaeological site in the State of Tabasco, México, adjacent to the modern city of Comalcalco and near the southern coast of the Gulf of México. It is the only major Maya city built with bricks rather than limestone masonry and was the westernmost city of the Mayan civilization. Covering an area of 7 km² (2.7 square miles), Comalcalco was founded in the Late Classic period and may have been a satellite or colony of Palenque based on architectural similarities between the two. The city was a center of the Chontal Maya people.
The site reached its peak during the classic period in around 500 CE, although the area had been inhabited long before this date. The oldest item found on the site has been dated to August 10, 561 CE.
The only known ruler of Comalcalco was Ox Balam, who appears in an inscription from the Tortuguero archaeological site. According to that text, Ox Balam was defeated by Tortuguero's Balam Ahau on December 20, 649 CE. In later times, Comalcalco used the Emblem Glyph of B'aakal associated with Palenque and Tortuguero, presumably due to conquest by the latter polity.
A tomb found in Temple 2 references numerous late 8th century rituals associated with rain deities. The city possibly suffered from the severe drought that may have occurred throughout the region, and may have been at least partly responsible for the Classical Maya collapse.
The last date found on inscriptions at the site is March 7, 814, although habitation continued into the post-classic period until the site was abandoned around 1000 CE.
The original construction was compacted earth, lined with stucco. The later construction was with sun-dried bricks. Many of the bricks had decorations, see examples below.
North Plaza with Temple 1 on the western end. (1350k) Western part of the North Plaza with Temple 3a in the front, Temple 2 in the back and Temple 1 on the left side. (1054k) Temple 1. (1014k) Temple 1. (1454k) Front of Temple 1. (1293k) Stairs of Temple 1. (1232k) Back side of Temple 1. (1272k) Top of Temple 1. (1.7M) Temple 2. (1.7M) Front of Temple 3. (1378k) Back side of Temple 3 (front) and Temple 3a (right rear). You can see the two construction methods, compacted earth lined with stucco on the bottom, and bricks at the top. (1214k) The Acropolis. The highest part is the Palace. (1307k) View over the Palace. (1360k) The Palace. (1280k) In the Palace. (1.7M) In the Palace. (1.8M) In the Palace. (1074k) In the Palace. (949k) In the Palace. (1.5M) View of the Palace from below. (1280k) Temple next to the Palace. (1.8M) Stucco decorations around the bottom of Temple 1. (1078k) Stucco decoration in the shape of a frog. (1036k) Stucco decoration. (1142k) Stucco decoration. A captive dragged by his hair. (1223k) Acropolis with the phase 1 construction (packed earth and stucco) at the bottom, with phase 2 (brick) construction above it. (1441k) Acropolis phase 1 construction (packed earth and stucco) at the bottom right, with phase 2 (brick) construction above it. (1.5M) Detail of the brick construction. The insides of the bricks are not fired, they were only sun dried. (2M) Stucco decorations in the Acropolis. (1030k) Detail of stucco decorations in the Acropolis. (1088k) Detail of stucco decorations in the Acropolis. (1299k) Stucco decorations in the Acropolis. (1163k) Brick with animal relief. (1043k) Brick with animal decoration. (722k) Brick with animal decoration. (776k) Brick with human figure. (1004k) Brick with human figure. (1116k) Brick with human figures. (1268k) Brick with human figure. (1016k) Brick with painted decoration. (928k) Brick with hieroglyphs. (893k) Clay bird head. (948k) Clay head. (787k) Clay head. (735k) Clay head. (807k) Ceramic figure. (736k) Ceramic figure. (861k) Ceramic figure. (771k) Ceramic plate. (739k) Ceramic plate. (717k) Ceramic vessel. (692k) Painted ceramic bowl. (751k) Painted ceramic cup. (823k) Ceramic burial vessels. (884k) Ceramic burial vessel. (980k)