Overview

Motul de San Jose is famous for its beautiful pottery vases painted in multiple colors with scenes of court rituals and hieroglyphic texts (called the Ik’ Polychrome Style). Motul de San Jose is located in the tropical lowlands of Peten in northern Guatemala, approximately 3 km north of Lake Peten Itza, and 32 km southwest of Tikal.

The site and its environs have been explored since 1998 by the Motul de San Jose Archaeological Project co-directed by Dr. Antonia Foias, Professor of Anthropology at Williams College, and Dr. Kitty Emery, Curator of Environmental Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida-Gainesville. Funded by Williams College, NSF, FAMSI, Florida Museum of Natural History, SUNY-Pottsdam, Tulane University and many other agencies,the project has conducted surveys, mapping, excavations and laboratory analyses at Motul and several smaller centers in its periphery,

such as La Trinidad de Nosotros, Chakokot, and Buenavista-Nuevo San Jose. These investigations have explored the dynamics of political power in this small polity during the heyday of Classic Maya civilization in the Late Classic centuries (A.D. 650-850).

The results of these investigations have been published in several journals such as Mayab, Ancient Mesoamerica, Geoarchaeology, and Journal of Ethnobiology. We are also in preparation of a volume entitled Politics, Economics and History at Motul de San Jose, to be published in 2011 by Florida University Press. We hope that this webpage supplements these articles that have already been published or that are forthcoming by allowing you access to the basic data of the project, including site maps, excavation drawings and photographs, artifact analysis by operation, and artifact appendices that supplement the published works.

Motul de San Jose Video

This video tour was recorded during the summer of 2000 by Prof. Foias and a local videographer. It was edited down to the six-minute video presentation on this page. The digitizing and editing were undertaken by Williams students as part of the Williams Instructional Technology Project during the summer of 2001.

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