Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/137

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IN THE LOGWOOD FORESTS.

position, which run out into the scrub for a great distance. Under guidance of Don Juan we climbed the smaller mound, and some little boys commenced to throw out the dirt and stones from a small hole in the top. They soon brought out fragments of pottery and plaster, the former finely glazed and tinted, the plaster colored bright red, drab, and green, and all the tints fresh as if put on but yesterday. After the adult Indians arrived, more plaster was exhumed, and a room disclosed filled with débris from above. It proved to be arched, in a way similar to the "Akabná," at Aké. They opened it sufficiently to show its shape, but did not find any more pottery or plaster, which was evidently above and outside the building. So I caused the earth to be removed from the top, and soon revealed great pieces of stucco, showing bright colors and elaborate ornamentation and design; but not enough to satisfy me, though I was obliged to desist digging before finding much, as the sun was setting. Its last rays shone directly into the chamber we had opened. Half the men and boys of the village were gathered by this time, and all assisted eagerly at the work, even the Presidente and the schoolmaster. I paid the Indians a real apiece, and the boys a medio, and all were delighted. The ruins of a building upon this mound would seem to indicate the use of these vast accumulations of earth as foundations for palaces or temples. In a flat country, like Yucatan, it would be necessary to elevate the public buildings in this manner in order that they could be seen from a distance. Though the ruinous state of the structure was so complete that no satisfactory outline could be obtained, its stones covering all sides of the mound, and large trees and agaves growing upon the summit, yet it seemed to have been composed of successive platforms, each one covered with a thick layer of cement or plaster. Stephens did not visit it, but states that the padre, a young man of thirty (when he was there, forty years ago), remembered when a building still remained "with open doorways, pillars in them, and a corridor all around," and was called El Castillo,—the castle.

It should be remembered that Ɔilam, though leagues away, is the only port of the large town of Izamal, where there