The Kayuko Mound Group: a festival site in southern Belize

Holley Moyesa1, Mark Robinsona2 and Keith M. Prufera3

a1 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced CA 95343, USA (Email:

a2 Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter, 222 Laver Building, North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QE, UK

a3 Department of Anthropology, MSC01-1040 Anthropology 1, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131, USA


The cave of Kayuko Naj Tunich is believed to have been the location of the accession ceremonies for the royal dynasty of the ancient Maya Uxbenká polity in southern Belize. Little is known, however, about the structures referred to as the Kayuko Mound Group that lie close to the cave. Excavations have now provided evidence for the date of this complex, and experimental research has estimated the labour costs involved in its construction. The results suggest that while both the mound group and the cave were involved in the celebration of royal accession, the former acted as a short-lived festival site in contrast to the enduring significance of Kayuko Naj Tunich.

(Received January 13 2015)

(Accepted April 27 2015)

(Revised July 26 2015)


  • Belize;
  • ancient Maya;
  • festival site;
  • labour costs