LOCATION AND ACCESS The ruins are located in a generally flat area surrounded by small hills approximately 2.5 km northeast of Bolonchen de Rejon, Campeche. The hills are often topped by structures of varying sizes, from low platforms to complex groups, some of which are visible on the eastern side of the Bolonchen~Uxmal highway.
Itzirnte is readily accessible. A milpa road breaks off the main highway about 2.5 km from the center of Bolonchen, and the site is reached after a walk of about 500 m on this road.
There is an aguada in the site, but it is often waterless. The nine wells of Bolonchen are also unreliable sources of water in the dry season, but the Mexican government has now installed a potable water system in the town.
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATIONS AT THE SITE The first recorded visit to Itzimte was made by John Lloyd Stephens in 1842
(Stephens 1848, pp. 139-141). He spent only a short while at the site as even at that time it had been badly looted by the townspeople of Bolonchen who had carted away many of the facing stones. Consequently his description of the site was sketchy.
In 1887 Teobert Maler visited the site (Maler 1902, pp. 216-217) and, in somewhat more emotional terms than Stephens, decried the looting. In his report he included a photograph of the then still relatively well preserved Structure 58, which has since collapsed.
Neither Stephens nor Maler nor later reports (for example, Ruz Lhuillier 1945, p. 47) mention the existence of inscriptions at the site, although Stephens did run across the "headless trunk of a sculptured body" which has since disappeared.
Following a report of looting of ruins near Bolonchen, a preliminary visit to the site was made in March 1973, when the existence of sculptured stelae was ascertained. The recording of the sculpture and the mapping of the site were carried out later that year in two visits totaling 18 days.
NOTES ON THE RUINS It is most unfortunate that so much stone has been taken from Itzimte. Not only has the removal of carefully cut facing stones detracted from the beauty of the structures, but in several cases it has resulted in their collapse. In many instances the structures have been so savagely bulldozed that their original shape can not be determined. And yet, despite over 140 years of stone removal, there are still impressive vestiges left.
Perhaps the most important group at the site is that formed by Structures 1 to4, surrounding a raised plaza. Structure 1 is the largest in the group, rising to about 13 m above ground level (8.5 above plaza level) and is especially noteworthy because of the size of some of its rooms: one, for example, is 13.2 m long, 2.85 m wide, and 4.25 m high. In the well preserved room under the northern stairway there is a capstone decorated in low relief. Clear evidence of a painted hieroglyphic band can still be distinguished on the plaster covering the only wall of Structure 4 tha't still stands.
The otherlarge group is formed by Structures 16 to 19, Structure 19 being the highest (height: 9 m).
There are many other dispersed structures in the site, several of which are built on hilltops. (Most nearby hilltops in fact have some evidence of construction.) Some are nothing more than flattened platforms containing in many cases one or more chultuns, but in other cases a more complex group of structures has been constructed on the hill: the group formed by Structures 35 to 37 surrounds a plaza 8.5 m above the foot of the hill.
The largest and most impressive structure in Itzimte (Structure 63) was also built to take advantage of the natural terrain. Only the front has been finished with artificial terraces, the back showing little more than the natural contour of the hill. A staircase leads to a platform 4.5 m high, on which there is a row of ten rooms, the central portion forming a part of the platform on which the pyramidal base for the highest structure rests. Structure 63, reaching a maximum height of 22 m, is the highest structure in Itzimte.
All the stelae at the site were found on the low platform designated as Structure 30. "When the stelae were first seen several pieces had been overturned and the fragments were in obvious disarray. It was apparent that looting had occurred and even though a thorough search for the missing fragments was made, many never appeared. It is not only the looters that can be held accountable for the destruction of the sculpture, the burning ofthe fields in preparation for planting has not only obliterated the details of sculpture exposed to the fire, but has damaged even those pieces which fell face down, the high temperature cracking the stone.
In addition to the pieces published here, some small fragments were found and photographed. Little detail is left in them and as it could not be determined from which stela they had broken off, they have not been included here, but can nevertheless be found in the archives of the Peabody Museum.
"When Stephens was at the site, it was already known as Itzimte (he spelled it Ytsimpte). The name has consequently been retained (as Itzimte-Bolonchen), even though there is another site with inscriptions by that name in Guatemala, usually spelled Itsimte, however.
REGISTER OF INSCRIPTIONS AT ITZIMTE Stelae 1 and 3 to 12 (Stela 2 is plain) Lintel 1
1902 "Yukatekische Forschungen," Globus, vol. 82, pp. 216-217.
RUZ LHUILLIER, ALBERTO
1945 "Campeche en la Arqueologia Maya," Acta Anthropologica 1:2-3, p. 47.
STEPHENS, JOHN LLOYD
1848 Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, vol. 2, pp. 139-141. Harperand Bros., New York.