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  • Stela 1
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  • Stela 7
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  • Stela 9
Site name: La-Honradez Site volume and author reference
Location and Access
Principal Investigations
Notes on the Ruins
References Cited

LOCATION AND ACCESS The route we traveled during our visit in 1976 was similar to that taken by Morley in 1915. But whereas for him it was a mule ride of 50 km from El Cayo to the Rio Holmul, we were able to drive from Melchor de Mencos to the Rio Holmul campsite known as Paso Benchua along a seasonally passable lumber road. The distance from Rio Holmul to La Honradez was estimated by Morley as 28 km, i.e., a seven-hour journey, but we found it a nearly nine-hour walk. Much of this walk was along lumber or oil company roads that were not too badly overgrown, and we followed a chicleros' mule trail only for the last part, after leaving the truck road to Chochkitam.

From Rio Holmul the lumber road takes a generally northwesterly direction across hilly terrain for about 5 km before crossing a short stretch of bajo. After this, one travels for an hour toward the northeast to reach the camp of La Fisga; then after about 500 m a dry arroyo is crossed, and the trail again heads in a northwesterly direction. The camp of Piedras Negras lies on the arroyo of that name and is reached some 2 km after the change in direction. Some 5 km farther on, the Arroyo del Leon is reached where it empties into a bajo of the same name. After another 3 km, one leaves the truck road and heads northwest along a mule trail that leads to the La Honradez aguada. In passing along the last 4 km of this trail one notices many mounds, their density increasing as La Honradez is approached.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATIONS AT THE SITE Alfred Tozzer was the first archaeologist to visit La Honradez. In 1910, leading the Eighth Peabody Museum Expedition, he twice went to the site for two or three days, producing in that time the sketch map that, with some additions, has been the only one available until now. He also discovered all but one of the monuments. Morley, as a member of the first Central American Expedition of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, visited the site for five days early in 1915, photographing the monuments and collecting information about them. Blom, on a Tulane University expedition in 1929, discovered Stela 9, as it is called in the present work. Two years later, Eric Thompson visited the site. The data gathered on those expeditions were presented in The Inscriptions of Peten (Morley 1937-38, vol. 1, pp. 431-459).

Since then, only looters have paid any attention to the site. In the years immediately preceding my visit, they removed the upper part of Stela 7 and burrowed deeply into the structures. Fortunately Senor Abelardo Ventura, a guard employed by the Guatemalan Instituto de Antropologia e Historia, had in the course of his tours of inspection come across the site, which was still known to chic1eros as Corozal as it had been in Blom's time, and he led me to it in 1976. We stayed there from May 1 to May 17, during which time I drew and photographed the monuments and prepared the site plan with the help of Todd Greenbaum.

NOTES ON THE RUINS The site plan published by Morley (1937-38, vol. 5, pl. 193a) is based on Tozzer's sketch map. From Blom's sketch map he incorporated Stela 9 (called by him Stela 10) but not the eastern causeway that Blom had discovered. Morley probably confined his attention to the stelae and spent little time during his brief sojourns in examining the structures. However, Tozzer's field notes (Peabody Museum Archives) contain several pages of architectural sketches and measurements.

During the 1976 season the northern and western causeways were found and mapped. All the mounds shown in our plan were mapped afresh, although no claim of completeness is made for it. Still, it seems unlikely that much was missed, or that the site extends much farther in any direction. There was little undergrowth, so that with good visibility a fairly thorough inspection of the surrounding terrain was possible.

The heart of La Honradez is a large plaza, approximately 90 m east-west and 65 m north-south, in which all the stelae found at the site were set. The largest structure, A-21, forms the east side of the plaza, rising to a height of 17.5 m. Stela 9 was found by Blom on its stairway, and on top the walls of a temple can be distinguished among the rubble. North of this structure were found stone fragments that may be Stela 8, although this remains uncertain.

On the opposite side of the plaza stand Structures A-23 (17.5 m high) and A-20 (9 m high); shortly before our arrival looters had tunnelled into the latter from three directions. The opening between these two gives access to Causeway 1, which slopes gently downward for a total fall of 14 m before reaching the small Group D.

The north side of the plaza is defined by an acropolis that incorporates Structure A-W, height 16 m, on its west side and what may well be a double ball court on the east (Structures A-12 to A-14). The court within the acropolis is at a level 4 m higher than the plaza. The northeast corner of the plaza provides the exit toward Causeway 3. This, the longest of the three, forms a processional way to Group C, a collection of structures with heights ranging up to 5 m. Causeway 2 takes off from an assembly area north of the supposed ball courts and heads north, falling approximately 30 m over its course. Beyond its terminus the terrain drops off more steeply.

In his field notes, Tozzer mentions a large aguada north of the ruins, which was dry at the time of his visit. He also describes a quarry northeast of Group A and certainly within the limits of our plan. About 40 m in diameter, it contained an altar about 2 m in diameter and 0.55 m thick that was ready to be conveyed to the ruins and another slightly larger one that was broken and probably abandoned.

It is the area south of the main plaza that holds the most complex and impressive groups at La Honradez. Structures A-26 and A-27, though badly ruined, rise 17.5 m and form the dominant feature of the south side of the plaza. Structure A-29 remains in much better condition. Several chambers of the temple are intact, and there is a mask carved on the north side. The front of the structure, however, has collapsed. Measurements and sketches of the temple can be found in Tozzer's field notebooks.

Structure A-59, 15 m high and one of the largest at La Honradez, stands somewhat apart from the group of structures south of the main plaza; it consists of a complex substructure topped by the low remains of a temple.

The aguada to the south, about 500 m distant, seems to be a fairly reliable source of water throughout the year.



The top of Stela 5 was called Stela 9 by Morley, and his Stela 10 is here redesignated as Stela 9.

Stela 8 is so badly crumbled that any carving it may have had is no longer discernible.


1937-38 The Inscriptions of Peten. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 437, 5 vols. Washington, D.C.


SITE VOL/Part Monument Side Page Pub.year Notes Peobody Number
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Map 91 1984
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Map of Ruins 92 1984
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 1 front 97 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 1 left side 98 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 2 front, left side 101 1984 1 piece 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 3 front 103 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 4 front 106 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 4 left side 107 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 4 right side 108 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 5 front 110 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 5 left side, right side 111,112 1984 1 piece 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 6 front 114 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 6 right side 116 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 7 front 117 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 7 left side 118 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 9 front 119 1984 2004.
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Stela 9 left side 120 1984 2004.


SITE (by Vol) VOL/Part Author(s)
LA HONRADEZ 5.2 Eric von Euw and Ian Graham, Vol 5.2, 1984