Kaminaljuyu is a Pre-Columbian site of the Maya civilization that was primarily occupied from 1500 BC to AD1200. When first mapped scientifically, it comprised some 200 platforms and pyramidal mounds, debate continues about the size, scale, and degree by which, as an economic and political entity, it integrated both the immediate Valley of Guatemala and the Southern Maya area. The known parts of Kaminaljuyu lie on a broad plain beneath roughly the third of modern Guatemala City. The Valley of Guatemala is surrounded by hills which culminate in a string of lofty volcanoes to the south, at an altitude of about 2000 m above sea level, the climate is temperate. The Kaminaljuyu site was largely swallowed up by real estate developments in the late 20th century, because of these factors, the true size and scale of Kaminaljuyu is likely to be never known. The state of destruction and the almost daily erasure of archaeological context underscore the many mysteries, in addition to size and scale, that likely will remain unanswered about Kaminaljuyu. Principally these questions are posed about the role of the city as the greatest of the Southern Maya area in Preclassic times, particularly during the Miraflores period, c. 400–100 BC, the SMA is long believed from much and diverse evidence to have been seminal in the development of Maya civilization, over the past 100 years, more than fifty archaeological projects, large and small, have been mounted at Kaminaljuyu. In addition to excavations, scholars such as Alfred Maudslay and Samuel K. Lothrop have recorded sculpture, in 1925 Manuel Gamio undertook limited excavations, finding deep cultural deposits yielding potsherds and clay figurines from what later was called the Middle Cultures of Mesoamerica. J. Antonio Villacorta C. the Minister of Public Education in Guatemala City, requested archaeologists Alfred Kidder, Jesse Jennings, Villacorta gave the site its name from a Kiche word meaning mounds of the ancestors. Two extraordinarily rich royal tombs were found within the edifices, probably representing consecutive rulers during the Miraflores Preclassic apogee of Kaminaljuyu, in the early 1950s Heinrich Berlin excavated a large mound in the ancient Preclassic core of the city. In the 1960s Pennsylvania State University undertook extensive excavations at Kaminaljuyu, under the direction of William Sanders, more recently, the debate was rejoined with discoveries along the southern Pacific coast of Mexico and in Guatemala that greatly antedate developments in the Lowlands. This reflected their conclusion about the antiquity of developments at Kaminaljuyu. Cultures of this phase had an agricultural community organized probably as a simple chiefdom. With Inomata, et als revision in mind, the first significant settlement dates to the Arévalo phase, 900-800 BC, with indications of dense populations no later than c.400 BC. By the end of the Las Charcas culture, Kaminaljuyu was developing religious, the architecture of Middle Preclassic structures consisted of hardened adobe bricks that served, later, as foundations for raised platforms and pyramidal temples. Excavations indicate that early in the Middle Preclassic the community was large enough to produce heavy refuse deposits. Cotton was grown as well as maize, palaeobotanical research also has identified annonas, avocados, cacao, black beans, palm nuts, plums, arboriculture developed - with groves of crop trees grown in terraces down to the edges of great ravines
An excavated portion of the Acropolis
Kaminaljuyu Monument 65, 290 by 200 by 33 cm
Late Preclassic sculpted head, found in Kaminaljuyú. Currently on the Museo Nacional de Arqueología (National Archaeological Museum, Guatemala).