The archaeological site known as Kiuic is found in the very heart of the Kiuic Biocultural Reserve in the Puuc region, some 100 km south of Mérida. The reserve incorporates the ruins of Kiuic as well as evidence of a community that developed there after the Spanish Conquest.
The Classic period archaeological site
The site, dating from 600 BC to 1000 AD, and whose architecture has been well preserved, extends several kilometers from the site nucleus.
The San Sebastián site (also known as Rancho Kiuic)
The village of San Sebastián–also called Rancho Kiuic–founded in the mid-eighteenth century and governed by Maya chieftans, survived on the margins of modernity until the 1950s. Travelers John Lloyd Stephens and Federick Catherwood stayed here, in the still extant Casa Real, as they explored and sketched the ruins of Kiuic in 1840, revealing several fascinating aspects of ancient Maya civilization to the larger Western world.
The reserve is currently the site of the following ongoing research projects:
- The Labná-Kiuic Project
Excavation of the so-called Grupo Yaxché structures is currently being conducted in the Kiuic archaeological zone, along with the identification, clearing and excavation of the area surrounding Kiuic’s center.
- · The “Save the Casa de los Diamantes” Project
Kiuic features numerous standing structures in architectural styles that are rarely seen in the Puuc region, including various significant structures, unique to the area, that require excavation and restoration. Among them is the magnificent “Casa de los Diamantes,” first illustrated by Stephens and Catherwood for Incidents of Travel in the Yucatán.
- The San Sebastián Project
This archaeological, ethno-historical and ethnographic undertaking studies adaptation on the part of the Maya following the arrival of the Spanish at the San Sebastián archaeological site.