Last week I taught a course in Cantel. In a school at the foot of the pre-Hispanic hill-site Kiaq.
Participants were teachers and members of the local Colegio Maya, and of Escuela Ki’kotemal from Quetzaltenango.
We have relatively ample information on the time when the K’iche’ Confederation conquered the area - some hundred years before the Spanish invasion - yet little about the prior 2000 years when Mam Maya dominated the region. Still we were able to reconstruct a glimpse of this era. Given the historic complementary model of the Pacific Coast and the adjacent Highland, we may assume that these people were closely connected with Tak’alik Abaj, whose inhabitants were almost certainly Mam as well. The rich Mam city Kooja, mentioned in the documents but now beneath modern Quetzaltenango, seems to have been the Postclassic continuation of this Preclassic and Classic center on the piedmont. And we do know some of their principal lineages. Yet there are also strong indications for another historic link. With the legendary center called Fourhundred Ceibas Fourhundred Pyramids on the lower Nahualate river. The birthplace of many Postclassic ruling lineages, including the Ajaw K’iche’, founders of K’iche’ Confederation.
We learned a lot!