El Rastrojón Archeological Site
The archaeological site Rastrojón is located two kilometers to the northwest of the Copan Ruinas Archaeological Park. Estimations reveal its foundation about 1,300 years ago by citizens of the Mayan nobility and military.
The name of this archaeological site is the same as the inhabitants of the area “Rastrojón” have known it for the last 50 years. According to researchers, the name in Mayan language means “Cerro del Jaguar, or Cerro del Jaguar Precioso” (Jaguar Mountain or Precious Jaguar Mountain).
Rastrojón was discovered almost by chance in 1979 by a group of researchers who were developing geographic mapping within the area belonging to the Mayan civilization of Copan.
In Rastrojón, the ancient Mayas built two impressive architectural groups of residences. One of them has been under continuous investigation since its discovery. It has buildings with rooms built with stone blocks. Part of the decorations was stuccoed benches with finely carved exteriors as if the inhabitants of the site had belonged to members of the Copan nobility.
Research reveals that the Mayan complex presents architectural collapses never before seen throughout the Copan valley. This is because El Rastrojón was built on the slopes of the hill with unstable terrain and geological faults. Researchers believe that the Maya knew of the danger present to their buildings, however, the religious significance of the place, its altitude, and the water springs that it possessed perhaps motivated them to build there regardless.
Although most architectural monuments of the Rastrojón are destroyed, the site is unique and important because of its excellent location and the vast array of archaeological material to be found. Buildings, sculptures, mosaics, spears, arrowheads and an impressive temple are believed to have been built in honor of the twelfth Mayan ruler “Smoke Jaguar”, the main propeller of the development of the Mayan state.
The location of the site in a strategic place in the Copan valley, together with archaeological material (spearheads and arrows) and sculptural themes, suggests that Rastrojón was a place designed for the defense of the city during the time of the greatest political conflicts for the kingdom of Copan and to honor the memory of one of the most important rulers in the dynastic history of the city.
Hours: Daily from 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Foreign and Central American Visitors: $3.00
Honduran Visitors: Lps. 20.00