Motul de San Jose is famous for its beautiful pottery vases painted in multiple colors with scenes of court rituals and hieroglyphic texts (called the Ik’ Polychrome Style). Motul de San Jose is located in the tropical lowlands of Peten in northern Guatemala, approximately 3 km north of Lake Peten Itza, and 32 km southwest of Tikal.
The site and its environs have been explored since 1998 by the Motul de San Jose Archaeological Project co-directed by Dr. Antonia Foias, Professor of Anthropology at Williams College, and Dr. Kitty Emery, Curator of Environmental Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida-Gainesville. Funded by Williams College, NSF, FAMSI, Florida Museum of Natural History, SUNY-Pottsdam, Tulane University and many other agencies, the project has conducted surveys, mapping, excavations and laboratory analyses at Motul and several smaller centers in its periphery, such as La Trinidad de Nosotros, Chakokot, and Buenavista-Nuevo San Jose. These investigations have explored the dynamics of political power in this small polity during the heyday of Classic Maya civilization in the Late Classic centuries (A.D. 650-850).
The results of these investigations have been published in several journals such as Mayab, Ancient Mesoamerica, Geoarchaeology, and Journal of Ethnobiology. A monograph Motul de San Jose: Politics, History, and Economy in a Classic Maya Polity (2012; edited by Antonia E. Foias and Kitty F. Emery; Gainesville, University Press of Florida) details the results of the multiple lines of investigation from ecology to ceramic analysis. We hope that this webpage supplements these articles and monograph by allowing access to the basic data of the project, including site maps, excavation drawings and photographs, artifact analysis by operation, and artifact appendices that supplement the published works.