Edzna is a Mayan archaeological site in the north of Campeche on the Yucatan peninsula (Gulf coast).
The most remarkable building at the plaza is the main temple. Built on a platform 40 m high, it provides a wide overview of the surroundings. Another significant building located in the plaza is a ball court. Two parallel structures make up the ball court. The top rooms of the ball court were possibly used to store images of the gods associated with the events, along with items needed for the games.
Edzná was already inhabited in 400 BC, and it was abandoned circa 1500 AD. During the time of occupation, a government was set up whose power was legitimized by the relationship between governors and the deities. In the Late Classic period Edzná was part of the Calakmul polity. Edzná may have been inhabited as early as 600 BC but it took until 200 AD before it developed into a major city. The word Edzná comes from “House of the Itzás” which may suggest that the city was influenced by the family Itzá long before they founded Chichen Itzá. The architectural style of this site shows signs of the Puuc style, even though it is far from the Puuc Hills sites. The decline and eventual abandonment of Edzná still remains a mystery today.
The archaeological site of Edzna has been known to local people since time immemorial. Even though the state government was aware of the existence of the ruins in 1906, it was not until 1927, when Nazario Quintana Bello, Inspector of Monuments, gave them the name of Edzná.
A year later, Federico Mariscal presented the first drawings and plans and Enrique Juan Palacios and Morley deciphered several stelae.
The most important restoration in Edzná was convened under the patronage of the INAH, between 1970 and 1976, by Ramón Piña Chan. The last works (1994-1997), were led by Antonio Benavides, with Guatemalan laborers and masons from the Quetzal-Edzná refugee camp, under the patronage of the European Union.
The surprising system of dams and canals were built to store and distribute water. Located at the bottom of a valley, Edzná used to flood in the rainy season. As a solution to the problem, they built a complex network of canals used to transport goods and people and to defend them from outside attack.
The name Edzná, “House of the Itzá”, comes from the Itzá, a lineage of Chontal origin. The Itzá were a Mayan patronymic that extended to various groups of native Putun and Chontal Indians in south-eastern Campeche. Other translations have also been suggested: “House of the Eco” or “House of the Gestures”, in reference to the stucco mask thought to exist in the crest of the tallest building in the area.
Founded around 400 B.C., its peak was reached during the late Classic period. A gradual decline began in the year 1000, leading to its eventual abandonment in 1450.
In its golden age, it appears that it was home to 25,000 inhabitants, distributed in an approximate area of 26 square kilometers. The city had numerous religious, administrative, and residential buildings, which were built in the three architectural Mayan styles of the area: Puuc, Petén, and Chenes.