Description of the Ruins
Most structures at Polol were not excavated beyond intial clearing and cornering operations during the 1980 field season. Superstructures were found only on Structures 1, 5, and 23 (Figure 3). In the case of Structures 1 (Figure 5) and 23, the lower courses of foundation walls for perishable structures were roughly intact. The basal portions of the exterior walls of the Palace Complex on Structure 5 are approximately 1 meter high, while sections of the interior walls vary from 2 to 3 meters above the interior floor. No lintels, vault stones, or medial or upper moldings were found. [A possible exception may be the two flat, serrated sculpture pieces, or frieze components, that were found below the Palace Complex on the fall of the main stairway (Figure 19). Substructures were built of cut and/or pecked limestone block with rubble fill of loose, large blocks in the later levels, and small, tightly packed stones, dirt, and marl at the lower levels. Substructures were uncovered under Structures 3, 5, and 8. There are three levels of substructures in the stratigraphy under Rooms 3 and 5 (Figures 13 & 15) of Room Complex A on Structure 5. The Plaza I floor has totally disintegrated, except for portions along Structures 1, 3, and 5. Interior floors in Room Complex A are intact. In some cases (Figures 12 & 14), the exterior floors or terraces adjacent to Room Complex A are intact. Looters' pits destroyed the entire core of Structure 3, portions of Structure 1, and portions of Rooms 1, 2, and 5, and unexcavated areas of Room Complex B.
Compared to structure groupings at larger sites such as Tikal or Seibal, those at Polol are small. There appear to be five plaza areas. The largest of these, Plaza I, originally had 15 monuments (Lundell 1934). The sunken enclosure on top of Structure 5 is best designated as a court, since the term "plaza" implies public usage (Andrews 1975:37). The Sunken Court was probably restricted to elite usage as evidenced from the presence of: a painted wall in Room 7 (Figure 17), a wall carving of two glyph blocks in Room 7, a fragmented narrative polychrome vessel under a bench/dais in Room 7 (Figure 18), the benches in Rooms 5 and 7, and Stela 9 set in the west steps of the court (Figure 56).
The other three plazas located on the periphery of the site have no associated monuments. Plaza II (Structures 21-24, 28, 31, and 32) and Plaza III (Structures 6-16, 17-19, 25, 26, and 33) are adjacent to the Causeway at the north end of Plaza I. Assignment of a function to these two areas is tentative, since only one structure in each plaza was excavated. A market function could be assigned to these two plazas if, in conjunction with location and configuration, the presence of Fine Orange sherds, figurines, and a dish incised with a squid motif (August 1981:153) is any indication of trade activity. Plaza IV is located to the west of Structure 1 and includes Structures 46-49, 52, 62, 63, and 69 - 71. Further excavation would be necessary in order to assign a function to this area.
In regard to building orientation, Structures 1-5 (associated with Plaza I) have an orientation of true north, or 7 degrees, 8 minutes west of magnetic north. Most of the structures outside the Plaza I area are more or less aligned with magnetic north,. "From what is presently known, the orientation of houses was not as precise as the larger ceremonial structures and was likely predicated on a different set of factors" (Andrews 1975:53).
Further excavation would be necessary in order to make definitive statements regarding function, structure types and dates for those structures outside Plaza I.
Structure 1 (Figure 5) occupies the entire west side of Plaza I. It measures 66 m x 15 m x 4.16 m high. It is a long, low, narrow platform with small rooms of equal size on its upper surface, as evidenced by a single course of blocks laid out in ten rectangles. Above this was probably a superstructure with a thatch roof as the amount of rubble under the humus was sparce and the thickness of the walls was not sufficient to support either a beam-andmasonry or vaulted roof (Pollock 1965:396; Smith 1982:235). A Postclassic superstructure wall type described by Don Rice (1986:305-306) is similar to the series of low, single course walls on top of Structure 1.
The least common of these (plans) is a square-to-rectangular quadrilaterial wall consisting of one course of shaped and fitted blocks. This might best be described as a foundation brace, because the single stone width of the wall did not provide a footing into which a perishable superstructure could be secured. The wall did not serve to retain soil or masonry fill, as might be expected with a building platform for a superstructure or a bench feature. Rather, it appears to have functioned as a sill and brace to the interior or exterior of a perishable structure.
The northern end of Structure 1 is a lower platform 10 x 10 m with two rooms. A single wide stairway, 21.5 m wide and 3.3 m deep, was uncovered on the east or plaza side of this structure. Stelae 6 and 7 (Figures 54 & 55), were probably wall panels if the rounded back side of Stela 6 is any indication. The extant masonry along the plaza side of Structure 1 is of a veneer type, with 30 cm x 30 cm dressed blocks with rounded backs sitting directly on the plaza floor. Using Uaxactun diagnostic masonry types as a model (Table 2), these blocks date to Early Vault II or Early Late Classic (Smith 1950:70).
As a perishable structure with numerous small rooms of similar size, Structure 1 was probably a residence of some sort. This function assignment is corroborated by the ceramic analysis of "general" (August 1981:151). Although the configuration of the structure is "palacelike" with multiple rooms on a long, low building platform, no artifacts such as polychrome sherds were found associated with this structure, so a "palace" assignment would seem to be out of place. If similar room size is any indication, all residents may have been of similar status (Andrews 1975:59).
Since Structure 1 and 23 have remnants of plaza floor around them it may be that an earlier plaza extended west to Structures 46, 47, 69-71 and south to the cave area. Construction of Structure 1 defined the public plaza into a small area north of Structure 5, and thereby limited access to the cave, a place of religious and ceremonial significance (Pohl & Pohl 1983). This is somewhat analagous to the changes in structure types and functions of Structure A-V at Uaxactun (Smith 1950:11; Pollock 1965:419). The three temple structures at Uaxactun were eventually enclosed by palace structures, the public courtyard became a private courtyard, and public ceremonies became private. This change in structure type and function, or "secularization process," is also documented at Altar de Sacrificios (Smith 1972), Seibal (Smith 1982), and Tikal (Culbert 1974:96-98).
Operations on Structure 1 were limited to surface clearing, cornering, and searching for monument caches. Features found are listed below, under operation number.
Feature 1: 30 x 30 cm dressed blocks along entire east side of Structure 1, sitting on plaza floor.
Feature 2: Plaza floor, exposed in looters' pit 15 m S of NE corner.
Feature 3: Floor 2, pure stucco, 5 cm thick, 31 cm below plaza floor.
Feature 24: SE corner of Structure 1 (Figure 11).
Feature 30: NE corner Stairway, near center of upper platform.
Feature 87: Main stairway, 21.5 m wide, 3.3 m deep on E side of Structure 1, lower risers and large dressed blocks on sides of stairway.
Feature 76: Bottom row of blocks, 50 x 50 cm, underlying Stela 6, in inset corner of stairway.
Feature 94: Passage between Rooms 10 and 11 atop on upper platform, 4.16 m above plaza. Operation 1-6
Feature 102: Bottom row of blocks, 45 x 45 cm, underlying Stela 7, in inset corner of stairway.
The monuments associated with Structure 1 are Stela 2 (Figures 24-30), Altar of Stela 2, and two wall panels, Stelae 6 and 7. (See Table 3 for Lundell's, Morley's, and SFSU's monument designations.)
Structure 2 and Causeway
Structure 2 is a small pyramid measuring 12 x 12 m, Located due north of Structure 1 at the northwest corner of Plaza I. Excavation was limited to Operation 2-1, which exposed the northeast corner of Structure 2, the corners of the west Causeway wall, and the floor between the parapets of the Causeway. The Causeway parapets measure 50-100 cm high, 202 cm wide, and 150 m long. Using Uaxactun's causeways as a chronological model, Polol's causeway is probably of Late Classic construction, since Early Classic causeways had no parapets (Smith 1950:68, 83-84). The function of the Causeway, is obvious as it would have provided access to the ceremonial plaza from the savanna.
The ceramic data from Structure 2 indicate a general residential function, with occupation throughout the Classic period (August 1981:151). Architecturally, however, it is difficult to see Structure 2 as residential, given its small size, associated monuments, place on the ceremonial plaza, and proximity to ceremonial activity.
The associated monuments, Stela 1 (Figures 21 & 22) and Altar of Stela 1, were found 10 m east of the east face. A mano and two fragmentary figurines were found during the cornering and causeway investigations. Specimen P-80-191 is hollow, mold-made, and probably an ocarina fragment. Specimen P-80-190 is solid and mold-made. These figurines are similar to the "Grotesque FatFaces" from Seibal and Altar de Sacrificios and probably date to the Late Classic (Willey 1978:26-30 & Willey 1972:52).
Feature 49: Corners of west causeway wall and floor between west and east causeway walls, 202 cm across top of causeway, 50-100 cm high, 150 m long.
Structure 3 is a small pyramid very close in size and shape to Structure 2, measuring 12 x 12 m at the base. It is approximately 5 m high and is located due east of Structure 2 at the northern end of the plaza. The eastern Causeway parapet extends north from this structure. A looters' pit has removed the core of the structure. Looting operations may have destroyed portions of the substructure centered under the south stairway.
A pair of substructures, or possibly one substructure, made from large limestone blocks was found in the clay subsoil beneath the steps to Structure 3. This substructure predates the plaza floor and Structure 3. Structure 3 postdates the plaza floor. The function of the substructure is unknown.
After the initial cornering and substructure operations, excavation was concentrated in the area of Stelae 4 and 5 and their associated cribs. In the process of exposing the area between the steps of Structure 3 and the crib of Stela 5, the dedicatory cache of Altar 1 was discovered. It consisted of incensario fragments and a clay spindle whorl. Problems concerning the monument setting and/or re-setting of Altar I are dealt with in Chapter 3.
Feature 6: SE inset corner of Structure 3, 210 cm NS x 265 cm EW, S face, of stairway is 5.35 m wide.
Feature 7: Plaza floor, 6-8 cm thick, extends under structure.
Feature 8: Square platform or crib of Stela 5, measuring 2.5 m NS x 3.15 m EW x 10-15 cm high.
Feature 16: Platform or crib for Stela 4, measuring 2.5 m NS x 3 m EW x 10-15cm high, 8.9 m S of S face of Structure 3. Floor of crib and adjacent plaza floor destroyed.
Feature 38: SW inset corner of Structure 3.
Feature 39: Altar 1 dedicatory cache of incensario fragments, clay spindle whorl, 40 cm below plaza and centered 2.5 m S of S face of Structure 3 between Stelae 3 and 5. The diameter of the cache is 10-15 cm.
Feature 45: Substructure I is formed of large limestone blocks set close together in the clay subsoil. It is directly below the center of the south face of Structure 3 and extends approximately 90 cm south of the stairway. It has two components, a square pillar that extends 80 cm below the plaza floor measuring 80 cm NS x 90 cm EW, and a flat configuration of stones measuring 220 NS x 50 EW x 40 cm deep, that extends 150 cm south and 50 cm west of the square pillar. A jade bead was found in the trench, but it may have been associated with Feature 39, the dedicatory cache of Altar 1, which was located nearby.
Monuments associated with Structure 3 are (from east to west), Stelae 4, 5, and 3 and their associated altars. Altar 1 was located in the center of the stairway fall of Structure 3, directly north of Stela 5 (Figure 42).
Structure 4 (Figure 57) consists of two adjacent pyramidal structures measuring 15 x 18 x 3.76 m high and 15 x 20 x 8.3 m high. Platforms extend from the east and west sides of the larger structure. The small platform at the top of the higher pyramid hardly allows room for a residence. No plaza floor was located in the immediate area so dating relative to the plaza is impossible. No looters' pits were encountered. No monuments or artifacts were associated with this structure, with the possible exception of Stela 8. Although its general configuration and proximity to plaza may indicate a temple type structure with a ceremonial function (Andrews 1975:57-58; Tozzer 1941:62), further excavation would be necessary to determine superstructure type, presence of substructures, dates, function and change of function over time.
Feature 31: Conjunction of southwest corner of Structure 4 and west platform. The masonry styles suggest that this platform and Structure 4 were built at the same time.
Feature 9: Conjunction of NW corner and W face of Structure 4 with NE corner and N face of W platform.
Stela 8 may have been associated with Structure 4.
Structure 5 is a large (26 m high x 105 m2) terraced pyramid located at the southern end of the plaza (Figure 10). It was built over an existing hill, as evidenced by the bedrock found on top of the structure in Rooms 1, 3, 5, and the Sunken Court area. A cave in the exposed bedrock that forms part of the west face of the pyramid is located near the northwest corner of the base (Figures 59 and 60).
At the base of the pyramid a low platform that extends from the cave into the vicinity of Structures 40-45. Another platform is located 5 m to the south. The south face has a small platform extending toward Structures 34-38. A small platform extends from the east face into the vicinity of Structure 30.
The entire structure was cleared of undergrowth and small trees in 1980. Initial excavations concentrated on cornering operations on the North Platform and Main Stairway. Subsequent operations were in the Palace Complex and Sunken Court areas.
The cave at Polol is a natural geologic formation 12 m above the forest floor, on the west face of Structure 5 near the northwest corner (Figures 59 and 60). The cave entrance may have been somewhat larger during occupation of the site, since structural fall has practically covered the area outside the cave. The ceiling has fallen, and boulder-sized stones cover the floor except in the area adjacent to the small chamber and steps.
The top of the entrance of the cave was cleared in 1980, and steps were cleared above the entrance on the slope of Structure 5. A small chamber, platform, and steps were uncovered along the north wall of the cave. A cache was found slightly below floor level in the southwest portion of the chamber.
The function of the cave at Polol was more than likely ceremonial, given the significance of caves as gates to the underworld, or Xilbalba, and their importance as foci for religious activities such as autosacrifice, animal and human sacrifice with subsequent caching of skeletal, ceramic and lithic debris, human burial, Chac worship, moon worship, and jaquar worship, to name a few (Pohl & Pohl 1983:28-32, Mac Leod & Puleston 1979:71-77). In reference to the peculiar feature of private temples at Tayasal, J.E.S. Thompson (1981:200) mentioned that "the common people worshipped in cavernas, as they called them, in the woods and in caves, seldom or never going to the large temple."
Although no sign of Preclassic occupation was recovered in the cave at Polol, it may well have been the original focus of activity at the site.
Cross-culturally, settlement location is celebrated in group mythology, raising the possibility that cosmological factors may play a role in the selection of site location. Using ethnographic sources, a model of modern Maya sacred geography is constructed that indicates that caves played an important role in settlement selection and layout. This model was tested for prehistoric settlement patterns at Dos Pilas. A thoroughgoing pattern of locating architecture in relation to caves was found. Data indicate that the pattern may be widespread, and the implications for our understanding of Maya sites are discussed (Brady 1997:602-618).
Only the north wall f the cave was investigated, and excavation of the remainder of the cave floor is warranted as the fallen boulders may be covering occupational debris. In view of the fact that boulders were not found in the area of the chamber and steps along the north wall, it seems likely that the ceiling fall was cleared from this area during the Late Classic. Further excavation might reveal the nature and extent of its use and history.
Although no monuments or monument fragments were found in the cave, it does not seem too farfetched to suggest that the original provenience of Altar 1 may well have been in the cave, given that the cave's function was ceremonial and that small altars have been found in caves in Belice (Mac Leod & Puleston 1979:72). The missing fragment (or fragments) might also be located in that area. However, it could easily have been carved elsewhere and brought to Polol as tribute, or as war booty as the altar is small and relatively easy to move. (The possibilities are endless and unless the lower portion is found, Altar 1's original provenience will never be known. In any case, I doubt if it's original location was at the bottom of the steps of Structure 3 (Figure 42), cache or no cache.)
A group of structures to the west of the cave extending to Structure 51, some housemounds and one possible ceremonial structure, may have been associated with the cave's functions. Further excavations are necessary in order to establish structure chronologies and functions.
The Main Stairway
The Main Stairway consists of steps connecting the Upper, Medial, and North Platforms with Plaza I. It was badly eroded, with little definition. Operation 5-3 exposed the bottom steps and corner of the Western Peripheral Stairway on the North Platform. Operation 5-6 exposed the upper portion of the Main Stairway and five dressed risers and steps, 50 cm in height, that extended from the Medial Platform to the Upper Platform.
The Medial Platform was not measured or excavated but was observed as a terraced area halfway up the Main Stairway.
The North Platform is 77 x 15 m centered along the north face of Structure 5, with a lower platform extending to the east, measuring 30 x 15 m. The North Platform is connected to Plaza I by a wide stairway, with a small pyramidal structure at either end. Based on the presence of Uaxactun Vault IIc masonry, the North Platform and Main Stairway complex were Late Classic additions built on the plaza floor (Table 2).
Feature 4: Conjunction of North Platform and smaller platform to the E.
Feature 5: Ramp along N face of lower platform to the E. 3 m wide x 30 m long x 75 cm high.
Feature 51: 65 cm inset, NW corner of North Platform.
Feature 20: Main Stairway, the basal register of risers lying directly on bedrock and North Platform floor, 90 cm below datum, 343 cm N of datum and 35 m wide
Feature 18: Western peripheral stairway, adjacent to Main Stairway, 80 cm below datum
Feature 19: Structure 5B, basal register of blocks on North Platform and bedrock, 16.5 NS x 7.3 m EW, 76 cm below datum, abuts with NW corner of Main Stairway, measures 16.5 m x 7.3 m NS.
Feature 29: 80 cm below datum, NW corner of Structure 5B.
Operation 5-6 exposed the north step that extends along the north face of Room Complex A and Upper Platform. It also exposed an exterior or "floating" wall composed of small rectangular blocks running parallel to the exterior wall of Room 7, on 63 cm of rubble and Floor 5c (Figure 61). This floor and wall antedate the Palace Complex and may be related to similar structures with floors and walls of similar rough construction at a similar level at the southeast and southwest corners of Room Complex A.
Feature 25: Upper Platform is 3.8 m wide and 35 cm below north step.
Feature 33: Five risers and steps measuring approximately .5 to I m high extending from Medial Platform to Upper Platform.
Feature 55: North step of Room Complex A, 77 cm wide, 35 cm high along north face.
Feature 40: NW corner of Western Peripheral Stairway on North Platform extends 6.9 m from N wall of Structure 5.
Adjacent area to the west had been stuccoed to cover exposed bedrock, 10.9 m west of Main Stairway.
Feature 43: SW Corner of North Platform articulates with NW inset corner of Structure 5. The articulation is not exact and SW corner of North Platform juts out 59 cm past corner of Structure 5, which could indicate that the North Platform is a later construction.
Feature 46: NW Corner of North Platform.
The Palace Complex, Room Complex A
The Palace Complex and Sunken Court are located 26 m above Plaza I, on top of Structure 5 and overlook the surrounding rainforest. The excavation of Room Complex A revealed six rooms on a low building platform (Figures 6 & 11). Rooms 2 and 6 were excavated to the building platform and terraces around its perimeter, while Rooms 1, 3, 5, and 7 were excavated to bedrock. At least three construction phases dating from the Late Preclassic through the Late Classic were uncovered in Rooms I and 3 (Figure 13). Terminal Classic and possibly Postclassic floors and walls were built on the exterior and interior rubble of the Late Classic structure. The East and South platforms were not excavated, with the exception of one small platform that extended into the Sunken Court from the east. Although the West Platform was partially excavated, no indication of a perishable superstructure was found. The west stairway of the Sunken Court was cleared and revealed Stela 9, set securely in the steps and facing the Sunken Court (Figure 56).
Excavations in Court A, Group D, at Seibal (Smith 1982:182-183) revealed a similar configuration of structures around a "sunken" court. (The term "sunken" is somewhat misleading. At Polol, and perhaps Seibal as well, the surrounding platforms and structures were built up over time, while the central courtyard remained at its original level.) Court A at Seibal was situated on the eastern edge of the site and probably had views of the surrounding rainforest and Pasion River some 100 m below. The court was surrounded on three sides by masonry structures, both vaulted (D-28 & 29) and beam-and-masonry (D-27). D27 & 29 were probably elite residential, while D-28 was almost certainly ceremonial. D-26, at the west end of the court, was made of perishable materials and was probably a kitchen and servant's quarters. The court itself was "sunken" in that the building platforms stepped down into the court. Drainage for the court was provided at the southwest corner. As to the function of this assemblage, "it is a reasonable assumption that the people who lived here were among the most important priests or rulers who carried on the functions or religious ceremonies in the temples or public buildings of Group D" (Smith 1982:182-183).
Based on the above excavations at Seibal in Court A, Group D, and excavations and surface observations at Polol, Polol's Palace/Court Complex may have had varied building/roof-types. The presence of an elite room complex (masonry walls with beam-and-masonry roof, dais/benches, wall carving, painted walls, polychrome sherds and narrative polychrome fragments) on the North Platform and a probable perishable structure with everyday cooking and storage vessels along with faunal and lithic finds on the West Platform/Alcove Complex, probably indicates that the North Platform (Room Complex A) and the West Platform had different functions. Further excavation would be necessary on the East, South, and West Platforms in order to assign more precise building types and functions.
Evidence of Postclassic Occupation at Polol
Large scale defensive walls surrounding entire portions of the site similar to those found at Dos Pilas and Aquateca were not found at Polol. The evidence for Postclassic / Post-elite abandonment at Polol is found in and around the Palace Complex on Structure 5. Broken pottery was found on various depths of accumlated structural fall in Room 2, adjacent to Room 1 / Alcove area and in Room 6. Broken pots were also found directly on Floor 1 in Rooms 6 and in the East Doorway of Room 7. Perhaps the most obvious signs of Postclassic occupation at Polol is the defensive wall and remnants of a floating stucco floor on 60 cm of structural fall on the Upper North Platform adjacent to the North Wall of Rooms 6 and 7 (See Operation 5-6 and Figure 61).
Operation 5-4 encompasses all work undertaken in the Room Complex A, Rooms 1-7, and the Alcove Complex/West Platform.
Room 1 measures I m NS x 2 EW VIA and occupies the entire east end of the Room Complex. The exterior walls are approximately 116 cm thick. The exterior door is 200 cm wide, and the interior door to Room 3 measures 81 cm wide with walls or doorjambs 90 cm thick. There was a looters' pit near the northwest corner in 1980. The room was occupied during the Terminal Late Classic and possibly Postclassic, as evidenced by the Tepeu 3 lip and neck of a storage vessel found in association with a 9 cm stucco floor built on rubble at 82 cm above Floor I. Floor 1 is contiguous with the main floor in Rooms 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. Floors 2 and 3 extend beyond the room walls and are probably exterior platforms adjacent to the early substructures under Rooms 3 and 5. Further excavation would be necessary to determine the extent of these early floors.
Feature 10: (Figure 10) Stucco floor, 9 cm thick on 82 cm of rubble, 104 cm above datum. A neck and lip of a storage vessel was associated with this floor.
Feature 11: Floor 1, 15 cm thick, 22 cm above datum, floor on which Room Complex A is built.
Feature 12: Floor 2, 8 cm thick, 24 cm below datum, extends beyond the walls of Room 1, exterior platform floor of early structures under Rooms 3 and 5.
Feature 13: Floor 3, 7 cm thick, marl/compacted occupational debris, 52 cm below datum, extends beyond walls of room.
Feature 23: Floor 4, 23 cm thick, marl/rubble on bedrock, 81 cm below datum, three firepits and a hearth, associated animal bones and carbonized corn with a radiocarbon age of 1825 +- 110 B.P. or A.D. 125 (UGa-3641).
Feature 14: West door, 2 m S of and 30 cm above datum, 208 cm wide, 116 cm thick.
Feature 56: East Door to Room 3, 35 cm above datum, 81 cm wide, 90 cm thick.
Room 2 is situated along the north face of Room Complex A (Figure 12). The interior measurements are approximately 2 m NS x 12 m EW. There are three wide doors opening onto the North Step and Upper Platform. There are three rear doors, one of which opens into Room 5. The other two were not excavated. The stucco on Floor 1 was in good condition. Two fireburnt areas were uncovered, one in association with a large, smashed Tepeu 3 vessel. The interior supporting walls were 222 and 203 cm thick and could easily have supported a beam-and-masonry roof. (No vault stones were found.) The masonry is of Late Vault II type (Table 2) (Smith 1950:vi).
Feature 82: Floor 1 covers entire room, 30 cm above datum (same level as Floor 1 in 3, 5, 6, and 7) and associated with two firepits and artifacts listed below.
Feature 155: Ceramic concentration located in central doorway, 11.2 m east and 30 cm above datum.
Feature 134: A firepit or dark burnt area of stucco, 30 cm above datum, 60 cm in diameter, north of west interior wall.
Feature 135: Firepit, 1 m in diameter, in door between Room 2 and Room 5.
Features 143/154: Firepit with broken vessel, on Floor 2.
Feature 34: West Door of Room 2, 169 cm wide, 114 cm thick, 6 m east of datum.
Feature 71: Central Door of Room 2, 249 cm wide, 114 cm thick, 11.2 m east of datum.
Feature 36: East Door of Room 2, 178 cm wide, 113 cm thick, 15.4 m east of datum.
Feature 92: Rear door of Room 2, passage to Room 5, 183 cm wide, 203 cm thick.
Feature 73: West Interior Wall, 360 cm EW, 203 cm NS, 2 m south of north wall. I.
Feature 91: East Interior Wall, 300 cm EW, 203 cm NS, 2 m south of north wall, 183 cm from east wall.
The interior measurements of Room 3 are 2.5 m NS x 3 m EW. The south door opens onto the Sunken Court and the west door into Room 1. Floor 1 was in good condition and 25 cm thick. Two firepits were found on Floor 1 along with the medial portion of a human humerus found in the south door. Although the configuration of floors and substructures is difficult to interpret, due to the limited area uncovered in the Palace Complex, the stratigraphy (Figures 13, 13a & 13b), 13a and 13b) appears to be similar to that of Room 5 and is discussed in the context of that room.
Feature 116: Floor 1, 25 cm thick and covers entire room to south door and step. Two firepits were found on this floor. On same level as Floor 1 in Rooms 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. Underlain by rubble fill overlying Floor 2.
Feature 35: South Door leads onto south step. The doorway is placed very near the east wall.
Feature 138: Firepit on Floor 1 near northwest corner, 50 cm in diameter.
Feature 104: Firepit composed of burnt stucco and clay with no artifactual associations. Pit is 60 cm in diameter.
Features 106, 107, 108, and 117: Floor 2 is a step 10 cm thick over entire room and beyond. The step drops 30 cm to level of Floor 3. Sub 1 is a line of blocks 17 cm south of the north wall, under and supporting the step (Floor 2). Floor 3 is composed of intact stucco and was probably an exterior platform floor of Sub 1. Floor 3/Sub 1 is probably contiguous with Floor 3/Sub 1 in Room 5.
Features 113 and 114: Sub 2 is a single course of small, roughly square blocks, 10 x 15 x 10 cm, 52 cm below datum, extending 1.3 m west and 70 cm south of northeast corner of Room 3. It lies directly under Floor 3 and is situated on occupational debris/marl on bedrock. Stucco fragments across face of Sub 2 block are remnants of Floor 4. The earliest radiocarbon date from Polol, A.D. 65 +- 140 (UGa-3642), came from a sample taken from inside Sub 2, under Floor 3.
The east door of Room 2. Excavation revealed that "Room 4" is actually the eastern end of Room 2.
Room 5 measures 2 m NS x 4 m EW. The west doorjamb of the south door to Room 5 (Figure 14) was destroyed by a looters' pit that exposed a portion of a bench in the northwest corner. The east doorjamb is composed of an interior and exterior wall distinguished by a masonry break. Room 5 was excavated to bedrock in the southeast corner.
Based on the features uncovered in Rooms 3 and 5, it appears that there were three major construction events in Room Complex A of the Palace Complex (Figures 7 & 15).
Phase 1: Late Preclassic; Sub 3 was built on Floor 5, a stucco remnant on occupational debris/marl and attached to Sub 3. Sub 3 was probably a building platform for a perishable structure.
Phase 2: Late Preclassic; Sub 2/Floor 3 was built on Floor 4, a stucco remnant on occupational debris/marl and attached to Sub 2. A carbon sample dating to A.D. 65 +- 140 (UGa-3642) was taken from inside Sub 2, Floor 3 in Room 3, which is contiguous with Sub 2, Floor 3 in Room 5.
Phase 1: Period unknown; Floor 3 was extended south over small, tightly packed rubble. A single course of thin cut blocks (B) was found embedded in Floor 3, parallel to Sub 2. This may have been the lowest course of a wall supporting a perishable structure.
Phase 2: Sub 1 built on Floor 3. Floor 2 laid over Sub 1 and previous substructures and floors. Floor 2 steps down to Floor 3. Block A, laid in Floor 2, is probably a remnant of a superstructure wall.
Phase 1: Late Classic; after numerous repavings of Floor 2, Floor 1 built over large, loosely packed rubble. This floor serves as the building platform for Late Classic Room Complex A, Rooms 1-3 and 5-7.
During this last phase, the Room Complex was extended east and west to include Rooms 1-6. Further excavation would be necessary to determine the extent of substructures and floors under Rooms 1, 3, 5, and 7 and the construction sequence from substructure dating to A.D. 65 +140 through Late Classic superstructure to Terminal Classic and Postclassic occupations living on rubble of Late Classic structures.
Feature 67: A bench covers the entire northwest corner of Room 5 with stucco laid directly over rubble with no siding blocks. The bench measures 2.3 m EW by 1.8 m NS.
Feature 68: South interior wall distinguished from exterior wall.
Feature 70: Floor 1, 30 cm above datum, 10 cm thick.
Feature 129: Floor 2, 6 cm above datum, 9 cm thick and laid on top of Sub 1, steps down (Feature 133) 40 cm to lower level of Floor 2 on Floor 3. It extends 100-120 cm south from north wall. A single course of thin blocks running EW, embedded at the base of the step in conjunction of Floor and Floor 3.
Feature 130: Sub 1, 30 cm below datum, 27 cm high and 20 cm thick, beneath small amount of rubble under Floor 2, sits directly on upper level of Floor 3.
Feature 149: Sub 2, 65 cm below datum, double register of blocks composed of deeply tailed blocks, 30 cm wide x 20 cm high, lower course sits directly on Floor 4.
Feature 131: Floor 3, 30 cm below datum, 6 cm thick, on Sub 2 and Sub 3.
Feature 132: Floor 4, 60 cm below datum, 5 cm of crushed stucco on occupational debris/marl, lips up onto Sub 2.
Feature 150: Sub 3, 65 cm below datum, 40 cm wide and 50 cm high, associated with Floor 5.
Feature 148: Floor 5, 65 cm below datum, beneath and associated with Sub 3, slightly below the level of Sub2/Floor 4.
Room 6 measures approximately 7 m NS x 2 m EW and is located east of Rooms 2 and 5. This room was cleared of rubble but was not excavated below Floor 1.
Feature 85: An exterior wall at level of Datum 5-4, along south face of Room Complex A. The wall is 39 cm wide and at least 4 m long and extended south into the Sunken Court. The wall is made of robbed masonry.
Feature 99: Exterior wall built on rubble over Classic platform at level of Datum 5-4, 92 cm thick, extends toward the east.
Feature 119: East Step of Room 6, 0 cm datum, 80 cm wide and 30 cm below door of Room 6.
Feature 125: Ceramic concentration on East Step of Room 6, 0 cm datum, 50-70 cm in diameter, numerous sherds of whole vessel, carbon deposit 20-30 cm in diameter.
Feature 122: Walls of unknown thickness, 3.3 m N of SW corner of Room 6, 30 cm above datum, 173 cm wide.
The easternmost room of Room Complex A, and possibly the north room of Room Complex B, Room 7's function was elite residential, as indicated by presence of dais/benches, painted mural fragments (Figure 17a, b & c), a heavily eroded wall carving of possibly two or more glyphs with traces of Maya blue pigment (Figure 17a, b & c), and a narrative polychrome vase (Figure 18). The upper portions of the walls of this room were probably painted with murals, as indicated by layers of painted polychrome stucco that had fallen on benches and floor. One bench was constructed on fallen painted stucco, and was probably constructed after the wall murals had fallen into disrepair. A drainage channel was found under Floor 3.
Feature 124: Fragments of red painted stucco, 80 cm above datum, appear in an area between 2 and 12 cm above the top of the bench. The heaviest concentration is on south and west portions of bench. The stucco is very thin and most fragments are about 2 cm in diameter. There were ten layers of red stucco on the west wall above a small bench, (60 cm NS x 60 cm EW x 40 cm high). Some painted stucco had fallen onto back of the bench and was subsequently stuccoed over. Also "there are pieces of red-painted stucco embedded in the stucco between the bench and the west wall, indicating that the bench was built after the stucco had fallen off" (G. Brown, pers. comm.). The largest pieces of polychrome stucco on the west wall are 3 cm in diameter. Also, layered polychrome stucco was found on a bench that measured 198 cm NS x 145 cm EW x 57 cm high, in the north portion of this room. This bench was composed of stucco layered on top of rubble fill, with slab masonry sides. Fragments of a narrative polychrome vase were found in the interior rubble fill of this bench (Figure 18). These fragments were reassembled in 1980. Although it is difficult to interpret from these small fragments of the vase, it appears to be a palace scene with at least two impersonators facing what was more than likely the lord or "ajaw" on a throne or dais. The hand gesturing in the upper right (seen more clearly in the drawing) may have belonged to that personage. The legs of figure on the left appear to be on a higher step. Unfortunately, no glyphs remain that could have identified the actiivity, the location and/or the ruler depicted on the vase.
Feature 140: Floor 1, 30 above cm datum, 9 cm thick, appears to cover entire room. Numerous ceramics found on the floor, including two large storage vessels.
Feature 141: Floor 2, 2 cm below datum, 12 cm thick, under 23 cm of rubble below Floor 1. Numerous sherds were found, including polychromes. They appear to cover the entire floor.
Feature 142: Floor 3, 9 cm below datum, 27 cm thick, packed earth floor and drainage channel buried under 55 cm of rubble under Floor 2.
Feature 146: Drainage channel for Sunken Court, 136 to 170 cm below datum, 22 cm wide, consists of flat blocks lined with clay and topped with flat block, sealed with stucco. The channel runs 10 degrees east of north and sits on rubble and bedrock (Figure 16).
Alcove Complex/West Platform
The Alcove Complex is at the SW corner of Room Complex A (Figure 6 & 6a). The Alcove is a Terminal Classic or Early Postclassic construction found directly under humus, on the Late Classic palace rubble. The function of this room was probably that of a kitchen, based on the faunal and artifactual remains. Under the floor of this Terminal Classic kitchen was a series of platform corners and steps of undetermined size that more than likely extends to the west and south. Further excavation would be necessary in order to assign types and functions to these substructures.
Feature 21: Floor 1, 87 cm above datum, 5 cm thick, 2.1 m EW x 2.7 m NS. Ceramics, obsidian bladelets, chert debris, small bones, large broken vessel were found on this floor.
Feature 15: Rectangular structure with three compartments formed by two interior east-west dividing walls and one north-south dividing wall. Two steps lead to a north doorway (80 cm wide) from Room 1. Exterior walls are made of roughly cut blocks 25 cm thick. Interior walls approximately 12 cm thick.
Feature 63: Substructure 1, on Floor 2, 30 cm above datum, a wall of well-dressed blocks, running north and south and extending beyond the limits of the pit.
Features 109, 110, 111, 147: West Platform of complex may extend along entire west side of Sunken Court. It is 25 cm high and 45 cm above 5-4, on same level as Floor 1 of Room Complex A. The platform floor, 65 cm above datum, is laid on top of the west platform wall and is approximately 10 cm thick, with a large area of burnt stucco. An exterior floor, 45 cm above datum, is located 120 cm west of Alcove Sub 1. The platform floor and exterior floor are not contiguous with any floors in Alcove pit.
Feature 62: Floor 2 (+30 cm datum 5-4). The eastern edge is placed on the medial molding of the west wall of Room 1 and possibly extends beyond the walls of the excavation pit.
The Sunken Court measures approximately 30 x 30 m, and is built over bedrock, with marl, rubble, and stucco as filler to level the court. The bedrock approximates the level of bedrock under Rooms 3 and 5, and the court floor approximates the level of Floor 2 in Rooms 3 and 5. Further excavation would be necessary to determine the nature of the platforms and/or buildings on the south and west sides of the court.
The risers in the stairway in the vicinity of Stela 9 (Figure 56) in the West Platform, are of the veneer type with rounded backs, or Vault IIc, Early Late Classic (Table 2) (Smith 1950). The presence of a 23 cm floor at the deepest levels of Room 1 (81 cm below datum) and Room 7 (120 cm below datum) indicates that the original plaza or court probably surrounded the Preclassic structures under Rooms 3 and 5.
Feature 118: The floor of the Sunken Court, 33-38 cm below datum 5-12, or roughly approximating the level of Floor 3, Rooms 3 and 5, Room Complex A. The stucco is intact under the fallen lower riser of the west stairway. The court floor is 5-10 cm thick and has a foundation of rubble, marl, and stucco.
Feature 72: A substela cache, consisting of 55 pottery fragments representing a single pot, 22 obsidian blade fragments, 18 chert flakes, and 1 eccentric chert blade.
Broken fragments of a large pot were found on platform in northeast corner of Sunken Court, slightly outside NW platform of Sunken Court.
Platform in front of SE inner room. Two steps lead from cave floor to the chamber platform. The steps are roughly cut and lead from the broken bedrock and rubble that compose the remainder of the cave. The platform is made of thinly cut limestone blocks and is part of a constructed entrance to the room, along with a cut and smoothed doorway. No trace of stucco floor remains in room. The entrance is 101 cm wide x 2m high. The top step starts at 93 cm above bedrock and the top 30 cm of this step are obviously cut and dressed.
Feature 139: Cache found in inner room, slightly below floor level in southwest corner. The cache includes six fine white crystalline pressure-flaked projectile points, several pieces of unidentified bone,' and numerous ceramics. The dimensions of the inner room are 1 m NS and 1.3 m EW.
The cache was 40 cm in diameter and located directly above bedrock.
Miscellaneous Operations on Structure 5
Feature 101: Two thin ornamental sculptures with serrated edges were found close together on the surface of the north slope of Structure 5 (Figure 19). Measuring 50 cm long x 30 wide x 8 cm thick, these thin slabs may be details from a cornice molding, similar to those found in the Puuc area (Pollock 1980: Figures 82, 157, 297), or they may have been roof parapet components, similar to those found at Uaxactun (Smith 1950:81, Figure 5b). Although this is not enough evidence to assign a "style" to the architecture of Polol, it is an interesting find in the Central Peten.
Feature 115: During excavation for Stela 11 cache (Figures 57, 58 & 59), a rectangular substructure (Feature 115) made of large blocks was found directly beneath the plaza floor. It was located 1 m beneath the plaza floor, Stela 11 and the stairs of the North Platform and measured 3 m EW x 1 m NS.