Tulum was a Mayan trade center located on the Caribbean coast. It was still occupied when the Spaniards arrived in 1518, but It fell from prominence after the Spaniards forbid the Maya to sail.
The city was surrounded by a wall. Religious and civic leaders lived within the wall; ordinary people lived outside. The city had multiple temples, each with a stela stone inscribed with glyphs in front. The most famous temple is called El Castello (the castle), on a cliff overlooking the beautiful coast and beach.
The buildings here are contructed of limestone, a sedimentary rock which is less durable than the granite used at Machu Picchu. Instead of the tight, dry-stack joints of the Inka structures, the stones here were joined using a mortar made from ash, crushed limestone and tree resin. In addition the climate is much more rainy, so the stuctures have weathered greatly. Many sites we visited have had some restoration work done. But resoration is very expensive, so much work remains to be done.
Flashback to our Oceanography unit: Limestone forms from sediment that was once on ocean floors and contains many fossils. Do you recognize the fossil below?
As with the Quechua, who still live and thrive in Peru, we found that the Maya people still live throughout the Yucatan and Central America. Both societies preserve their heritage and language.