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Comalcalco

Comalcalco is both a modern-day city located in Comalcalco Municipality about 45 miles (60 km) northwest of Villahermosa in the Mexican state of Tabasco and a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site. The literal English translation of "Comalcalco" is "In the house of the comals". A comal is a pan used to prepare food.DemographyThe present-day city of Comalcalco reported a 2005 census population of 39,865 inhabitants, while the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat had a population of 173,773. The city is the third-largest community in the state of Tabasco, behind Villahermosa and Cárdenas. The municipality, which has an area of 723.19 km² (279.225 sq mi), includes many smaller outlying communities, the largest of which are Tecolutilla, Chichicapa, Aldama, and Miguel Hidalgo.Archaeological siteThe site of Comalcalco, whose coordinates are 18°16′N 93°10′W, is notable for two characteristics. First, it is the westernmost known Maya settlement. Second, and due to a dearth of locally available limestone (the primary material used in architectural construction), the city's buildings were made from fired-clay bricks held together with mortar made from oyster shells. The use of bricks at Comalcalco was unique among Maya sites, and many of them are decorated with iconography and/or glyphs. Important architectural features include the northern plaza and two pyramids, the Gran Acropolis and the Acropolis Este.
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