Also part of the Mirador Basin Project , the smaller sites of Nakbé, El Tintal, and Wakná are important links in the chain unveiling the mysteries of early Mayan civilization.
Nakbé is thought to be the earliest of Petén’s Mayan cities with settlement as early as 1,000 B.C. and several thousand inhabitants by 400 B.C. Its layout is much like that of El Mirador , with triadic temple structures in two groups separated by a causeway. Its tallest structure, the Western Temple, reaches a height of just under 46 meters (150 feet), making it about as tall as Tikal’s Temple I. It was completed in 500 B.C. A large stucco mask has also been unearthed here, on the side of one of the temples, much like at El Mirador. Excavations here, under the direction of Richard Hansen, are still in their early stages but more finds are sure to follow.
Getting to El Mirador  is no easy task and on the trek, 21 kilometers south, you’ll pass by the site of El Tintal, which is also similar in construction to the larger city to the north. It has been badly looted and the temples here remain unrestored. There are excellent views of the surrounding forest from the top of its highest temple, including a glimpse of El Mirador far off in the distance. It’s sure to motivate you to continue the second leg of the journey. Trekkers usually camp here the first night en route to El Mirador.
Rediscovered by Landsat imagery as recently as 1998, Wakná, is another Preclassic site buried under the forest cover of the Mirador Basin. A ground crew led by Dr. Hansen confirmed the site’s existence but unfortunately also found evidence of looting. A deep trench had been dug into a tomb allowing looters to cart off the priceless artifacts found therein. Richard Hansen’s plans to restore and protect the Mirador Basin’s sites may prevent further plunder of Wakná and other sites within the proposed park.