Zaculeu or Saqulew is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site in the highlands of western Guatemala, about 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) outside of the modern city of Huehuetenango.
Occupation at the site dates back as far as the Early Classic period (AD 250–600) of Mesoamerican history. Zaculeu was the capital of the Postclassic Mam kingdom, and was conquered by the K'iche' Kingdom of Q'umarkaj, displaying a mixture of Mam and K'iche' style architecture.
The archaeological site is located in the village of San Lorenzo on the outskirts of Huehuetenango city, in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. Zaculeu is the main tourist attraction in the Huehuetenango area. Zaculeu sits at an altitude of 1,900 metres (6,200 ft) above mean sea level, and is overlooked by the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountain range.
Zaculeu is located in an area of fertile soils close to the Selegua and Viña Rivers. The site is situated on a plateau overlooking the Selegua River, which flows to the west of the city. Deep ravines border the site to the south and east, leaving the only access to the site via a narrow land bridge to the north which unites the plateau to the general level of the valley floor.
The Zaculeu plateau measures 11,178 square varas (4191 square metres).
The site of Zaculeu was probably chosen for its proximity to the Seleguá River, providing a permanent water supply, together with its easily defendable hilltop location. Zaculeu has 43 structures and the majority of construction activity took place in one burst in the Early Classic, with only minor alterations thereafter. The smaller platforms situated in the plazas were late additions and show the influence of central Mexico. The entrance to the site was via a narrow land bridge to the north, which was protected by a fortified structure that occupied three quarters of the width of the land bridge.
The ceremonial centre of the city consisted of 43 structures clustered in an area of 1,400 square metres (15,000 sq ft).
The architecture at the site includes talud-tablero style buildings with double stairways. The facades of some of the buildings have cylindrical columns, a feature found in other parts of Mesoamerica. Artefacts recovered from the site include items fashioned from turquoise and metal artefacts crafted from gold, silver and copper and their alloys demonstrating the city's participation in the wider trade networks of the Postclassic Period. These metal artefacts were either influenced by or imported from Mexico and southern Central America.