Chunchucmil was once a large, sprawling pre-Columbian Maya city located in the western part of what is now the state of Yucatán, Mexico.
The archaeological site went relatively unnoticed by Maya scholars for more than a century because virtually no monuments (stelae) or other grand sculptures have been found there. The lack of royal monuments, combined with other archaeological data may indicate that Chunchucmil was not a city ruled by a single divine king, as most other Maya polities. Instead, it may have been a commercial center, organized by various lineages and focused upon funneling goods between regions—such as the trade between the Gulf of Mexico and the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula.
The site center is located ca. 27 km (16.8 mi) inland from the Gulf of Mexico and approximately half-way between the coast and the next largest archaeological site of Oxkintok. It was named in the late 1970s after the nearest modern settlement (the Hacienda and village of Chunchucmil), however the archaeological site is so large that it extends onto the ejido lands of at least five modern communities: Chunchucmil, Kochol, San Mateo, Coahuila and Halachó. The majority of the ancient Maya site is located within the municipality of Maxcanú, however a portion of it is situated on land pertaining to the municipality of Halachó.
The exact size of Chunchucmil is currently being studied using aerial photography, satellite imagery, and survey transects by the Pakbeh Regional Economy Project (who have been working at Chunchucmil since the mid 1990s, under the direction of Dr. Bruce H. Dahlin). Estimates range from 25 km² for the more compact urban settlement to around 64 km² for the city and its adjoining suburbs and farmsteads. In either case, this places the site of Chunchucmil among some of the largest and most densely settled ancient Maya polities.