The original name of the settlement is unknown. Dzibanché is the name that Thomas Gann (an English military doctor and amateur archaeologist) assigned to the site during his visit in 1927. It is a Mayan word that means “writing on wood” and refers to the carved wooden lintels located in the openings of the Temple of Building VI, which were removed to guarantee their conservation.
The settlement occupies an area of more than 40 km2 and is made up of four groups of monumental architecture: Dzibanché or Main Group, Central Complex or Lamay Group, Tutil and Kinichná, groups that had specific functions, interconnected by sacbés or Mayan white roads. In the architecture of the site, it is possible to observe the Peten style, a style that was replaced in the middle of the Classic (approx. 600 AD), by temples with facades decorated with paired pilasters, very high double-development vaults with tensioners at the ends of their narrow galleries and basements with bodies decorated with talus – board, characteristics belonging to a
local style, associated with the Kaan dynasty, which was established on the site during the Early Classic.
Hieroglyphic texts engraved on the monuments of the staircase of the Temple of the Captives and findings of sumptuous offerings in burial chambers, denote that Dzibanché was involved in the conquest of several towns, war conquests carried out by various rulers of the Kaan family, during more than two centuries. The Dzibanché occupation sequence has its beginnings in the late Preclassic (300 BC), and the settlement reached its population climax in the Classic (400-700), whose population lasted until the late Postclassic (1500 AD). In the Main Group, the main buildings are Temples I (or Temple of the Owl) and Temple II (or Temple of the Cormorants), located in Plaza Xibalbá; and the Buildings of the Captives and the Toucans, located in Gann Square.