Dzibilnocac means "Painted Vault" in Maya. Stephens & Catherwood visited the town of Iturbide, where the ruins of Dzibilnocac are located, during their 1841 expedition. Iturbide was at the frontier of the inhabited part of the Yucatan at that time. Stephens writes:
"The reader may not consider the country through which we have been travelling as over-burdened with population, but in certain parts, particularly in the district of Nohcacab [now called Santa Elena, near Uxmal], the people did so consider it. Crowded and oppressed by the large landed proprietors, many of the enterprising yeomanry of this district determined to seek a new home in the wilderness. Bidding farewell to friends and relatives, after a journey of two days and a half they reached the fertile plains of Zbilnocac, from time immemorial an Indian rancho. Here the soil belonged to the government; every man could take up what land he pleased, full scope was offered to enterprise, and the opportunity for development not afforded by the over-peopled region of Nohcacab.
Long before reaching it we had heard of this new pueblo and its rapid increase. In five years, from twenty-five inhabitants it had grown into a population of fifteen or sixteen hundres; and, familiar as we were with new countries and the magical springing up of cities in the wilderness, we looked forward to it as a new object of curiosity and interest."
(Stephens vol.2: 117)