Xpujil means Place of the Cattails in Maya. It was named by members of the fourth Carnegie Expedition to Campeche, who "discovered" the site in 1938.
As Tatiana Proskouriakoff remarks in her Album of Maya Architecture, "it is to the gum-chewing habit of our sedentary city-dwellers that we owe what little knowledge we have of the mysteries hidden in this deserted land".
This is because Karl Ruppert worked with the chicleros to locate many of the sites he visited or discovered. Ruppert writes: "Although the Second Campeche Expedition visited several new sites the next year, it became obvious that it was most advantageous to enter the area when chicle operations were under way, for then chicleros could be questioned about the location of ruins. However, chicleros work during the height of the rainy season, when it is not feasible to carry on investigations.
We decided to adopt the alternative of sending a native who could inquire of the chicleros about the location of ruins and then late in January, as the rainy season drew to a close, act as guide to the expedition. So, late in August, a capable man who had been with the 1933 expedition, went the round of the chicle camps. We were more than repaid the expense of his four months' tour by the number of ruins he reported and located and by the time saved the 1934 expedition while in the field.
For the use of anyone going into this area lists of native workmen, whose services might be helpful in locating sites, trails, and water holes, are on file at the Division of Historical Research, Carnegie Institution."
Ruppert & Denison, Archaeological Reconnaissance in Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Peten, 1943
Structure 1 of Group 1 at Xpujil is a beautiful example of the Rio Bec style and one of the gifts of the chicleros.