Two kilometers up the highway toward San Pedro Sula  from the main ruins is the residential area of Las Sepulturas. Ignored by early archaeologists, Las Sepulturas has, in recent years, provided valuable information about the day-to-day lives of Copán’s ruling elite. The area received its macabre name (“The Tombs”) from local campesinos, who farmed in the area and, in the course of their work, uncovered many tombs of nobles who were buried next to their houses, as was the Mayan custom.
Although these ruins are not as visually interesting to the casual tourist as the principal group, they are well worth a visit. The forested trails are always tranquil and uncrowded, and it is interesting to see the residential structures up close, which contain little more than bedrooms and tombs, as cooking was done in separate open-air common kitchens.
Most of the sculpture has been removed, but one remaining piece is the Hieroglyphic Wall on Structure 82, a group of 16 glyphs cut in 786, relating events from the reign of Yax Pac, Copán’s last ruler. On the same structure is a portrait of Puah Tun, the patron of scribes, seated with a seashell ink holder in one hand and a writing tool in the other.
In Plaza A of Las Sepulturas, the tomb of a powerful shaman who lived around 450 was discovered; it can be seen in its entirety in the Museo Regional de Arqueología in Copán Ruinas . In this same area, traces of inhabitation dating from 1000 B.C., long predating the Copán dynasty, were found.
Las Sepulturas is connected to the principal group of ruins by an elevated road, called a sacbé, which runs through the woods. The road passes through private property, so visitors must go around by the highway. Be sure to bring your ticket from the main ruins, as you must show it to get into Las Sepulturas.
The men hanging out at the entrance offering guide service are highly knowledgeable, some having formerly worked as excavators, and their explanations help bring the ruins to life. Whether you use one of these guides or bring someone from the main site, you can expect to pay US$15 for the service.