Like west Mexican predecessors they Maya also excelled at modeling small scale figures in clay often cast in molds representing a wide range of human types and activities than shown on Maya Stelae. Both Jaina Island and nearby Piedras Island (Isla Piedras) were the sites of small towns or villages. Jaina was settled circa 300 CE, lasting until its abandonment some time circa 1200 CE. The principal occupation occurred near the end of this period, during the Late Classic and Terminal Classic eras. Present-day ruins consist of two small plaza groups and a ballcourt.
Jaina Island's notability is tied to its estimated 20,000 graves, of which over 1,000 have been archaeologically excavated. Within each grave, the human remains are accompanied by glassware, slateware, or pottery as well as one or more ceramic figurines, usually resting on the occupant's chest or held in their hands.
The name of this island necropolis probably comes from the Yucatán Maya phrase hail na, or “watery house”. Its western location may have been tied to the setting sun, and therefore to death.