Xunantunich & Cahal Pech tour

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Belize Mayan ruins photos

Xunantunich Mayan ruins

Xunantunich is a Classic Period ceremonial center. The site core occupies only 300 square meters but its perimeter covers several square kilometers. Recent investigations by Dr. Richard Leventhal of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dr. Wendy Ashmore from the University of Pennsylvania indicate that the site may be even more extensive than previously thought.

In Group A, Structure A-6 (El Castillo) rises 130 feet above the plaza level making it one of the tallest buildings in Belize. On this structure, there are two temples. The lower temple is famous for its large stucco frieze. A mask with larger ears probably represents the sun god. Next to this mask, there is a moon sign with a border of signs representing Venus.

Cahal pech Mayan ruins

Archaeological records from 1988 to 2002 indicate that Cahal Pech was first settled sometime around 1200 B.C. and abandoned around 800 -900 A.D. The site is particularly important for the information it has provided on the earliest Maya settlers of western Belize. Early cultural remains, for example, suggest that the site’s first inhabitants were relatively sophisticated.

They built large circular platforms that were used for ceremonial purposes, they carved many Mesoamerican or Olmec-like symbols on their pottery, imported jade and obsidian from Guatemala, modeled many figurines in the form of female individuals, and produced decorative beads that were made from Conch shells brought from the Caribbean coast.

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