For the Québécoise singer see Carole Facal. Caracol is the name given to a large ancient Maya archaeological site, located in what is now the Cayo District of Belize, it is situated 40 kilometres south of Xunantunich and the town of San Ignacio Cayo, 15 kilometers away from the Macal River. It rests on the Vaca Plateau at an elevation of 500 meters above sea-level, in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Long thought to be a tertiary center, it is now known that the site was one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period. Caracol covered 200 square kilometers, covering an area much larger than present-day Belize City and supported more than twice the modern city's population. "Caracol" is a modern name from Spanish: caracol "snail, shell", but more meaning spiral- or volute-shaped— on account of the winding access road that led to the site. Local tour guides say that the nickname "Caracol" originates from the large population of snails present on the site.
Researchers would say to go to "that one place with all the snails", this developed into just referring to it as "Caracol". When visiting the site you will see that snails are quite everywhere, its ancient name has been reconstructed from the Emblem Glyph popular among its early rulers - Ux Witz Ajaw, or “Three Hills Lord”. The full name of Caracol would be "Three-Hills Water," read Oxwitza', Uxwitza’ or, Hispanicised, "Oxhuitza"; this place name may reference the Three Stone Place of creation. The site was first reported by a native logger named Rosa Mai, who came across its remains in 1937 while searching for mahogany hardwood trees to exploit. Mai reported the site to the archaeological commission for today Belize. In 1938 the archaeological commissioner, A. H. Anderson visited the site for two weeks along with a colleague H. B. Jex, it was Anderson. They conducted preliminary surveys, noted 9 carved monuments, took notes on the structures of the A Group Plaza, undertook limited excavations in two locations.
A. H. Anderson and Linton Satterthwaite discovered 40 stone monuments; the site was first documented archaeologically in 1937 by A. H. Anderson. More extensive explorations and documentation of the site was undertaken by Linton Satterthwaite of the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania from 1950 to 1953. During this time Satterthwaite focused on finding and documenting monuments removing several stelae and altars to the University Museum. In the early 1980s, Paul Healy of Trent University investigated Caracol's core area, recording several architectural groups, noting the extensive terrace systems and high population density for the surrounding area; the Caracol Archaeological Project is directed by Arlen and Diane Chase of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States. The 1988-1989 field seasons researched the southeast section of the site, between the Conchita and Pajaro-Romonal Causeways, to determine the impact of the Tikal-Naranjo wars. From 1994 to 1996, the project focused investigations in the northeast section of the site which showed great time depth dating to the Middle Preclassic, on the growth and cohesion of the site during Caracol's two major periods of aggression.
In the spring dry season of 2009 they conducted a LiDAR survey with an aircraft that allowed a rapid assessment of the entire site and surrounds, mapping 200 square kilometers, with results published in May 2010. The only road Caracol may be accessed by is paved for the last 16km and leads to the Western Highway between San Ignacio and Belmopan and to Santa Elena. Caana is one of the largest man-made structures in Belize. 1938 A. H. Anderson visits Caracol 1950-1953 Linton Satterthwaite and the University Museum conducts investigations focusing on recording monuments, makes a limited map 1956-1958 A. H. Anderson returns to Caracol and excavates in the A Group and South Acropolis 1980 Paul Healy of Trent University investigates agricultural terraces and notes unusually high settlement density 1985 Caracol Archaeological Project begins. Conchita and Pajaro-Ramonal Causeways located. 1987 Initiation of settlement research. Construction on Caana demonstrated to be post-AD 800 1990 Structures A2, A7, A8 excavated.
1991 Exploration and mapping of causeways. Ceiba and Retiro Termini located. Structure A6 excavated. Intact stucco frieze found on earlier construction of Caana. Belize government declares the Caracol area a national park. 1992 Ruler’s tomb discovered in the South Acropolis. Belize government constructs road to the site 1993 Investigations on Canna. Hieroglyphic texts found in non-elite contexts 1994-1995 Northeast sector investigated to determine settlement density and dating.
For the church in Zaragoza Spain see Basilica of Our Lady of the PillarEl Pilar is an ancient Maya city center located on the Belize-Guatemala border. The site is located 12 kilometres north of San Ignacio and can be accessed through the San Ignacio and Bullet Tree Falls on the Belize River; the name "El Pilar" is Spanish for "watering basin", reflecting the abundance of streams around the site and below its escarpment, rare in the Maya area. The monuments of El Pilar are at the center of a 5,000 acres protected area known as El Pilar Archeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna, declared a cultural monument in both Belize and Guatemala in 1998. El Pilar is the largest Maya site in the Belize River area with over 25 plazas and hundreds of other major buildings, covering about 120 acres. Archaeologist Anabel Ford first mapped El Pilar in 1983 in the course of her Belize River Archaeological Settlement Survey or BRASS project. Settlement patterns in the region suggest a hierarchy of community size and composition, directly related to farmland.
One of the most extensive areas was of farmlands discovered at El Pilar, 10 kilometres north of the Belize River on the edge of the major upland escarpment that leads 47 kilometres to the major center of Tikal. Since 1993, a major archaeological field survey excavation project marked the initial examination of El Pilar. Under the direction of Anabel Ford, the detailed map was executed with engineering survey instruments and excavations focused on access ways and doorways; when the monuments were mapped, the team verified the causeway system that linked from the east to the west uniting one ancient Maya center in two modern nations: Belize and Guatemala. Excavations tunneled into major temple revealing a 2000 years construction history. Ford and her team are working with Lidar in order to map the area more extensively; the city grew from Middle Preclassic period, with the first small temples and plazas identified in the main eastern temple of Plaza Copal. The civic area was expanded, reaching its greatest extent before 1000 AD.
At its height in the Late Classic, the total population of El Pilar is estimated to have exceeded 180,000. Ford and her team have excavated many of the plazas and palaces of the monumental civic area. Surrounding the monuments is the residence that made up the ancient Maya community. Tzunu’un, a residential unit discovered and tested in 1984, became the focus of a major investigation that excavated and consolidated an elite Maya house; this is the only archaeological house. Working with Master Maya forest gardeners, the team has developed a forest garden around the house site; the forest gardens of El Pilar are now maintained by the Maya farmers as part of the El Pilar Forest Garden Network. The El Pilar Archeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna is open to the public and has a series of trails providing access throughout the site. Tourists can take a taxi from Bullet Tree Falls directly into the Maya site. Intrepid visitors can experience both ancient and contemporary aspects of Maya life promoting Maya culture in the area.
There is an active initiative to make El Pilar of Belize and Guatemala the first archaeological peace park in the world. While El Pilar is protected in Belize and Guatemala and rangers are on site, it remains under threat by looters and was placed on the World Monument Fund's 1996 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World. Ford’s conservation strategy, called Archaeology Under the Canopy, promotes the conservation of ancient Maya monuments in the context of their natural environmental context. Sheltered under the forest canopy after 1000 years of neglect, El Pilar and all the Maya monuments are best maintained in the shade; this preserves Maya cultural heritage along with the forest gardens the Maya created. "Maya Forest Garden". The El Pilar Forest Garden Network. Retrieved 25 September 2015. "Mesoamerican Research Center". MesoAmerican Research Center. Retrieved 25 September 2015. "Exploring Solutions Past". Exploring Solutions Past
Río Bec is a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site located in what is now southern portion of the Mexican state of Campeche. The name refers to an architectural style that first appeared at Río Bec and subsequently spread to other nearby sites; the Río Bec Style is related to the Chenes architectural style found northwest of the Río Bec region. == The archaeological site == The Río Bec site was first mentioned by Austrian explorer Teoberto Maler at the end of the 19th century, though he never visited the site. The French explorer Maurice de Perigny was the first European to report on the Río Bec; the site is now being excavated and restored by a group of French archaeologists from the CNRS headed by Dominique Michelet. They have located several architectural groups and their surveys and maps of several square kilometers give us a better understanding of the ancient settlement. Excavation of the principal building at Río Bec A, a building with three towers and several rooms, is now underway. Río Bec temple pyramids are located in the central Maya lowlands.
The temple-pyramids are characterized by a unique architectural style that began to appear during the seventh century A. D. and continued into the early twelfth century A. D; the temple-pyramids consist of a range-type building with two nonfunctional solid masonry towers on both ends of the range-type building. The twin-towers narrow with ascension; the twin-towers appear to have stairs along their faces leading to the temple. However, the steps are only a design motif. If the steps were functional, the towers rise at steep vertical angles that would make ascending them difficult; the temples, which are located on the platform at the top of the Río Bec towers are inoperative as well. The temples are solid masses with no interior rooms. Pseudo-doorways, which have been built into niches in the fronts of the temples, give the appearance of a functional door. Despite their nonfunctional components, the Río Bec towers hold the typical decorations of a pyramid and its upper temple and at first glance are taken as functional pyramids.
The purpose of the Río Bec temple-pyramids is unknown, but they do resemble the twin-tower complexes of Tikal. Kejache
Lubaantun is a pre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in southern Belize, Central America. Lubaantun is in Belize's Toledo District, about 42 kilometres northwest of Punta Gorda, 3.2 kilometres from the village of San Pedro Columbia, at an elevation of 61 metres feet above mean sea level. One of the most distinguishing features of Lubaantun is the large collection of miniature ceramic objects found on site; the city dates from the Maya Classic era, flourishing from the AD 730s to the 890s, seems to have been abandoned soon after. The architecture is somewhat unusual from typical Classical central lowlands Maya sites. Lubaantun's structures are built of large stone blocks laid with no mortar black slate rather than the limestone typical of the region. Several structures have distinctive "in-and-out masonry". Corners of the step-pyramids are rounded, lack stone structures atop the pyramids; the centre of the site is on a large artificially raised platform between two small rivers. The ancient name of the site is unknown.
At the start of the 20th century inhabitants of various Kekchi and Mopan Maya villages in the area mentioned the large ruins to inhabitants of Punta Gorda. Dr. Thomas Gann came to investigate the site in 1903, published two reports about the ruins in 1905; the next expedition was led by R. E. Merwin of Harvard University's Peabody Museum in 1915 who cleared the site of vegetation, made a more detailed map, took measurements and photographs, made minor excavations. Of note Merwin discovered one of the site's three courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame, which had stone markers with hieroglyphic texts and depictions of the ballgame. In 1924 Gann revisited the ruins, led adventurer F. A. Mitchell-Hedges to the site. In his sensationalistic fashion, Mitchell-Hedges published an article in the Illustrated London News claiming to have "discovered" the site. Gann made a new map of the site; the following year Mitchell-Hedges returned to Lubaantun as a reporter for the Illustrated London News, accompanied by his companion Lady Richmond Brown.
Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adoptive daughter of F. A. Mitchell-Hedges, would claim that she not only accompanied her father on the expedition, but that it was she who found the famous crystal skull there, but there is no evidence that Anna was in Belize, if the skull had been excavated at Lubaantun it would be hard to explain why none of the official reports mention it, why other expedition members deny that it was found there, why the publicity-loving Mitchell-Hedges did not publish a single mention of the skull before the 1950s. According to Nickell, there is a plethora of mystery surrounding the crystal skull found at Lubaantun. New Age believers assert that there are thirteen crystal skulls that when brought together will unite humanity and heal the world. There is little evidence to suggest that the skulls have any mystical or psychic properties other than anecdotal evidence presented by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, she claims that the skull is the secret to her longevity, that it has the ability to kill whoever dares mock its power.
Moreover, some scholars believe that the skulls may be Aztec but assert that they are not Pre-Columbian or the 3,000 years old as postulated by F. A. Mitchell-Hedges. Additionally, many archaeologists postulate that most, if not all, of the skulls are European forgeries. More it is clear from investigations by Joe Nickell and Norman Hammond that the skull was not found at Lubaantun at all, but was purchased by Mitchell-Hedges at a Sotheby's auction in 1943; the skull had belonged to the collector Sydney Burney, photographs of it had been published in the journal Man as early as 1936. Geoffrey Laws, along with T. A. Joyce and Mitchell-Hedges surveyed the site of Lubaantun, he noted that the site lies upon the line dividing these two geographical units, situated near the village of San Pedro Colombia, at the head of canoe navigation on the Colombia River. The ruins are located in the area formed by the convergence of two small tributaries of this river, his reports, along with other scholars, are consistent in their prostrations that the Lubaantun Maya rigorously utilized water transport.
Moreover, Laws commented on the climate as being humid. His report notes an absence of any “indigenous populations” in his 1928 survey; the British Museum sponsored investigations and excavations at Lubaantun under T. A. Joyce in 1926 and 1927, establishing the mid to late Classic period chronology of the site. According to Joyce, the complex at Lubaantun 900 feet long and 600 feet wide toward the north. During his excavation the archaeologist found pottery fragments which were both shaped and painted along with stone items and shell ornaments, he believed that most of the material culture at the site indicated that it was an Early Classic site but this assertion has since been dismissed by the archaeological community. Notably, he thought that the site must have been under strict centralized control since the architectural styles found would have required large amounts of physical labor, he identifies four “classes” of masonry: megalithic cut blocks, sma
Santa Rita, Corozal
Santa Rita is a Maya ruin and an archaeological reserve on the outskirts of Corozal, Belize. Historical evidence suggests that it was the ancient and important Maya city known as Chetumal. Evidence excavated at Santa Rita exhibits a long history of inhabitance; the discovery of a burial site containing early pottery has dated the formation of the city between 2000 and 1200 BCE. Its importance peaked during the Postclassic era, continued to be occupied after the arrived of the Spanish; because of its location, the city at Santa Rita once controlled nearby trade routes between the coast and the mouths of two major rivers, the Río Hondo and Río Nuevo. These rivers served as major arteries of trade to centres in the interior such as Lamanai and those in El Petén; because of this, it became the dominant settlement in the Chetumal region during the early Classic period. After a short decline during the Late Classic period, Santa Rita once again rose to prominence. Following the decline of Classic sites to the north, Chactemal became the capital of one of the 19 Mayan states recorded by the invading Spanish.
Chetumal formed part of the confederation of states under the Cocom dynasty of Mayapán. It remained under this alliance until 1441; the earliest indication of inhabitants at Santa Rita Corozal is dated to the Preclassic Period. They lived upon a high bluff in the southwest area. Four burials were discovered with ceramics and shell jewelry dating from the Preclassic period; this early preclassic period had a small estimated population of 150. According to archaeological evidence, the middle preclassic period did not have an increase in population; the population appears to have grown in the Late Preclassic period. Twelve locations were identified as Late Preclassic sites. Thirty-four burials were found in these twelve locations. Included in the burials was Sierra Red pottery, found all over the Mayan Lowlands; the population was thought to be in the region of 1,000 people. The Protoclassic period, the temporal period between the Late Preclassic and Early Classic periods, is estimated by archaeologists to have increased in population again.
Four burials have been dated to this time period. The Early Classic period had 1,500 residents who lived in a village, much different than the earlier periods. Monuments were constructed and trades item were found, indicating that trade was increasing. Thirteen burials found from this time period indicate that an extensive social hierarchy was in place. Three of those thirteen burials were found in Structure 7, they had extravagant items not find in the other burials. Structure 7 is the tallest building at Santa Rita Corozal. One of these burials, dated to 450 A. D. contained. He was interred with items associated with the burial offerings of higher-ranked citizens, it is important to note that at this Early Classic time period, a distinct social structure had developed. The wealth found at the burials is thought to be due to trade along the rivers that border Santa Rita Corozal-the New River and the Rio Hondo; the Late Classic period is found throughout the site. It is estimated that by 750 A. D. nearly 2,500 residents were living at the site.
Artifacts found throughout the site indicate that a large portion of the population had access to most items. The social hierarchy of the early Classic period had vanished; the excavations that lead to the discovery of Preclassic and Classic materials and burials were looking for information on Postclassic material. Thomas Gann’s discovery of Postclassic murals, excavations at Santa Rita Corozal would lead researchers to Santa Rita Corozal in search of the Postclassic Maya. In 1979, a research project was developed to bring better understanding of the Postclassical Maya, it sought to identify the archaeological history of Santa Rita Corozal, to understand the origins and ending of the Postclassical period, to comprehend the ritual and politics of the Late Postclassic period. At the time of its origin the Postclassic Maya were seen as a declining society that had abandoned its rituals and were a shadow of their former splendor. Santa Rita Corozal did not decline into obscurity, quite the opposite occurred.
Large buildings were not erected. By the Late Postclassic period Santa Rita Corozal had its highest number of inhabitants; the population at 1300-1539 CE was estimated to be at 6,900 residents. Excavations were undertaken in the south central area of Santa Rita Corozal. Nine buildings were found. Most of them were built over earlier buildings; the artifacts found in Structures 183 and 213, both contained figure artifacts. Structure 213 contained 25 figures. Nine of the figures were put into a ceramic urn with the remaining sixteen figurines surrounding it. Structure 183 contained 28 figurines; the modern town of Corozal was founded in 1848 by refugees from the Caste War in neighbouring Yucatán, expanded making it the major ethnicity in the country at the time. The ruins of Santa Rita became a target for building resources; because of this, the exact borders of the ancient Mayan city may never be known. In the early 1900s, amateur archaeologist Thomas Gann visited the site and discovered a Mixtec-influenced mural.
No substantial rese
Attalea cohune known as the cohune palm, is a species of palm tree native to Mexico and parts of Central America. The cohune palm is used in the production of cohune oil and its nut can be used as a variety of vegetable ivory. A chief occurrence as a dominant plant is in the Belizean pine forests ecoregion