Notes from the field: Adventure Walkers

"Notes From The Field" cronicles Adventure Travel with all things intriguing and adventurous for the fan of exotic culture and ancient civilizations. Meant to be niether too academic nor too wildly sensational, it seeks to illustrate that truth can be more fascinating than fiction. These are "walking adventures" for the rest of us.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mayan City of Altun Ha -- Belize

My favorite Mayan Princess, Lori, perched on top of the sacrificial altar at Altun Ha, a pre-classic/early classic Maya ruin not far from the Caribbean in Belize. This is the site of the largest, refined jade artifact found to-date in the Mayan empire, an intricately carved head, weighing more than 9.7 pounds! It is thought to represent the Maya sun god, Kinich Ahau. The ruins were attractive with two central plazas and a main, excavated pyramid. Masks done in the Teotihuacan style adorned the main pyramid. Rounded corners and particularly the rounded ceremonial altar on top are somewhat unique to Mesoamerican pre-Colombian sites and distinguish Altun Ha. Post burial offerings found nearby at the earlier city site included the dark green obsidian also representative of trade influence from Teotihuacan. The primary source of that obsidian is a mining site controlled by The Teotihuacanos in the current state of Hidalgo Mexico, not far from Mexico City. Those items place the site squarely in a Pre-Classic time period, back as far as 200 B.C.


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