Maya Archaeological Sites
Archaeologists estimate that at one time, as many as two million Maya may have lived in what is now Belize. Belize has dozens of accessible, lushly vegetated archaeological sites, some fully excavated and restored, others barely peeking through centuries of ferns, trees, and monkeys. New sites are discovered each year in Belize, and it’s common for rural families to have small ruins and mounds in their backyards.
The Belize Institute of Archaeology manages all archaeological sites as part of the government’s National Institute of Culture and History (NICH, www.nichbelize.org). The following sites are listed as they appear from north Belize (near Corozal and Orange Walk), west (Cayo District), and then south (Toledo District).
Belize’s Maya sites are not known for Long Count calendar inscriptions nor direct references to 2012 (not yet, anyway—discoveries are made constantly), but they are stunning and unique in different ways, and many will be hosting equinox and solstice ceremonies throughout 2012.
Belize’s archaeological sites—both above- and belowground—are as impressive and varied as anywhere else in the Maya world, and though living Maya only comprise about 10 percent of Belize’s already small population, the culture and physical ruins are things with which most Belizeans feel a connection—especially when there’s a party involved, which there are sure to be plenty of in 2012.
© Josh Berman from Moon Maya 2012