the challenging giant-sized
at Altun Ha ....
Altun Ha is the most extensively-excavated site in
The core site includes thirteen structures clustered
Classic period plazas.
, is near the entrance to the site and is
enclosed by large temples on all four sides. Here a magnificent
tomb was discovered beneath The Temple of the Green Tomb.
Dating from 550 AD, this find yielded a total of thee hundred
pieces, including jade, jewelry, stingray spines, skin flints
and the remains of a Maya Book.
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is dominated by the sites largest
temple, The Temple of Masonry Altar, which rises
60 feet above the plaza and was the last in a sequence of
buildings raised on this spot. This temple was probably
the main focus of religious ceremonies, with a single stairway
running up the front to an altar at the top.
Several priestly tombs have been uncovered within the
main structure, however most of them had already been desecrated,
possibly during political turmoil that preceded the abandonment
of the site.
was here that archeologist discovered a carved jade head
of Kinich Ahau, the Maya sun god. At 15cm high, it is the
largest carved jade piece to be found anywhere in the Maya
Just outside these two main plazas, a short nature
trail leads to Clay-lined Rockstone Pond, which was damned
and used as a reservoir in Maya times,
Altun Ha was an important trading and religious ceremonial
center. Evolution of the temples at Altun Ha continued until
about 1,000 AD.
Getting To Altun Ha ....
From Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker, guided tours travel up the North
River through mangrove channels for 30 to 40 minutes before
arriving at the small village of Bomba. A short stop is
taken to admire some of the local carvings made of mahogany
any seracota, then the
short ride to the site.
After visiting Altun Ha, tours
continue up the Belize River to the Community Baboon Sanctuary.
View monkeys, iguanas, birds and crocodiles
up close and personal.
Visit Belize as part of a duPlooy Travel
Belize Vacation Package or Travel Learning Experience