Sunday, May 30, 2010

Belize Archaeology Adventure 2010 Pt. 3 Caracol)

Caracol is an anciet Maya city located in the Cayo district of Belize and is about 2 hours away from the town of San Ignacio. Archaeological evidence suggests that Caracol was first inhabited as early as 1200 BC, making it one of the earliest power centers in mesoamerica. For centuries at a time Caracol fought and forged alliances with other mighty cities such as Calackmul (in present day Mexico) and Tikal (in nearby Guatemala). Caracol's influence was also strongly felt in cities it dominated such as El Naranjo, El Pilar, Xinantunich etc. Caracol's greatest expansion came in the fifth century during what is known as the Mayan classic period; it is during this time that many of the sites most iconic structures were constructed.

Caracol is not really a site you can get to on your own. Even agencies which plan trips to the site from San Ignacio go in convoys since if you were to get stuck there is a good chance that there would be nobody on that road to help you for at least a few days. The terrain is treacherous and during the rainy season access is often made impossible by flooding... however do not let any of this dissuade you from going, its well worth the difficulty!

View from atop Caana pyramid (the largest in Belize)

Ancient toomb

One of the many vaulted structures at the site

Nicely preserved hieroglyphs on stelae.

Beautiful stone and stucco mask!

A ballgame marker covered in glyphs

One of the two excavated ball courts at Caracol.

Interesting ramp which leads up to large ceremonial center (perhaps built to aid construction or to make it easier for elderly priests to gain access to the temple).

Stunning acropolis.

Very typical architecture at Caracol.

Wonderful little pyramid across from Caana.

Beautiful hieroglyphs on said pyramid.

Wow wow wow, just wow!

The ground level platform of Caana (Sky Palace) to this day one of the largest man made structures in Belize!

More to come!


Unknown said...

Very nice article.

norm said...

On my bucket list forsure. From what I have read, this site was one of the major players, a must see if Mayan ruins are your thing.