Builders destroy Mayan pyramid
BELIZE CITY — A construction company has destroyed one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids with backhoes and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project, authorities announced on Monday.
The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, Jaime Awe, said the destruction at the Nohmul complex in northern Belize was detected late last week. The ceremonial center dates back at least 2,300 years and is the most important site in northern Belize, near the border with Mexico.
“It's a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill,” Awe said. “It's like being punched in the stomach, it's just so horrendous.”
Nohmul sat in the middle of a privately owned sugar cane field and lacked the even stone sides seen in reconstructed or better-preserved pyramids. But Awe said the mound, which is about 100 feet tall, could not have been mistaken as natural, because the ruins were well-known and the landscape there is flat.
Belizean police said criminal charges are possible.
Norman Hammond, an emeritus professor of archaeology at Boston University who worked in Belizean research projects in the 1980s, wrote in an e-mail that “bulldozing Maya mounds for road fill is an endemic problem in Belize,” but that this incident “sounds like the biggest yet.”
Arlen Chase, chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida, said that “there is only a very limited infrastructure” in Belize that can handle cultural heritage management. “Unfortunately, they (destruction of sites) are all too common, but not usually in the center of a large Maya site,” Chase wrote.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia’s business world rattled by arrest of oil tycoon Yevtushenkov
- Obama, generals part ways on ground war in Iraq
- Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
- Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
- Aid to Ukraine uncertain as its leader visits U.S.
- With hours before secession vote, many in Scotland undecided
- Poll: ‘No’ leads ‘yes’ in a close Scotland vote on independence from United Kingdom
- Convict’s wish for assisted suicide OK’d in Belgium
- 3 troops killed in Taliban strike in Afghanistan
- Gaza militants kill 18 alleged spies for Israel
- Landmark Ukraine, EU deal ratified