Nim Li Punit, "Big Hat" is a Classic Period (400 AD to 700 AD) Maya site in the
Toledo District of Belize, located at Latitude 16.31 North by Longitude 88.78
West) 22 miles north of Punta Gorda and 1 mile east of the Southern Highway. The
elevation at Nim Li Punit is about 206 feet above sea level. "Big Hat", refers
to the large elaborate head-dress that is depicted on a stela sculpture that was
found at Nim Li punit. Archaeologists think that this stelae depicts one of the
ancient kings of Nim Li Punit.
Nim Li Punit is a medium sized site from
the Maya Classic Period. Nim Li Punit flourished from 400 AD to 800 AD.
Nim Li Punit, "Big Hat"
of the site consists of numerous structures around three plazas, including
several stepped-pyramids, the tallest of the group is 40 feet high. The site has
a number of carved stelae that are believed to depict rulers of Nim Li Punit.
Several stelae were found in an unfinished state that may suggest a sudden halt
to work. There is no way to know for sure. The carver may had recognized some
imperfections in those particular slabs. The individuals ordering those items
may had lost his source of income, right to rule or his life. The carver may had
suffered some misfortune. There is a ball court with ruins associated with it
that may have been a sweet bath. The soils in this area are relatively fertile
by tropical standards. These soils may explain the ability of this region to
support sizable populations.
Nim Li Punit, "Big Hat"
Local sandstone is found in nearby stream and river
beds, and these materials were used as the principal building stones for the
monumental structures and carving material for the stelae. Nim Li Punit is
constructed in the Classic Period geometric form, using large amounts of fill
material with mortar and stone retaining walls to achieve expansive level plazas
and terraces. The ball court is well preserved, ready to host a game.
Archaeologist have suggested that there is an "E Group" of the stelae, within
the Plaza of the Stela of the South Group. The "E Group" is suggested to be a
geometrical arrangement that could have been used for astronomical observations.
Tracking the rise and setting of the Sun, Moon and Venus. Archaeologist have
estimated that the maximum population of Nim Li Punit was 5000 to 7000 people
based on the overall size of Nim Li Punit, the number of residential platforms
and the typically size of families in this type of environment and food
availablity. Date glyphs carved on stelae document the site was active in the
period 721 to 790 AD.
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