Nim Li Punit
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. The core of the site consists of numerous structures
around three plazas, including several stepped-pyramids, the tallest of
the group is 40 feet high.
Nim Li Punit
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.
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
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.