Xunantunich A Day Trip Out Of Orange Walk, Belize
Xunantunich Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
March 18th, 2009 – by: geokid
Xunantunich "Maiden of the Rock" a Classic period (300 AD - 900 AD) Maya ceremonial center located in the Cayo District of western Belize on the west side of the Mopan River across from San Jose Succotz. It is pronounced "zshoo-NAN-too-NEECH." At the completion of the road and ferry (ferry hours 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in 1954, this was the first Belize site to be opened to the public. There is a plaza surrounded with pyramidal platforms. "El Castillo" is the tallest at 130 feet. This is large by Maya standards and is only exceeded by the Caana pyramid at Caracol. Xunantunich was occupied until about 900 AD and was likely abandoned after an earthquake. Evidence of an earthquake was documented by archaeologists in the 1990's.
Xunantunich was first investigated in the late 1800's by a British medical officer named Thomas Gann. The first known photographs of the site were taken in 1904 and displayed in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. No further investigations took place until Gann returned in 1924. The report of these activities have been lost. Gann reportedly excavated many Maya treasures. Gann provided no record of these items. No one knows of their total number, types of artifacts or their whereabouts.
There is now a new visitor's center which displays a model of the site, photos, maps and numerous exhibits of the city. I recommend seeing the displays at the visitor center prior to exploring the ruins.
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