Lubaantun is the largest Maya site of southern Belize, composed of 11 large structures, 5 main plazas and 3 ball courts. In the early 1900’s Dr Thomas Gann, an amateur archaeologist, began minor excavations at the site and named it Lubaantun (Place of the Fallen Stones in modern Mayan dialect). In the 1970’s, more professional excavation and restoration work was completed by The British Museum, Cambridge University and Harvard University. One of the most distinguishing features of Lubaantun is the large collection of miniature ceramic objects found on site (available to view at the entrance museum); they are thought to have been charmstones or accessories to rituals. Also of note is the somewhat unusual architecture at Lubaantun, as its black slate structures feature rounded corners. At this site it is known that boxing matches took place to the death, with contestants wearing conch shell knuckledusters!
Nim Li Punit is situated on a beautiful hilltop site near the village of Indian Creek, affording views of Belize, Guatemala and the Caribbean. This Mayan site is best known for the 26 stone stela that were found there. Each stele was carved with hieroglyphics and used to record important information such as alliances, wars and battles, and family trees. One of these stela, the second largest in the Mayan world, depicts a ruler wearing an elaborate large headdress, inspiring the name of Nim Li Punit, which means Big Hat in the Kekchi Maya language. This site also includes several stone ball courts where Mayans used to compete in ball games in honour of their gods.
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