Maya ruins of Belize

Maya ruins of Belize

The Maya ruins of Belize include a number of well-known and historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites. Belize is considered part of the southern Maya lowlands of the Mesoamerican culture area, and the sites found there were occupied from the Preclassic (2000 BCE–200 CE) until and after the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.



Historically the most important site, Caracol ('the snail' in Spanish), is located in western Belize, near the border with Guatemala and within the Belizean part of the Peten rainforest. Caracol was the center of one of the largest Maya kingdoms and today contains the extant remains of thousands of structures. The city was an important player in the Classic period political struggles of the southern Maya lowlands, and is known for defeating and subjugating Tikal (while allied with Calakmul, located in Campeche, Mexico).


The site of Cerros, located on Chetumal Bay in northern Belize, is notable as one of the earliest Maya sites, reaching its apogee during the Late Preclassic on Chetumal Bay, and for the presence of an E-Group, a unique structural complex found in Maya architecture.


Lamanai, located on the New River in Orange Walk District, is known for being the longest continually-occupied site in Mesoamerica. The initial settlement of Lamanai occurred during the Early Preclassic, and it was continuously occupied up to and through the colonization of the area. During the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, the conquistadores established a Roman Catholic church at Lamanai, but a revolt by the native Maya drove them away. The extant remains of the church are still standing today.

Other sites

The following is a list of other archaeological sites located within Belize:

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Maya Indians — • The most important of the cultured native peoples of North America, both in the degree of their civilization and in population and resources, formerly occupying a territory of about 60,000 square miles, including the whole of the peninsula of… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Maya civilization — This article is about the pre Columbian Maya civilization. For a discussion of the modern Maya, see Maya peoples. For other meanings of the word Maya, see Maya …   Wikipedia

  • Belize — Belize …   Wikipedia

  • Maya peoples — See also: Maya (disambiguation) Maya …   Wikipedia

  • Belize District — The Belize District is a district of the nation of Belize, with its district capital being the nation s largest city, Belize City. Settlements San Pedro Town, which is situated on the island of Ambergris Caye, is also in the Belize District. Caye …   Wikipedia

  • Maya society — Maya civiliza …   Wikipedia

  • Maya Mountains — Montañas Mayas Range …   Wikipedia

  • Belize — Belizean /beuh lee zee euhn/, adj., n. /beuh leez /, n. 1. Formerly, British Honduras. a parliamentary democracy in N Central America: a former British crown colony; gained independence 1981. 224,663; 8867 sq. mi. (22,966 sq. km). Cap.: Belmopan …   Universalium

  • Maya stelae — …   Wikipedia

  • Maya-Ruinen — Ehemaliges Siedlungsgebiet der Maya Die Liste der Maya Ruinen gibt einen Überblick der bisher bekannten und archäologisch erfassten Ruinenstätten der Maya. Darin sind sowohl ehemals bewohnte Städte als auch rein religiöse Orte (Zeremonien und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia