It’s Gone Now — Mayan temple in Belize used for road fill is not the first one destroyed

 

Mayan Pyramid Destroyed to Get Rocks for Road Project

Read more:  http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/05/mayan-pyramid-destroyed-to-get-rocks-for-road-project/#ixzz2Tl9Q7Dfe

Another Mayan Ruin in Belize. Not the one that was  destroyed. Image: Rita  Alexandrea

 

In Belize, they needed to build a road. Roads require rocks, there happened  to be a really convenient, large pile of rocks for the construction team to use  nearby. It also happened to be one of the largest Mayan pyramids in the country.  Now that pyramid is gone, destroyed by bulldozers and backhoes.

The construction company building the road appears to have extracted crushed  rocks from the pyramid to use as road fill. The pyramid, called the Nohmul  complex, is at least 2,300 years old and sits on the border of Belize and  Mexico. It’s over 100 feet tall, the largest pyramid in Belize left over from  the Mayans.

Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology said that the news  was “like being punched in the stomach.” The pyramid was, he said, very clearly  an ancient structure, so there’s no chance the team didn’t realize what they  were doing. “These guys knew that this was an ancient structure. It’s just  bloody laziness,” Awe  told CBS News. He also said:

“Just to realize that the ancient Maya acquired all this building material to  erect these buildings, using nothing more than stone tools and quarried the  stone, and carried this material on their heads, using tump lines. To think that  today we have modern equipment, that you can go and excavate in a quarry  anywhere, but that this company would completely disregard that and completely  destroyed this building. Why can’t these people just go and quarry somewhere  that has no cultural significance? It’s mind-boggling.”

And it turns out that this is an ongoing problem in Belize. The country is  littered with ruins (although none as large as Nohmul), and construction  companies are constantly bulldozing them for road fill. An archaeologist at  Boston University said that several other sites have already been destroyed by  construction to use the rocks for building infrastructure. There isn’t much in  the way of protection or management of these sites in Belize, so many people who  live in the country either aren’t aware of their significance, or aren’t taught  to care.

The  Huffington Post has photographs from the scene, showing backhoes and  bulldozers chipping away at the stone structure. HuffPo ends this story on a  lighter note, pointing out that due to the destruction, archaeologists can now  see the inner workings of the pyramid and the ways they were built.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Why  Did the Mayan Civilization Collapse? A New Study Points to Deforestation and  Climate Change Spectral  Images of a Mayan Temple

Read more:  http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/05/mayan-pyramid-destroyed-to-get-rocks-for-road-project/#ixzz2Tl92GQqV

Advertisements

3 comments on “It’s Gone Now — Mayan temple in Belize used for road fill is not the first one destroyed

  1. In the age of high gold price..Has anyone considered the possibility that the construction company was lying about it being mistakenly destroyed for it’s rock…when in fact it was just savage excavation to pillage possible gold antiquities

    Like

    • Most of the Mayan artifacts have long been pillaged. Any found from the road-rock piles are icing. The value of intact artifacts is greater than the materials, though I dunno about the black market.

      Like

    • Most of the Mayan artifacts have long been pillaged. Any found from the road-rock piles are icing. The value of intact artifacts is greater than the materials, though I dunno about the black market.

      Like

Reply:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s