Earliest Mayan Temple Bulldozed in Belize

24/07/13 10:40 AM

A Mayan Temple, thought to be nearly 2,300 years old, has been largely destroyed and changed into street fill amass by contractors.

The temple was generally known as ‘Noh Mul’ (which interprets as ‘Big Hill’ or ‘Great Mound’ in Maya) and was bulldozed earlier this month. The remnants of the once-proud spiritual spot has been crushed all of which will likely go to fill the roads inside the neighbouring town of Douglas.

Noh Mul was part of a place that’s almost twelve square miles across, with over 80 distinct buildings. This ground is thought to have been residence to about 40,000 people between five hundred (some say 350) and 250 BCE. The site was densely dominated well into the 1100’s.

The ruined temple was the namesake and fundamental point of the place. The limestone structures were painstakingly crafted, using stone equipment, 1000s of years ago.

Noh Mul lays within the Eastern Yucatán Peninsula and is considered for being the most important Mayan location in Northern Belize. The temple was among the largest buildings in the region, ancient or modern.

Every prominent archaeologist functioning in the area has damned the harmful measures of these rascal contractors and many of us world wide have expressed shock, grief and fury in the wanton desecration of a necessary heritage location.

Dr. John Morris, of that Belizean Institute of Archaeology, said:

“This is one of a worst that I’ve seen in my whole twenty five years of Archaeology in Belize. We can not salvage what has happened out here – it’s an incredible display of ignorance. I’m appalled and don’t know what to say at this particular moment.”

His colleague, Dr. Allan Moore, who was also quoted as being “appalled”, described the chronological and cultural importance of that location.

“This may have been possibly a public construction or a building where the Nobles or the High Priest would have occupied. This structure would have been most likely the central point. These mounds that you are observing around here and another group over there – they may have had connectivity between official administrative religious functions here. This was sort of the epicenter of that village.”

Despite lying on public soil, the site was sheltered by Government law at the time of its destruction, the exact same law that extends to all Pre-Columbian man-made structures in Belize. On the other hand, imposing these regulations is tough as the nation consists of over 8,867 square miles of jungle, with both law enforcement and archaeologists under staffed.

The firm to blame are known as D-Mar Construction and are apparently owned by Belizean United Democratic Party politician Denny Grijalva. Grijalva is claiming complete ignorance of that scheme. When pushed, he told activists to criticize to the foreman, who was then made unavailable to them.

Parallel desecration occurred in 2005 at the nearby San Estevan location, but such destruction can be a recurring problem and this is in no way the only incident in the country.

“Bulldozing Maya mounds for road fill is an endemic trouble in Belize,” said Professor Normand Hammond, who worked extensively at the location in the 1980’s.

Director of the country’s Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Jaime Awe, has vowed to press charges against the business as well as the owner of that land.

Today, all that remains of the temple is a tiny hub. The remaining is gone forever.






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