Back in the days when a size “medium” t-shirt fitted comfortably, I was working in Belize in Central America. The trips were short and never busy, so there was always time for sightseeing, golf and drinking.
One place I was desperate to see was the old Mayan temple of Xunantunich which was an 80 mile trip on Belizian roads almost up to the Guatamalan border, which to be honest weren’t the best. When a chance to pop into a helicopter and go and see it for the day turned up out of the blue, I jumped at it.
An hour after setting off, we were putting down within sight of the massive old stone temple totally surrounded by jungle.
The entire complex takes up over an entire square mile, with the central building being the second highest in Belize (when I was there).
The place is broken down into four different areas, all built around this central temple. Xunantunich is a modern name given to the site in the late 1800’s. It means “stone woman” and refers to the ghost of a woman who was alleged to frequent the site. (I didn’t see her).
There doesn’t seem to be a time when this place wasn’t known about, even when the first Westerners appeared in Central America, there was a small civilisation on the outskirts of the current site, autonomous arable farmers making a living in the rich soil of the valley.
Various archeological studies have been carried out here, by British, American and recently Belizian teams with a lot of evidence being gathered to indicate a violent earthquake occurred around 750AD which coincided with a period of around 30 years of non habitation before the site once again became home to a small farming community.
An easy day spent wandering around this old place gave us all quite a thirst, so back into the chopper and home for a few beers. Happy memories of such halcyon days.
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