On our recent Viking ocean cruise from Miami one of our first stops was Belize (formerly British Honduras) where we visited the spectacular Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.
Altun Ha was occupied for many centuries, from about 900 B.C. to A.D. 1000. Most of the information on Altun Ha comes from the Classic Period from about A.D. 400 to A.D. 900, when the city was at its largest.
The earliest structures found at Altun Ha are two round platforms that date to about BC 900−800, The structures contain remnants of postholes and several burials with traces of burning, or fire. One structure was an early religious building, with others containing inhabitants being of relatively high status.
The Late Preclassic had a population increase and large public structures were built. The first of these was a structure erected around AD 200. Although this structure was constructed at the end of the Preclassic, the majority of the archaeological evidence dates to the Early Classic time. This structure has a two-element stair composed of small steps with stairside outsets that were perhaps devoted to innovation. Other structures had a three-stage development.The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its hieroglyphic script—the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador.
This region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain.
Photos copyright 2018 by Dan Cirucci.