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Cahal Pech – kah-HAHL PEHCH (West central Belize)

Maya for “Place (or city) of the Ticks”

From AIA web listing by Jaime Awe:

The ancient Maya site of Cahal Pech is just outside the south side of the town of San Ignacio found in the upper Belize Valley of the Cayo District in Belize. The center of the site sits on the top of a steep hill on the bank of the Macal River. At approximately 900 ft. above sea level, the central acropolis offers spectacular vies of the Maya Mountains to the south and to the northeast the valleys of the Belize River.

On-site excavations over the past twelve years indicate that during the Classic period Cahal Pech and the surrounding area may have included as much as ten square miles. Thus far in the site core there have been thirty-four large structures uncovered, including a few tall structures not related to domestic use, two ballcourts, a number of large range-type buildings and possibly a sweathouse. The work thus far indicates that Cahal Pech has evidence of some of the earliest Maya settlements in Belize. Preliminary dating and data recovered at the center indicates that the Maya began to settle at the site sometime between 1200 – 1000 BC. The individuals that made this site home it is believed either migrated into the Belize River Valley from the west in Highland Guatemala, or may even be ancestors of families who occupied this area during the Archaic period. 

At some point between 1000 – 600 BC, the community of Cahal Pech acquired numerous exotics like marine shell from the Caribbean Sea, obsidian and jade from sources east and north of Guatemala City, and also incorporated designs and symbols of the early gulf coast Olmec culture.

Numerous carved designs and figurines on ceramic material indicate that the residents of Cahal Pech shared similar ideologies with other areas of Mesoamerica. And to this day Cahal Pech also is home to one of the earliest carved stone monuments in this lowland Maya region.

Cahal Pech site map
  Cahal Pech corbel vault  


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