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Jan 27, 2012

Dr. Jaime Awe speaks on major archaeological find in San Ignacio

It made national headlines at the start of the week when contractors working on Burns Avenue unearthed an array of Mayan artifacts in the heart of downtown San Ignacio. On Sunday, work on a sustainable tourism program was halted upon the discovery of ceramic vessels, stone tools and skeletal remains underground.  Archaeologists have since observed and dated findings from the Late Pre-Classic Period of the ancient Mayan Civilization. During the past five days Dr. Jaime Awe, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, derived a theory for the existence of these relics. He says the findings indicate that a common level household existed there and that the occupants of that home were forced to find higher ground due to a hurricane.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology

Jaime Awe

“Skeletal remains, the upper part had been either destroyed in antiquity or the tractor may have taken some parts. We were screening all the dirt that the tractor pulled up and we found bits and pieces of bones, you know, parts of the skull fragment and maybe it wasn’t as well preserved. The part that you see in the picture is the lower torso. The person actually appeared in a fetal position, you can see the feet by Antonio’s hands and then the lower legs and then the knee, the humerus, where the hip was. Even this, we have been able to determine this was an adult male; at least forty years old; fairly robust, so seems to have been doing well and certainly eating well because all around it we found deer bones, deer antlers, peccary remains and we found lots of shells of jute and fresh water mussels. Based on the materials there it looks as though there was a small settlement that went back at least to about 600BC and eventually the family grew, they added some more houses because the spread of materials goes for at least about fifty yards down Burns Avenue, so it’s gotta be more than one house, so it’s a household a group of people, related very likely. By the time you get into that period before Christ and shortly thereafter, they are building more substantial houses, somebody dies, they bury this individual there and then it seems as though the site is abandoned because we don’t find any late classic remains. Well, what I think happened is that they probably got hit by a major flood and decided to move to higher ground and then they leave. The most recent dated objects that we have and it’s just below the modern pavement, is we have alone little leg of a post classic pot, which is about over a 1,000A.D and some bottles that are from the colonial period, so the space in between indicates  that there was subsequent flooding.”

The artifacts will find a home in the Cayo Welcome Center

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2 Responses for “Dr. Jaime Awe speaks on major archaeological find in San Ignacio”

  1. Janel says:

    This is TOO COOL! i walked those streets every day for 19 years of my life!!! WHO KNEW?

  2. Diane Glaser says:

    We traveled from California to Belize for year of the Maya and did not expect to witness the unearthing of Maya artifacts while we were walking the streets on San Ignacio. what a treat. And on my birthday, no less.
    Magnificent!

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