Xunantunich, or Tuna Sandwich

 

Not a lot is known about the Mayans. Not much of a written record left behind. Yes they had an alphabet, later I’ll explain why I think few people know how to decider it. Anyway, there are all kinds of Mayan ruins, throughout the Yucat√°n, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. We didn’t want a three hour ride, so we stayed local. this is a small archeological dig, but just right! To get there we needed to cross a river. we crossed on a hand cranked ferry. For years I toured the Central American gallery at LACMA, so I know how little we know about the Maya. I take information with a bowl of salt. At this site most of the structures or this Temple were rebuilt. People won’t come to visit an area that only has faint footprints of buildings. So they rebuild. The smooth rocks are original, the jumble of rocks above are what was rebuilt. Clearly the Maya took more time and effort. One of the ideas about the smooth stones is that they burned the limestone, ground it to dust and then created smooth bricks. That takes a lot of clear cutting and burning trees. So no, the Maya weren’t great stewards of their environment. These glyphs are reproductions, based on the remains they found. Gives you an idea of how tall the Temple was. This would never be allowed at the bigger sites, or heaven forbid in the US, very different rules here. Just so you can see how high up we are:There is a small ball court. There are so many theories about the game, I think it was just a precursor to soccer.A very compact site. There is a lot more to uncover, but it’s not clear there is the money to do so. The Mayans were a very stratified society, rulers, who could read and write. Middle class who did most of the higher level work and then the masses of hard working laborers who did all the manual work. So as the surroundings were degrading, society fell apart. The lowest class probably melted back into the distant forests, with the skills to survive. The other classes, not so much. With them was lost the lore and The ability to read and write. Many claim to be descendants of the Mayans, genetically, they are, but none of the culture survived.On our way back we watched horses go on the ferry, then it was on to the best restaurant for rice and beans and stewed chicken. These foods are common throughout Central America, yet each country has it’s own spices and flavors. The Mayans May have had beans, but no rice (Asia) or chicken either. They probably ate the local rodents.

Leah

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