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Ancient Maya Pyramid destroyed

Builders destroy 2,300-year-old Mayan pyramid to make new road

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A 100 foot Mayan pyramid in the Nomul complex in Belize has been destroyed by ignorant builders who have used the 2,300 year old ancient structure for road fill.   However, distraught archaeologists have claimed that there is no way this could have been an accident as the Nohmul complex, the most important Mayan site in Belize, is well known and the pyramid stands out in a landscape that is naturally flat. Moreover, the individual stones used to construct the pyramid could clearly be seen.

'It's a feeling of Incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill,' said Jaime Awe, head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology

The construction workers used bulldozers and diggers to claw away at the sides of the 100ft tall pyramid, leaving an isolated core of limestone cobbles at the centre. Police in Belize are conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether any charges will be brought against the construction company. However, unfortunately it is not the first time that Mayan mounds have been targeted by construction workers seeking materials.  It has become an endemic problem in Belize and many ancient structures have been destroyed.

But this latest example has left many speechless, particularly due to the size of the structure and the fact that it was in the centre of a well-known Mayan site.  There was also much still to uncover and learn from the site, making such destruction devastating and irreversible.

The Belize community-action group Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action called the destruction of the archaeological site 'an obscene example of disrespect for the environment and history'. Many have called for such destruction to be treated as a major crime in which the people responsible for the damage are sent to jail.

Many Mayan structures give clues to the importance the civilisation placed on its complex astronomical and cosmological system, with many pyramids deliberately angled to face sunrise or sunset at particular times of the year.

By April Holloway

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