The ancient ruins of Altun Ha

Altun Ha (Photo credit: Canon in 2D)

Altun Ha is the name of an ancient Maya city that is located in the present-day Belize District. It is specifically located 30 miles from Belize City, and in the west, it is 6 miles away from the Caribbean Sea shoreline. The name Altun Ha is considered to be a modern variation to the Maya language, and archaeologists believed that it came from the nearby Rockstone village. Presently, no one knows the ancient name of the ruins.

Belize 1996 Altun Ha (Photo credit: anoldent)

This site's archaeological significance is considered to be one of the most important finds in the study of early human civilizations. Scientific investigations reveal that this city was teeming with human population in 200 BC. Majority of the buildings were constructed during 200 to 900 AD, otherwise knows as the Classic Era for the Mayans, and the city's population was pegged to be somewhere between 9,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. However, historical accounts of massive looting in 900 BC of elite tombs revealed that those from Altun Ha's lower class staged a revolt against their leaders during that time.

2009 02 005 Belize ALTUN HA (Photo credit: Elaine)

900 BC may have signalled the end of Altun Ha's contribution to architecture and infrastructure as there had been no significant elite or ceremonial constructions that have been made 100 years after the massive looting. From this point onwards, Altun Ha's population dwindled down -- and in no time, it regressed back into a highly subsistent agricultural village.

2009 02 005 Belize ALTUN HA (Photo credit: Elaine)

The entire city covers a span of about five square miles, and the center part of the city has the highest concentration of structures; 500 to be exact. Altun Ha is quite famous for the intricately designed temples that were discovered there. The most prominent structure of them all is the 16-foot tall temple-pyramid, which they then referred to as the "Temple for the Masonry Altars". This widely-recognized structure is the logo of "Belikin", Belize's most popular beer.

My view of Altun Ha (Photo credit: Artfulone)
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ruins of altun ha, belize (Photo credit: Jeremy McBride)
Altun Ha (Photo credit: Arne Heggestad)
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Belize - Altun Ha - more ruins (Photo credit: weasello)
Belize - Altun Ha - Carvings (Photo credit: weasello)
Belize - Altun Ha (Photo credit: weasello)

See also