1000 Amazing Facts Incredible But True Facts About Animals Belize Caves – Fascinating History, Unique Archaeological Experience & Both Soft & Hard Adventures

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Belize Caves – Fascinating History, Unique Archaeological Experience & Both Soft & Hard Adventures

The country of Belize as well as Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula have regions with topography referred to as karst (areas that are limestone shelves full of depressions, holes, & rivers). As a result of this geological phenomenon thousands of caves have been made. These caves are known to the ancient (and modern) Maya, areas where they performed rituals and sacrifices that are scientifically clear through the discovery of large ceramic pots, firecrackers, human bone tools of the adults and children and other important materials.

The Maya believed that these caves were portals to the underworld, the underworld (pronounced Shi-BAHL-bah) and the Maya gods of death were believed to reside in these areas. Traditionally the entrance to Xibalba is a specific cave entrance in Guatemala but it is believed that all caves are sacred and give access to Xibalba.

In Belize archaeologists have discovered through radio carbon dating that the use of these caves is as early as 1000 BC (Preclassic) and continues through AD 800 – 1000 (Terminal Classic). It is also noted that there was a significant increase in ceremonial activity during the Terminal Classic possibly due to the impending decline of the small Maya city-states that occurred during this period. This increase in ceremonial activity in many caves occurred before and during what is referred to as the decline or collapse of the Maya, the social and economic collapse of lowland Maya society, causing major cities to be nearly built AD 800 – 1000 (Terminal Prosperity) Maya period).

Many caves throughout Belize offer scientific as well as soft & high impact adventures. There is a swimming pool that includes tubing, kayaking, and canoeing. These cave sites are generally available with licensed guides and many are managed and protected by the Institute of Archeology (IoA) and the Belize Audubon Society. Many caves are considered archaeological sites and their protection falls under Belize’s antiquities laws and all possible care should be taken during your visit. One of the leading cave researchers in Belize is Dr. Jaime Awe, who is the director of the Institute of Archaeology. Much of the information in this article comes from Maya Cities and Sacred Caves: A Guide to the Maya Sites of Belize by Jaime Awe published in 2006 by Cubola Productions, Belize CA

BARTON CREEK HOLE, BELIZE

Located in the central Cayo region of present-day Belize, archeological evidence shows that Barton Creek Cave was used by the Maya to perform rituals and ceremonies typical of other caves in the area. Early Classical (AD 250) to Late Classical (AD 250). 900). Artifacts and other artefacts include large ceramic jars, human bone implements, ornaments, and modified cave patterns. Many chambers, and narrow areas, within Barton Creek Cave contain clues in which important (ceremonial) equipment was placed.

Activities & Access

Canoeing is available for either a few hours or 1/2-day, the parking lot is about a mile into the cave and there is swimming in the inner lakes. Licensed guides provide tours and restrooms and changing areas are provided. Located approximately 25 minutes from mile marker 64 on West Road (Georgeville).

ACTUN TUNICHIL MUKNAL IHO, BELIZE

Located in the Roaring Creek Valley in Belize’s Cayo region, this cave was not reported in any detail until the late 1980s. Important archaeological finds include stelae in upright positions (ancient Maya stone monuments ) and ceramics including a Maya Gbajumo chocolate pot that was probably entered into a cave to celebrate a ritual initiation. Other remains include human bone tools of adults and children, stone tools made of chert and obsidian, cut stone tools such as biface points and ground stone tools with manos and metates. Actun Tunichil Muknal was occupied by the Maya from the Early Classic to the Terminal Classic (AD 300 – 900) as with other caves in this area the Maya used this cave for activities such as blood purification, rituals of materials and sacrifices to appease the various gods. gods, and leaders. It is not surprising that when Tunich Muknal was first occupied the Maya used more open areas and did not enter the interior until later.

Activities & Access

Actun Tunichil Muknal entrance hole to the south of Teakettle Village in Cayo area; it is a somewhat difficult hike as visitors must walk the last two miles past Roaring Creek several times. In order to enter the cave visitors must swim across a pool of water. Only licensed guides are allowed into the cave and you can make arrangements either through your hotel or lodge, your tour operator, or in the town of San Ignacio.

CHE CHEM HA IHO, BELIZE

Formerly known as Vaca Falls Cave, located in the Cayo area about eight miles southeast of Benque Viejo Town, this cave has many tunnels and chambers. The cave is located on the property of the Morales family. As is the case with Actun Tunichil Muknal, Che Chem Ha Cave was not discovered until the 1980s. Archaeologists believe that this cave was used from about the middle of the Preclassic (900 – 300 BC) to the Late Classic Period (AD 850) . Located within the deepest area of ​​the cave is the Stela Chamber which houses an intact stela that the ancient Maya lived in, also notable for the fact that it is unlike any other cave. within the area there is no recovery of human bone material. A significant number of large ceramic jars were found in association with plant remains showing the importance of agricultural practices and activities among the Maya who lived near this cave. Another interesting recovery is that of a well-preserved hardwood torch that would have been used to light the chambers and activities carried out by the Maya in the cave.

Activities & Access

Located approximately 8 miles from the town of Benque Viejo in the Cay region of Belize, Chem Ha cave can be visited by licensed Belize guides and the Morales family that owns the property provides accommodations, food , accommodation, and tours. There is a 45-minute hike to access the cave and within the cave there are ladders to access various chambers.

Slots Slot System, BELIZE

Located on Hummingbird Road in the Cayo area, the caves that are part of this system include Footprint, Waterfall, Big Drop, and Petroglyph. The ancient Maya used these caves from approximately AD 300 – 900 for many rituals and ceremonies as evident by the archaeological remains recovered within the cave system that include ceramic vessels (including large jars ), stone tools, scrapers, and skeletal remains of both humans. and animals. Presumably these remains are all remnants of important structures built from the Preclassic to the Classic Maya periods.

Activities & Access

The Institute of Archeology now manages a portion of the Cave Department and in doing so collects entrance fees, maintains the cave, and provides a caretaker. The Caves Department offers a simple running water system whose water temperature is 65 to 75 degrees throughout the year. All tours are guided and usually include headlamps and tubes. As you move through the water system you walk between cave chambers and open outdoor areas providing a dramatic contrast between temperature, environment, and scenery. The Caves Department is easily accessed on the Hummingbird Highway and can be done as a day trip from Belize City or as a 1/2 day trip from San Ignacio or some of the many jungle lodges like Pook’s Hill, Hidden Valley , or Maya Mountain Lodge.

Access

You can also get more information on all the above activities here: http://www.beyondtouring.com

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