Caracol Belize, January 14, 2016
Dave, Bill and I rented a Chevy Tracker to go to Caracol, the largest Maya ruin in Belize-
We were told we had to enter Mountain Pine Ridge with a military escort but by the time we got to the departure point, they had already left. We were still allowed to make our own way. To begin with, the trees were deciduous-
And then as if by magic, became coniferous-
then back to deciduous. The roads were horrific, filled with potholes and erosionalf crevices. It didn't help that we had a broken front left tie rod so Bill and Dave drove very carefully and slowly!
The ruins were first discovered in 1937 and the first visible stone monuments were recorded in 1950. Most of the original stelaes are in the University of Pennsylvania.
The site dates from around AD650 and Caracol might have been as large as 70 square miles. There are over 40 miles of roads and they think there might have been as many as 150,000 people living here. There was no water supply so they built large reservoirs. Farming was done on terraces. Approximately 5000 of 36,000 structures have been found.
Caana (Sky Place) is 141 feet high - the tallest structure in the whole country! It is believed it was completed in AD800. It contained the remains of a woman, possibly Lady Batz' Ek who married into the Caracol dynasty around 584. Looking up-
During the late Classical Period, people used personal ceramic caches modelled as human, God and bird heads and lip covers that were placed one on top of the other. Human fingers were found inside the lip covers-
The jungle has completely taken over the site with trees growing out of mounds of dirt that cover former buildings-
On the way back, we stopped at Rio Ponds for a swim. The water was fairly warm once you got used to it and we were happy to know that it's barely off the main road-
A sign indicating one of the many speed bumps! Luckily, the only bumps we went over were made of asphalt!
Tomorrow might just be a chill day!