Now may be a good time to book a holiday to Belize, after builders working for a construction company have near enough destroyed a 2,300 year old Mayan pyramid with diggers and bulldozers in order to extract rock for a new project. Construction workers clawed away at the side of the 100ft tall ancient pyramid, which is part of the Nohmul complex in northern Belize, leaving many wondering how much of the country's rich archaeological heritage is safe.
All that remains of the pyramid, which lay in what is regarded as one of the most important Mayan sites in northern Belize, is the small core at the centre of the site. Authorities have announced that the crushed rock was extracted from the historic site in order to be used for a road-building project.
"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. "It's like being punched in the stomach, it's just so horrendous... these guys knew that this was an ancient structure. It's just bloody laziness."
Though the pyramid stood in the middle of a privately owned sugar cane field, Awe has said that it could not have been mistaken for anything other than a pyramid. Photos of the work have shown diggers hacking at the sides of the pyramids, leaving only the core and what appears to be a narrow Mayan chamber.
The Belizean police force has said it is conducting an investigation into the damage of the site, and that criminal charges were possible. However, this is not the first time police have had to investigate damage to ancient ruins and relics in Belize.
"Bulldozing Maya mounds for road fill is an endemic problem in Belize (the whole of the San Estevan centre has gone, both of the major pyramids at Louisville, other structures at Nohmul, many smaller sites), but this sounds like the biggest yet," said Norman Hammond, a professor of archaeology at Boston University.
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