City of Lubaantun

Lubaantun is the ruined city from the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. The city is located in southern Belize, Central America. Lubaantun is 26 miles northwest from Punta Gorda, in the Belize District of Toldeo, and is 2 miles from the village of San Pedro, Columbia. The city sits 200 feet above sea level, on a ridge, overlooking the Columbia river valley. The city was comprised of five large plazas, eleven large towers and three ball courts.

Lubaantun is unique from other archaeological sites of this period based on a number of factors. The most significant factor is the number of small ceramic artifacts that have been found at the site. These detailed objects are believed to have been charmstones or sacred ritualistic relics.

The city was at it peak during the classic Maya era, from about 730 AD to 890 AD. After this period the city was seems to have been deserted. The architecture of Lubaantun differs from most typical Maya classical lowland sites of this period. The structures of the city are built from large stone blocks that were not set with mortar. The blocks were primarily black slate, instead of limestone, which was common to the area. Several of the constructions have what is called “in and out” masonry, in which every second descending level protrudes slightly from the one beneath it. The corners of the pyramids were all rounded and did not have stone structures at the top. It is assumed that at the top of each pyramid were constructions that were made from perishable materials, like grass and wood.

The center of the city was elevated on a ledge overlooking two rivers. It has been thought that this positioning was very strategic. The original ancient name for the city is unknown. “Lubaantuun” is the modern Mayan name for the city that means “place of fallen stones”. The name refers to the fact that the construction of the site was unique, as each stone was measured and cut to precisely fit next to the opposing stone and is not held in place by any type of mortar. As time has passed, and the ground has shifted, the stones have shifted and fallen.

Based on the volume of whistle figurines and several burial tombs that were discovered at the site it is believed that Lubaantun was an administrative, religious, political, and commercial center. The site was used primarily for occasional festivals, religious ceremonies and ball games.

Related projects: Labyrinth of Egypt, The Ball Court at Chichén Itzá

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