The government of Belize has launched an investigation after a contractor destroyed one of the country’s largest and most famous Mayan pyramids – a monument at least 2,300 years old – to extract crushed rock for road-building project.
Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, said the destruction at the Nohmul complex in northern Belize was detected late last week. The ruins are reported to have been around 30m tall, and well-known in the area as the rest of the landscape was flat. Only a small chunk remains.
Belizean police are reported to be conducting an investigation and criminal charges are possible. Belizean law states that any pre-Hispanic ruins are under government protection.
In a statement, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture expressed its outrage at the destruction of the archaeological site.
“This total disregard for Belize’s cultural heritage and national patrimony is callous, ignorant and unforgivable. This expressed disdain for our laws and policies is incomprehensible.”