Mayan Pyramid Crushed—for Gravel
Belizean road crew wrecks ancient temple
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2013 1:13 AM CDT
Updated May 18, 2013 1:15 PM CDT
The damaged sloping sides of the Nohmul complex, one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids, are visible in this image released by Jaime Awe, head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology.   (AP Photo/Jaime Awe)

(Newser) – Archeologists have been horrified to discover that one of the largest Mayan pyramids in Belize has been almost completely annihilated by road crews looking for an easy source of gravel. The 2,300-year-old temple at the heart of the Nohmul complex—at 60 feet, one of the country's tallest structures—was ripped down with bulldozers and backhoes by a crew that threatened reporters with machetes, USA Today reports.

"We can't salvage what has happened out here—it's an incredible display of ignorance," a government archeologist tells 7NewsBelize. Using the ancient structure as roadfill represents an "incredible inversion of value, that what the Maya built with stone tools and manual labour ages ago is being demolished with heavy equipment, because these contractors are too lazy to find a proper quarry," another archeologist says. The complex sits on private land, but Belizean law protects all pre-Hispanic ruins and criminal charges may be filed.

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Showing 3 of 109 comments
Dunstan Harding
Nov 13, 2013 12:11 PM CST
How horrible! Belize can ill afford to commit cultural atrocities of this magnitude. They stand condemned before the world. I've visited the Mayan sites in Mexico and realize how important they are to the patrimony of the Mexican people and to building national pride in their Mayan history and culture. These people in Belize are a pack of stupid fools!
BCS
May 19, 2013 2:58 PM CDT
The only way this won't happen again, is if they put those in charge of this operation, in prison, or at least sue them for all of their profits, that way they realize they labored for nothing and lost money in the end
K.KRANK
May 19, 2013 10:11 AM CDT
I hope they got some good concrete or pea gravel out of it at least. And while they're at it, flatten that ground somewhat, see if they can get some condos, a swimming pool & a golf course in there. They can call it Mayan Estates lol set it up as a REIT & sell it to investors, or better yet, time-share it lol