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
Mayan Pyramid Crushed for Gravel
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)

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. (More Belize stories.)

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