Years ago, I watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel about Mayan temples and ruins.
It fascinated me. So, within the first couple of months upon landing in Belize, we raced to visit one of the Mayan Temples: “Xunantunich” (meaning “Stone Woman” in the Yucatec Maya language).
The official Belizean website lists this Mayan Temple as one of the top-ten sites to visit.
The Xunantunich temple was renamed “Stone Woman” in the Yucatec Maya language because its original name was lost to history.
This may have been because of the strange appearances of a “beautiful statuesque Maya maiden”, dressed in traditional Mayan attire, and “dazzling in the rays of the rising sun” (quoting the Belize site above), as she attempted to lead those who had spotted her into a mysterious cave beneath the Xunantunich ruins.
No one has caught her yet, as the maiden disappears when help comes near.
This may even be her burial site.
Mayan Temples – Newly Discovered Artifacts & History
When I visited Xunantunich some six years ago, large overgrown mounds to the left and right of the temple were ongoing, active archeological sites, and they’re still being fully excavated today.
They found newly discovered artifacts within the last 3 – 4 years, dating from around 638 A.D., boasting carved jade pieces, and hieroglyphs in carved frieze form, as shown on Belize Channel 5 News report – 2017.
There is a visitor’s center on the lower level of this enormous mountaintop megalopolis (or was in its heyday), when it had a thriving population of 200,000, or roughly half of what the total population of Belize is today (405,757 – Aug.19, 2021)!
In ancient times, this was thought to be a community center with government buildings, including a ballpark (with elevated hoops) and/or playground areas, water facilities, and even a burial site for the reigning King’s Queen, “Lady Batsek”, who is possibly the “Stone Lady”?
Mayan Temples – According to Wikipedia Sources
Xanuntunich: ” …served as a civic ceremonial center to the Belize Valley region in the Late and Terminal Classic Periods.” (LeCount, Lisa J. “Ka’kaw Pots & Common Containers: Creating Histories and Collective Memories Among the Classic Maya of Xunantunich, Belize.” Ancient Mesoamerica 21.2 (2010): 341–51).
“At this time, when the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in the Belize Valley.” And “Farmers that fed the people living in Xunantunich typically lived in small villages, divided into kin-based residential groups. The farms were spread out widely over the landscape, though the center of Xunantunich itself is rather small in comparison. These villages were economically self-sufficient, which may be the reason why Xunantunich lasted as long as they did; they were not dependent on the city to provide for them.” (Fagan, Brian M. “Xunantunich: ‘The Maiden of the Rock'” From Black Land to Fifth Sun: The Science of Sacred Sites. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1998. 302-31.)
Mayan Temples – Legends of Xunantunich and Beyond
In this photo, standing on the Xunantunich Temple, looking down in the direction of the ball court, shaded by some trees which are ancient “Allspice” trees, providing delightful scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, still growing strong and dropping spice balls the size of peppercorns.
These could’ve been used in cooking, baking, or as burial spices.
Mayan Temples – Who Build These Enormous Structures?
Notice the size of the mega stairs. They were big enough for me to justify at least two steps within each stair – that’s for normal-size people, and it turned out to be an exhausting climb because of that.
Whoever built these stairs made them for people MUCH LARGER than me, or the Mayans, who measure around 5’5″.
These steps required a GIANT-WALKING gait or stride.
Many respected researchers, historians, authors, anthropologists, producers, and videographers have written and filmed about these ancient races of beings classified as “giants”.
They are: Zecharia Sitchin, Steve Quayle, Mary Sutherland, L.A. Marzulli, Gary Stearman, Rus Dizdar, Richard J. Dewhurst, Graham Hancock, Erich von Daniken, Jim Viera & Hugh Newman, plus others around the world (most come from a Biblical perspective, though not all), and the list goes on.
This photo here depicts a grinding mill of sorts to feed the elite rulers. But it looks also as if they could have used it as a rainwater capture system for clear water, for bathing, or washing sacrificial animals and/or the “chosen ones” prior to, or after temple sacrifices.
Mayan Temples and Sports?
Locals say that the ball court hoops attached vertically at about 6′ high onto stone walls, like basketball hoops installed sideways (now removed and on display) were there to kick the game-winner’s head through. It was the victor of the futbol-style (Spanish for soccer) game who would have the honor to be chosen for sacrifice to the gods, and then served to Royalty for dinner.
Most of the giant races were considered Royals, seen as gods with red hair on elongated skulls, with six fingers on each hand, six toes on each foot, and standing 12′ to 30′ feet, that’s 3.7-9,1 meters tall. I also noticed at this temple grooves cut into the stone, running from the top to the bottom, which I thought had to be rain gutters, knowing how slippery rocks get when wet. After my research, I now believe these grooves were used to carry the sacrificial blood down and away from the top of Mayan Temples in much the same way as slaughter houses wash away animal blood.
In this short, 3-1/2 minute video on the Caves of Belize, an archeologist describes various “religious” activities of the ancient Mayan people, from body piercings and blood-letting to human sacrifices. These were ancient people with antiquated ways, and unfortunately, that’s how they kept their populations under control, using fear – they had no jails that I’ve seen.
Other Mayan temples and temple ruins within Belizean borders are: “Altun Ha” (or Rock Stone pond), “Caracol” (Spanish for Shell), “Cahal Pech” (means Place of Ticks), “Santa Rita” the remains of Mayan city Chactemal (modern-day Chetumal, Mexico, located in Corozol, Belize), “Lamanai” (or Submerged Crocodile), “Cerro Maya” (partially underwater – Spanish for Maya Hill), “Barton Creek Cave”, “Nim li Punit” (or the Big Hat) is part of the expansive Guatemalan/Mayan city of Tikal, and “Lubaantun Maya Ruins Toledo”.
What are the legends and folklore where you’ve landed? Do share those with us!
by: Cheri Majors, M.S.