Guide to Belize .info



Chose Page in English Home Wählen Sie diese Seite in Deutsch

GtB The Jade
                                Head of the Sun God Kinich Ahau was
                                found in Altun Ha Belize

Mayan Links




Altun Ha

Altun Hais the name given ruins of an ancient Maya city in Belize, located in the Belize District about 50 kilometer (30 miles) north of Belize City. "Altun Ha" is a modern name in the Maya language, coined by  translating the name of the nearby village of Rockstone Pond. 

GtB Map of
                                  the Mayan Site Altun Ha. Click to
Click any Pictures to enlarge
Content theft
JTBelizeresort. com has copied all the content found including; the text, our photos and our map with the copyright. JT Belize Village is such a criminal organization, they even removed the copyright note from our map. We warn every traveler to do any bookings with this company and we will inform the Belize Tourism Board about this DMCA enfringement too.

The ancient name of Altun Ha is at present unknown. Altun Ha has two plazas and 13 structures, the most famous being the Temple of Masonry Altars. Stone steps enable you to climb to the top.  It's been surmised that Altun Ha was once a significant trading center for both jade and obsidian. Archeological investigations had shown, that Altun Ha was occupied by 200 BC  to 900 AD, when the site may have had a population of about 10,000 people. 
About 900 AD there was some looting of elite tombs of the site, which some think is suggestive of a revolt against the site's rulers. After this the population dwindled, with a moderate surge of reoccupation in the 12th century before declining again to a small agricultural village.

GtB Altun Ha Maya site in Belize
The ruins of the ancient structures had their stones reused for residential construction of the agricultural village of Rockstone Pond in modern times, but the ancient site of Altun Ha did not come to the attention of archeologists until 1963, when the existence of a sizable ancient site was recognized from the air by a bush pilot and amateur Mayanist Hal Ball.

Masonry Altars

The Adjacent Plaza B is dominated by the sites largest temple, The Temple of Masonry Altar, which rises 60 feet above the plaza and was the last in a sequence of buildings raised on this spot. A drawing of this structure is the logo of Belize's leading brand of beer, "Belikin" and you will find it on every bottle.

GtB The
                                Temple of the Masorny Altars, in Altun
                                Ha Belize
This temple was probably the main focus of religious ceremonies, with a single stairway running up the front to an altar at the top.  Seven layers of tombs were found under a central stairway block, now exposed.

The most impressive was the earliest. Inside the intact crypt, lying on the right wrist of the skeleton entombed there was a jade head representing the sun god Kinich Ahau. Smaller jade objects were also found, along with pottery vessels, modified shells foreign to the area, a Pyrex mirror, and a number of beautifully crafted eccentric flints. The body was originally covered by Jaguar and Cougar skins and the entire tomb was covered in red pigment.

If you take the time and effort to climb to the top of the largest Temple in Altun Ha with 16 meter (54 ft) high, you'll discover an inspiring, breathtaking panoramic view of the entire site and the surrounding jungle.

Sun God Kinich Ahau 

The jade-head sculpture of Kinich Ahau, see Picture on the left side, was found inside the Temple of the Masonry Altars is a national treasure. It's giant head of the Sun God, standing 6 inches in diameter and weighing in at 10 pounds, is also the largest Mayan-era jade carving ever discovered.

GtB On Top of the Masonry Altars,
                                was the Head of Kinich Ahau buried
Kinich Ahau was also know by the name Ah Xoc Kin, who was associated with poetry and music. Kinich Ahau  was the patron god of the city Itzamal. Supposedly, he visited the city at noon everday. He would descend as a macaw and consume prepared offerings. Kinich Ahau is usually shown with jaguar-like features. Kinich Ahau also wears the symbol of Kin, a Mayan day.

Temple of the Green Tomb

Temple A-1 also known as The Temple of the Green Tomb, is the most imposing structure in Plaza A. The temple was built during several construction periods in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. Several minor modifications continued to be made in succeeding centuries.
GtB On right: The Temple
                                of the Green Tomb
Found hidden deep inside this temple was a single tomb dating back to about A.D. 550. It is called the "Green Tomb," because it contained almost 300 jade objects. Other artifacts included, jewelry, shell necklaces, ornaments, pottery vessels, skin flints, the remains of a Maya Book and for ritual bloodletting stingray spines. The tomb was constructed in a manner that is unique among Mayan sites to those at Altun Ha.

Temple A3

The structure A3 rises in tiers with a broad stairway on the plaza side.  At the base of the stairs was a carved limestone altar for a unique offering. It depicted a person seating on the throne speaking to another individual, kneeling before him.

GtB Altun Ha with the unique A3
The original addition of plaster masks on the stair-side outsets of A3 and the existence of elite residences and construction of temples indicate the first evidence that at A. D. 450 the developed institution of kingship existed at Altun Ha.

Altun Ha Tour

Altun Ha is the closest Maya Site to be Belize City and is often used as a half a day trip together with the Belize Zoo, Old Belize, Cave Tubing or Zip Lining. There are no regular scheduled public Bus Trips to Altun Ha, but if you like to travel with the locals, just take a Bus for 2 US$ to Crooked Tree and sign up for a tour with a licensed Guides there. The most expensive way is to visit on a tour from Belize City. 

You can easily travel cost effective in 45 minutes from Belize City to Altun Ha with a rented car or a take taxi and negotiate the fare. If you drive yourself, take the Northern Highway out of Belize City. About 20 miles (32 km) out, you will see a turn-off to the east, with a sign reading "Altun Ha." 12 miles later (19 km), there is a road to the west, also with Altun Ha signs, and about 2 miles (3 km) further to the ruins.

If you need a map of the Altun Ha Site, at our Maya Site Maps page, there is a printable version available for download.

Bring along: Good shoes, sunglasses, sun shade, sun bloc, bug spray, camera.



GTB Weather

Mostly sunshine.

Quick News

Site Search



GtB Payed Ads Placeholder


 Guide to Belize GTB a service from At ease in Belize  Ltd.     Video Game News Blog and Forum     Belize Real Estate Listing     Guide to Belize Home. The Belize Guide      At ease in Belize, life is like a breeze.     © 2002-2015  GTB Belize-UK-USA-Canada