Xunantunich | A Maya Ruin

Our first trip to a Maya ruin in Belize, Xunantunich was spectacular!  It was smoking hot in the sun, but we endured the heat in order to climb to the top of El Castillo, at 136 feet it's Belize's second tallest structure by only one foot.

Xunantunich Maya Site | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Xunantunich Maya Site | San Jose Succotz, Belize

Xunantunich was first explored in the 1800’s by Dr. Thomas Gann a British medical officer. The first recorded photograph of the site was taken in 1904 and displayed in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for many years. After this, activities at the site were abandoned until 1924, with the return of Gann. Records show that in his second visit, he unearthed much Maya treasures, history of which have been lost and the whereabouts unknown. It is believed and quite possible that many museums and private collectors of Maya Artifacts are displaying these items, with no idea of their origin.

-from www.belize.com

Xunantunich Maya Site | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Welcome to Xunantunich

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Looking east toward El Castillo with Altar 1 in foreground

Xunantunich Maya Site | View From El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Jungle View Ruins

In comparison to other neighboring sites, the history of the Maya at Xunantunich is relatively short. Early Belize Maya settlers may have established a small village at the site during the Middle ,Preclassic (600-300 BC) period, but the ancient city, as we know it, rose to prominence and declined between AD 700 to 1000. This rather late development is unusual because it indicates that while most other cities in the region were waning during the troubled Terminal Classic period (AD 800-900), the fortunes of Xunantunich were on the rise. A well developed site, Xunantunich is on the Belize.com Top Ten Maya Sites of Belize list.

-from www.belize.com

Xunantunich Maya Site | View Up El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Steps Up to El Castillo

Xunantunich Maya Site | View Up El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

El Castillo Looming

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Atop El Castillo of Xunantunich Maya Site

The last date recorded on a stela (Stela 9) at the site is AD 830. Thereafter we know that activity continued into the Early Postclassic period (AD 900-1000) but by this time the pace of development was nowhere what it was in the ninth century. The Early Postclassic period is also very unclear and activities during this time may have been associated with small groups who attempted to reoccupy the city after abandonment.

-from www.belize.com

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Northeast View from El Castillo

Xunantunich Maya Site | View From El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Watch Your Step

Xunantunich Maya Site | View From El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

View of Cayo from El Castillo

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

View from the back of El Castillo with Guatemala in the distance

Another Mayan ruin in Belize, Cahal Pech, can be viewed by clicking the provided link.

Xunantunich Maya Site | View From El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

View of the Cayo District

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Southwest side of El Castillo

Xunantunich Maya Site | View From El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Xunantunich

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Architectural Photographer Jason Humbracht

Hieroglyphs of El Castillo

For tips on shooting with a wide angle lens, go to my post Wide Angle Photography Tips.

Xunantunich Maya Site | El Castillo | San Jose Succotz Belize | Photo taken by Indiana Photographer Jason Humbracht in 2015

Looking up to El Castillo

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5 Comments

  1. nico January 23, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    Spetactular!!

    • jhumbracht January 23, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks Nico.

  2. Tamra Kelly January 23, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    J – You look a little sunkissed. Your photos look like they’re straight out of a travel brochure. Such talent! How many hours are you ahead of US?

    • jhumbracht January 23, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

      Thanks Tam. Ya the sun is crazy powerful…way hotter than Costa Rica! We are 1 hour behind, so Chicago time.

  3. Suyash Chopra February 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Splendid photo. And so much information about the place. Your blog tempt me to visit it some day. 🙂