Altun Ha is located approximately 30 miles north of
Belize City. Altun Ha is a Mayan word meaning 'water of the rock.' The nearby village of Rockstone Pond
draws it's name from these ruins.
Altun Ha was discovered by a pilot in from air in 1963.
In 1965 the Royal Toronto Museum launched extensive excavations and restorations of the site, which continued
through 1970. The main site includes thirteen structures clustered within two Classic period plazas.
Today Altun Ha's grounds are meticulously kept and is a popular tourist destination.
Altun Ha was a small farming village settled around the early Maya classic period
250AD-900AD with only 10,000 at it's peek. Altun Ha was an important trading and religious ceremonial center.
Evolution of the temples at Altun Ha continued until about 1,000 AD .
Around the time of the collapse of the Maya empire (in 900AD0 there was some
looting of tombs by the ruling elite of the town. Because of the time period the looting, having occurred just
during the collapse of the empire, it is believed there might of been a revolt in the town by the poor. It is still
unknown if there was actually a revolt nor is anyone certain if this is what lead to the collapse of the Maya
However, after the collapse of the Maya empire, the site remained populated for
about another century although there were no major ceremonial or elite architecture built during that
Altun Ha is where the largest carved jade object in the whole Maya empire was
found, weighing about 10lbs. This carving is a Jade Head that represents the Sun God, Kinich Ahau, whose image can
be seen in the corner of every Belizean banknote. ~ Anthony Benjamin