New hieroglyphic panels, royal tomb found at Mayan site in Belize

Hieroglyphic panels, royal tomb recently discovered at Mayan site in Belize sheds new light on significance of the area

Learn more about the discoveries at a free presentation with the archaeologist

New hieroglyphic panels, royal tomb found at Mayan site in Belize

Learn more about the significance at a free presentation with the archaeologist in Cave Creek

By ROGER KEARNEY

AAS-DFC

CAVE CREEK – The Arizona Archaeology Society-Desert Foothills Chapter (AAS-DFC) will be holding its March meeting with Dr. Jamie Awe about recent discoveries at Xunantunich in Belize on the evening of March 13, and it is free to attend.

Doctor Awe presents, “Sleuthing the Past: Unravelling the Political Implications and Significance of Recent Discoveries at Xunantunich through the Application of Cutting Edge Scientific Methodologies and Good Old-Fashion Archaeological Investigations.” 

Pictured: One of the hieroglyphic panels that was recently discovered at Xunantunich in Belize that provides new information implicating that Belize Valley may have been a significant focal point of the socio-political landscape in the Late Classic Maya lowlands.
Pictured: One of the hieroglyphic panels that was recently discovered at Xunantunich in Belize that provides new information implicating that Belize Valley may have been a significant focal point of the socio-political landscape in the Late Classic Maya lowlands.

In 2016, the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project made several significant discoveries at the site of Xunantunich. 

Besides caches of eccentric flints and a large royal tomb with sumptuous grave goods, the new finds included two hieroglyphic panels that implicate four Classic period Maya kingdoms; among them that of the legendary Snake-head kings. 

In this presentation, Dr. Awe demonstrates how the combination of cutting-edge scientific approaches along with good old-fashioned archaeological investigations can significantly influence the accuracy of our interpretations, as well as our efforts to unravel past cultural events. 

The discoveries also serve to demonstrate that despite being the focus of explorations for more than a century, the site of Xunantunich continues to provide us with intriguing new information on the significant roles played by Belize Valley as the focal point of the socio-political landscape in the Late Classic Maya lowlands.

Pictured: The Mayan excavation site of Xunantucich in Belize.
Pictured: The Mayan excavation site of Xunantucich in Belize.

Docotor Awe is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University (NAU), Director of the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project, and Emeritus member of the Belize Institute of Archaeology. 

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Anthropology at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, and his Ph.D. from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.  After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Awe taught in the anthropology departments of Trent University, then at the Universities of New Hampshire, Galen, and Montana. 

Between 2003 to 2014, he served as the first Director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology where he was responsible for managing the archaeological heritage of the country.  He subsequently joined the faculty at NAU in 2014. 

During his extensive career in archaeology, Dr. Awe has conducted important research and conservation at most of the major archaeological sites in Belize.  He has published numerous articles in various books, journals, and magazines. 

His research has been featured in several national and international television documentaries.  For many years, Dr. Awe also led the Government of Belize’s archaeology outreach and education programs, writing books such as “101 Questions and Answers about the Ancient Maya of Belize and Maya Cities and Sacred Caves: A Guide to the Maya Sites of Belize.” 

His other publications cover topics that span from the Preceramic period to the time of European contact.  Dr. Awe continues his active program of research in Belize, conducting multi-disciplinary investigations with his colleagues and graduate students at the major Maya cities of Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, Xunantunich and Lower Dover.

The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the community room (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepard of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, in downtown Cave Creek (near the Dairy Queen). 

AAS-DFC meets September through May on the second Wednesday of each month in Cave Creek and features well known guest lecturers during these meetings.  The meetings are open to the general public at no cost. For more information visit AAS-DFC’s website at: azarchsoc.wildapricot.org/desertfoothills.