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Archaeological find in Downtown San Ignacio, Belize

Excitement built up in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, on Sunday, January 22, 2012, as a routine construction dig turned into an impromptu archaeological excavation when pottery and human remains were discovered on Burns Avenue, one of the principal streets of San Ignacio Town.

Reports from the Institute of Archaeology (IA) in Belmopan indicate that a work crew digging a portion of Burns Avenue to place culverts was given a stop order by the AI when pottery, sherds, obsidian fragments and humans remains were discovered in the large trenches along the length of the street.

To their amazement, archaeologists were seeing these utility workers recovering entire ceramic vessels being taken out from the trenches. The find included shells, sherds of pottery and large entire pots. The Institute of Archaeology and the local Police Department turned the working dig into an archaeological one as excitement built up in working to save as much artifacts and human remains as possible.

With the green light given to start the impromptu dig, students from Galen University joined other the archaeologists as reinforcement.

“Calling in reinforcement and getting tools and buckets, we set up the 1X1 meter unit, and began to descend further beneath the busiest street in San Ignacio,” stated the post on the IA Blogsite.

The dig attracted onlookers and tourists were taking pictures as the team work hard to recover the ancient artifacts. The biggest surprise of the day was when chief Belize Maya archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, showed up to declare that the vessel fragments found thus far were of the Late Pre-Classic Period, which is about 2000 + more years before Flayvas and Mayawalk were even conceived.

After six excavation levels, bags of beautiful chert, nice slipped ceramics, an obsidian flake, lots of shell and jute, and even bone, were unearthed, including the oddly position skeletal remains of a man with heads of deer, antlers and peccary teeth.

“It is truly something interesting for San Ignacio, particularly in 2012, that we can say that the Maya made their presence known as far as down town, and not only on the glamorous hills of Cahal Pech,” concluded the blog report. It will be interesting to see the official reports from the Archaeological Institute once they have more information on their great find. Ambergris Today will keep you posted.

Burns Avenue, where the relics were found, is being lifted and remodeled as part of a $2.7Mil project that includes the building of a multipurpose Welcome Centre. The discoveries will be permanently displayed about 300 feet away, around the corner at the Welcome Centre when construction is completed. (Pictures courtesy of IA and Antonio Beardall)

Burns Avenue, San Ignacio Town, Belize (photo courtesy of Mr. Greedy's Restaurant)Antonio Beardall Research Assistant at Archaeological Department helps with the excavationDr. Jaime Awe, Chief Belize Maya Archaeologist on siteArchaeological Finds in downtown San Ignacio excavationArchaeological Finds in downtown San Ignacio excavationIntact pots were found in excavation downtown San IgnacioBroken pots were also found in excavations downtown San IgnacioRim of vessel in trench wallArchaeological Finds in downtown San Ignacio excavationJosue Ramons at Maya excavation downtown San IgnacioHistorical looking porcelain with blue printHuman skeletal remains at excavation site in downtown San Ignacio

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