While most Mayan archaeological sites can be described as "ancient," Cuello deserves a different description. Nearly all cities of the Mayan civilization have revealed a cultural burgeoning beginning around 900 B.C. Recent excavations at Cuello have shattered that perception and pushed the start date of Mayan sprawl all the way back to 2600 B.C. Carbon-14 dating of wood found in what appeared to be postholes proved the area had been inhabited more than 4000 years ago.
Further excavation revealing layer upon layer of plastered flooring demonstrated a continuity of occupation through to the Classic Period. Moreover, fragments of pottery revealing previously unknown patterns demonstrate an artistic influence that predates most artwork of the time. Such discoveries may indicate that Cuello was the predecessor of Mayan communities in northern Belize and surrounding areas.
Image at right: Ceramic Head Found at Cuello
Cuello lies four miles west of Orange Walk Town and, although undeveloped for tourists, can be accessed by road or by air (via Gallon Jug). Let your imagination transport you back in time as you sit atop a pyramid built thousands of years before you were born.
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