NPR : News

Filed Under:

Road Crew In Belize Destroys Ancient Pyramid

A construction crew in search of gravel to use as road filler used its backhoes to level one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids.

"It's a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and the insensitivity ... they were using this for road fill," Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, said of the destruction at the 2,300-year-old Nohmul pyramid, located in the Orange Walk/Corozal area.

"It's like being punched in the stomach. It's just so horrendous," Awe said Monday of the destruction thought to have occurred last week.

"There is absolutely no way that they would not know that these are Maya mounds," John Moore, also of the Belize Institute, said.

The BBC says only a "small core" of the pyramid was left standing. It said prosecutors were considering criminal charges against the construction company.

Awe noted the ironic tragedy that the swift destruction of the pyramid with modern equipment came after "ancient Maya acquired all this building material to erect these buildings, using nothing more than stone tools ... and carried this material on their heads."

"It's mind-boggling," he said.

According to Past Horizons, the pyramid had already been damaged by a road crew in 1940:

"... one structure was partially demolished to provide road material for the San Pablo to Douglas highway. At least three burial chambers were uncovered during its demolition and while some of the contents were recovered by the authorities, most were either smashed or looted."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Credibility Concerns Overshadow Release Of Gay Talese's New Book

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about Gay Talese's new book, The Voyeur's Hotel. The credibility of the book, which follows a self-proclaimed sex researcher who bought a hotel to spy on his guests through ventilator windows, has been called into question after Farhi uncovered problems with Talese's story.
NPR

Amid Craft Brewery Boom, Some Worry About A Bubble — But Most Just Fear Foam

Fueled by customers' unquenchable thirst for the next great flavor note, the craft beer industry has exploded like a poorly fermented bottle of home brew.
NPR

White House Documents Number Of Civilians Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

The Obama administration issued a long awaited report Friday, documenting the number on civilians who have been accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes. Human rights activists welcome the administration's newfound transparency, though some question whether the report goes far enough.
NPR

Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash Raises Concerns About Self-Driving Cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla car using the "autopilot" feature. NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Alex Davies of Wired about the crash and what it means for self-driving car technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.