This Late Classic ceremonial center is noted for its unusual style of construction distinctive of southern Belize. The large pyramids and residences are made of stone blocks with no mortar binding them together. The buildings on top of the pyramids were made from perishable materials rather than masonry and hence do not remain. The name is Maya for “Place of Fallen Stones.”
In the late 19th century the site was reported to the government of Belize by inhabitants in a settlement near Punta Gorda. In 1903 the governor of the colony of then British Honduras commissioned Dr. Thomas Gann to investigate the site. The site which named the Rio Grande Ruins was renamed Lubaantun by Dr. Thomas Gann in 1924.
Intensive excavations were conducted between 1915 and 1927 which yielded a wealth of information on the ancient Maya of Southern Belize. Notable finds include 3 carved ball courts discovered by R. E. Merwin which are housed at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University. In 1924 Gann returned to Lubaantun along with F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, where the latter claimed to have unearthed the Crystal Skull of Doom at the site.
Archaeologists who have excavate at Lubaantun include T. A. Joyce and J. Eric Thompson who led British Museum expeditions in 1926 and 1927 respectively. While the archaeology of Lubaantun was greatly expounded, numerous artifacts from Lubaantun are now held at the British Museum.
Work resumed at Lubaantun until 1970 when Norman Hammond, a PhD student at Cambridge started a season of excavation at the site. Hammond, spurred by lack of information on this region of the Maya Lowlands proceeded to map the ceremonial center and the area around it. Recent excavations have been conducted by Dr. Geoffrey Braswell of the University of California San Diego, to understand the relation between sites in southern Belize.
Lubaantun is unique for megalithic terraces built in the ‘stepped perpendicular’ style which was identified by T. A Joyce and interpreted by J. Eric Thompson. Like other sites in the south of Belize, Lubaantun was built without the use of mortar and the superstructures were constructed from perishable materials and do not remain today. Few carved monuments were found in comparison to nearby sites such as Nim Li Punit and Pusilha however many ceramic figurines and ocarinas of superb quality have been unearthed.
Lubaantun is located north of the Colombia River, one mile past the village of San Pedro Colombia, and is accessible by public transportation. From Belmopan, take the Hummingbird Highway for 45 miles to the junction of the Southern Highway Exit. Turn right unto the Southern Highway and travel an additional 70 miles (2 hours) until you reach the Silver Creek cut off. Travel through the villages of San Miguel and San Pedro Columbia. Exit right on the all weather gravel road and continue for about 1 1/2 miles until you reach the reserve.
365 days in the year from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fees & reservations
Belizeans: BZD $5.00
Non-Belizeans: BZD $10.00
Belizeans enter FREE on Sundays and Public and Bank Holidays, take along some form of ID!
School groups and Government Officials need to contact the IA Office prior to their visit for an official pass.
Flora & Fauna