About Nim Li Punit Mayan Ruins
Nim Li Punit, meaning "Big Hat" in Maya, is a small site in the Toledo District. It is siutated on a ridge in the foothills of the Maya Mountains just off the Southern Highway, 25 miles north of Punta Gorda.
* Nim Li Punit is regarded as a ceremonial center
* The site consists of two plazas (one higher than the other).
* 25 Stelae (8 are carved)
* The largest structure is 33-40 feet above the plaza level and is constructed of dry sandstone,
typical of sites in southern Belize.
* 3 plaza areas
* 1 ballcourt
The concentration of so many stelae makes this a unique site. The south group staelae are the most impressive, with one stelae in particular showing a warlord with a fancy headdress, giving it the name "Big Hat". The site was largely occupied in the late Classic period.
Nim Li Punit was "discovered" by oil company workers in 1976. Government Archaeologist Jaime Awe and Norman Hammond began to clear and investigate the site shortly thereafter. Later, Barbara McLeod did a preliminary survey of the hieroglypic inscriptions on the carved stela. In 1983, Richard Leventhal surveyed the site, when another steal was found, as well as a royal tomb, which yielded 36 cermaic vessels and other valuable artifacts.
As with Lubaantun, the MASD Project in the 1990's also excavated and conserved several structures at the site and erected a new visitor's center. During excavations, a carved Late Classic Period steal was discovered and a royal tomb was found in the central acropolis. The carved steal is particulary interesting because it contains the emblem glyph of Copan. This indicates that the sites in southern Belize may have had political relations with their larger neighbors in Honduras.
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