Freedom8 Mesoamerica


sprawls over 53 acres atop a hill overlooking Chetumal Bay in northern Belize. Across the bay lies the town of Corozal. Cerros can be reached by a short boat ride from Corozal. Its location provides a beautiful panorama of the surrounding region. The New River empties into the Bay southwest of the ruins. The name cerros means "Hill" in Mayan. Because of its location it is believed to have been an important coastal trade town during the late pre-Classic, with a life span of 400 B.C. to 100 A.D. The proximity of the New River provided an important link with the other major Maya sites like Lamanai and supported a sea-borne trade. Some of the most prominent items traded include jade and obsidian. Its tallest temple rises 65 feet above the plaza floor, and the site includes three large acropolises which dominate several plazas bordered by pyramids. Two of these structures possess walls with large masks. Tombs and ball courts have also been excavated. Because of Cerros' seaside location erosion has been a problem. The rate of erosion and the lack of funding for preservation has necessitated the covering of much of the artwork and carvings with plaster for preservation making viewing some important items difficult or impossible.