And another structure which may share an odd historical tie with St. John's is Fort Barlee in Corozal. As we told you last night, that was one of the forts erected in the mid 1800's to fend off the attacking Maya Indians from Santa Cruz, Mexico. Well, just like St. John's it was built of bricks brought to what was then the settlement of Belize as the ballast for ships. Now, what left of those brick forts is being restored. IT'S part of the same effort that's being put into the Mayan site at Santa Rita Corozal. This is from another era in history, but as we found out it is equally fascinating. Dr. Awe explains:..

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology
"You can see here on the tower these are some gun slits where the people inside could have put their guns to look and shoot at anyone attacking the Fort."

Jules Vasquez reporting
Looking through the gun slits in Fort Barlee today you might only see a pair of school children walking down First Street North in Corozal town - but 150 years ago you might have seen an attacking whorde:

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology
"There were several forts like this one that was constructed in northern Belize for the purpose of defending the colony against some of the Maya who were moving in from the Yucatan during the Cast Wars. We know that the Cast War was probably at its peak around the late 1840s to 1850s. The forts were built a little bit after that. Today all that remains of Fort Barlee in Corozal like I said are the 4 corner towers."

Now the towers built from the ruddy ballast bricks that are being restored:

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology
"Part of the work that we are doing is re-pointing putting new mortar between the red bricks. These bricks were brought over from England as balas in the ships that would come and take back things like logwood, Mahogany and other wood products from this area. This is really exciting for us because for a long time these forts have remained abandoned."

Abandoned but not ruined like Fort Cairn and Fort Mundy - and they provide a fascinating glimpse into the Caste War incursions:

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology
"This is where some of the guards that were posted in the towers would have stood and if you notice the angle of this gun position would allow you to turn from one side to the next because of the way that it was constructed. There are several of these going right around the fort, so that the defense would have been able to look and see people trying to attack the fort from any and every angle."

SIF is funding the restoration and conservation of the towers.

As mentioned in the story, Fort Barlee is the last standing Fort and you can see it right in downtown Corozal surrounding the court building, the market and police station.

Channel 7