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             Sunday October 10, 2010 

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Plaza of the Royal Tombs, Nim Li Punit
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Plaza of the Royal Tombs, Nim Li Punit
One unusual feature of Nim Li Punit is the small collection of tombs built into the floor of the Plaza of the Royal Tombs, adjacent to the Plaza of the Stelae.

Three tombs have been discovered here, with the remains of eleven people who are all assumed to be members of the ruling family, which is thought to have had their residences on the plaza itself.

Various treasures were found in these tombs, including ceramics, carved stone, jade and stingray barbs, which were used in religious blood-letting rituals.

Nim Li Punit (/nim li pu nit/) is a Maya Classic Period site in the Toledo District of the nation of Belize, located 40 kilometres north of the town of Punta Gorda, at 16 19' N, 88 47' 60W. Nim Li Punit is sometimes known as Big Hat or Top Hat; the name is Kekchi Maya for "Big Hat", referring to the large elaborate head-dress on a stela sculpture found on site depicting one of the site's ancient kings.

Nim Li Punit is a medium-sized site from the Maya Classic Period, flourishing from the 5th century AD through the 8th century AD. It consists of structures around three plazas, including several step-pyramids, the tallest being 12.2 meters high. The site has a number of carved stelae illustrating the ancient city's rulers. Several stelae are in an unfinished state, suggesting a sudden halt to work. The site is near Belize's Southern Highway and is open to visitors subject to an admission charge.

Photograph by Richard Seaman

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