“There arrived at that time a canoe long as a galley and eight feet wide, made of a single tree trunk.”
Many times, when we think about Columbus, we think about his first voyage. We think that he simply came and left, but there is more…there were other adventures. Ferdinand, Columbus’ second son, accompanied his father and his older half brother on his last voyage. He would later write his father’s biography entitled “The life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus” where he told the account of the fourth voyage, which was largely regarded as a failure in his book. He wrote of two hurricanes, being shipwrecked and marooned, but also of discovery.
As Belizeans, we are very superstitious people, and so is the rest of the Caribbean. All areas of Mesoamerica have their own traditional folktales and legends, and within the Maya territory, there are numerous characters and stories. Xtabai is what many would consider to be the most malevolent of them all. The very mention of her name is enough to bring chills to someone’s entire body. The character is not fully understood, which brings even more mystery to its motives and is best described as a demon.
The early explorers, adventurers and archeologist believed that the ancient Maya were quiet people that lived in the forests, in harmony with their surroundings. Slowly, over time, they realized that these ancient people were actually people. They slashed and burned jungles to plant their corn. They hunted and domesticated wild animals like the wild turkey, great curassow and collared picary to be used as meat. They mined large open quarries and burned limestone for lime production so that they could later make mortar and plaster. Another trait they had was that they waged wars with each other.
There were many interesting presentations at the BAAS 2015 and, for me, the most captivating was the one delivered by Dr. Jason Yeger and their discovery of a shell goret at Buena Vista del Cayo. Made from marine shell, the species is still undetermined because of it was so heavily modified. It was likely worn and suspended from the neck, as indicated by two drilled holes. It also has a concave shape and is 13cm by 9cm, likely dating to AD 450. The disk has hieroglyphic text across the top half and an ancestral head profile looking downwards. The glyphs name the bearer of the goret as being Naah Uti’ K’ab and it was likely found within his grave.
Christmas Day is certainly a great time to spend with the family watching classic movies or hosting a party with enough food to feed fifty, and plenty of drinks flowing, but for most tour guides of San Ignacio, our Christmas Day is spent dealing with rustic roads and occasionally rain. Tours leave early to Mayan sites and caves. I was so very fortunate to have spent it with the Women’s Group of San Antonio, Cayo. This is certainly a great tour and addition to tour packages at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. It gives an insight to the anthropological side of our Mayan history as normally we visit sites and go deep into archeology. I have always thought that it lacks “daily life” of the Maya.