Cahal Pech is located near San Ignacio in the Cayo District. The site was a palatial, hilltop home for an elite Maya family, and though most major construction dates to the Classic period, evidence of continuous habitation has been dated to as far back as 1200 BCE during the Early Middle Preclassic period, making Cahal Pech one of the oldest recognizably Maya sites in Western Belize.
The site rests high above the banks of the Macal River and is strategically located to overlook the confluence of the Macal River and the Mopan River. The site is a collection of 34 structures, with the tallest temple being about 25 meters in height, situated around a central acropolis. The site was abandoned in the 9th century CE for unknown reasons.
The name Cahal Pech, meaning “Place of ticks” in the Yucatec Maya language, was given when the area was used as pasture during the first archaeological studies in the 1950s.
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