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Journaling- Xunantunich is an Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 70 miles west of Belize City and .62 miles from the Guatemala border. It served as a Maya civic ceremonial center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods to the Belize Valley region. At this time, when the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in Belize. The core of the city Xunantunich occupies about one square mile (2.6 km˛), consisting of a series of six plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces. The centre of Xunantunich sits on an artificially leveled limestone ridge that stands almost 183 meters above sea level. From this core area the site radiates outward, encompassing settlements that extend for several square kilometers. The epicenter consists of four major architectural groups. The most prominent of these is Group A, which is dominated by the 40 meter tall Structure A6 or “El Castillo.” Often misinterpreted as the primary temple of the site, this massive structure is actually a large multi-complex building that served as dwelling, shrine and administrative hub for the elite rulers of the centre. The eastern and western summit of El Castillo have large stucco friezes with carved elements that represent astronomical symbols, the sun god, moon and Venus.


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