Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Exploring in Belize

Hello Morton 5th Graders!

Welcome back from the weekend.  It has been an exciting couple of days here in Belize.  I have added a few more pictures that we took this weekend. 

On Saturday, our group visited the world famous Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM cave.  This is a very wet cave, and we had to swim in several sections that had water over our heads!   Over 1400 artifacts from the Mayan civilization have been found in this cave, including pottery and artifacts from rituals and ceremonies.  Also found are the skeletal remains of 14 humans.  I am attaching a picture from the famous “Crystal Maiden” that is the only completely intact skeleton in the cave.  This person died over 1000 years ago!  Visitors are no longer allowed to take cameras into the cave, so I had to borrow this picture from the public domain.   All of the remains are from ceremonies of sacrifice, the people were killed to make their Gods happy. 

Sunday, we went to the ancient Mayan city-center of Xunantunich (picture).  This city began over 2000 years ago and was abandoned nearly 1200 years ago.   I have many pictures and videos to share with you.

You have perfect questions for today, because on Monday, we are visiting the Belize Zoo to see most of Belize’s native animals.

What is the official language of Belize?  Belize is a British Colony, so the official language is English.  However, being so close to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, Spanish, Creole, and Garafuna are very common.  Many still speak the Mayan language in certain parts of Belize. 

What are some of the native animals?  Life is everywhere in Belize, and I have attached some pictures that we just took this weekend!  The most popular animals include Howler (picture) and Spider Monkeys, Jaguars, Iguanas (picture) 8-10 different poisonous snakes, many different types of parrots, many types of bats (picture of a small fruit bat) and tarantulas.  I was able to upload a video of the Howler Monkeys we saw at the Mayan Ruins.  The sound they make is very scary, and loud for only being about 20 pounds each! 

I will take plenty of pictures at the Belize Zoo and show you more of the animals that can be found here. 

After the Zoo, we will be heading towards the coast and staying in Dangriga.  I am sure Mr. Schmidt has showed you a map of Belize, but you can find one here to follow us:  So that you can follow along, we arrived in Belize City, have spent the first five days in San Ignacio, and will finish up our trip in Dangriga.  The Belize Zoo is near Belmopan. 

Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Dr. Chris Atchison
Georgia State University

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