El Castillo at Caracol   Entrance to a tomb
For decades, scholars placed Tikal at the top of the Mayan world. That all changed when archaeologists discovered the lost city of Caracol. Caracol is believed to have been settled around A.D. 300 and a war with Tikal two centuries later left Caracol in control of the surrounding area for over 100 years. The ruins are spread out over several square miles and it will take many years to catalog and document the entire city.

Belize is home to dozens of Mayan archaeological sites, and new ones are found every year. It is thought that as many as a million people lived in Belize at the peak of Mayan occupation. Contrast this with the 250,000 people that call Belize their home today and you can't help but wonder what happened to this ancient civilization. One theory is that the Mayan people were wiped out by disease's brought to Belize by European explorers. The truth may never be known.