Lamanai On-Site Museum


Preclassic vessels in the on-site museum. The spouted vessels on the upper shelf are called chocolate pots. The lower shelf displays a variety of bowls. Note the vessel on the top shelf, right, with "bared teeth!" It is from a burial, and it has a stylized crocodile headdress near the rim.

Conall Pendergast labelling the bags we used to store fragmentary vessels to be reconstructed at a later date.

If you travel to Lamanai in the near future and visit the on-site museum, you will now find the pottery displayed according to the period in which it was made. As you enter the museum, you will find the pottery from the Preclassic Period, about 600 B.C. to A.D.1, arranged on the shelves to the left.

The next set of shelves houses vessels from the Protoclassic Period, which dates from about A.D. 1 to A.D. 250, and some from the Classic Period, A.D. 250-800 or so. The long set of shelves lining the museum's south side contains mostly Middle and Late Classic vessels, A.D. 550 to 800, but also some material from the period that bridged the Maya collapse (the Terminal Classic period, A.D. 800 to ca. 1000). At Lamanai we nicknamed this period, "Terclerp," for Terminal Classic-Early Postclassic, because the forms are characteristic of the Classic to Postclassic transition.



The shelves that line the west wall, opposite the entry door, contain material from different stages of the Postclassic Period. Farthest from the door is the Buk-Phase material, mostly slipped orange-red, which dates from about A.D. 1100 to 1300 or so. Next is the Cib phase, with distinctly redder slips. These vessels are mostly 14th century (1300s), but some are earlier and bridge the Buk to Cib transition, and others are later and carry over into the Spanish Colonial Period. There is a range of vessels from the 16th century, when the Spaniards arrived in Belize, and others that are later in date and carry us into the time of the British occupation in the mid to late 19th century. There are also a number of bottles from the 19th century, as well as various objects that extend the record right down to the present day.

These we have nicknamed "chalices," because of their high pedestal bases. They date to the Middle Postclassic Period (Buk Phase) sometime between about A.D. 1000 - 1300. Most accompanied burials in Structures N10-2 and 4, but in addition many fragmented specimens were found scattered on the front face of Str. N10-9.


These censers, footed bowls, jars and effigies date to the Late Postclassic and Historic periods. The effigies of people and animals on the second shelf are of late 16th and early 17th century date. The tall censers on the top shelf are Late Postclassic, about A.D. 1400-1500.


The pots on the far left and on the top shelf are Middle Postclassic (Buk Phase), A.D. 1100-1300. Those facing us directly on the lower three shelves are Late Postclassic (Cib Phase) A.D. 1300-1500. The incense burners on the lower shelf are in the form of standing figures. They were found fragmented and scattered on the surface of Str. N9-56, The Mask Temple, and are similar to censers found at Mayapan. Forms of this kind are known to archaeologists as "Chen Mul Modelled."



The 1997 Season                                                                                                                                                                                    Middle Caye
Archaeology in Belize

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