On a ridge between two creeks, Lubaantun (“Place of the Fallen Stones”) consists of five layers of construction, unique from other sites because of the absence of engraved stelae. The site was first reported in 1875, by American Civil War refugees from the southern United States and first studied in 1915. It is believed that as many as 20,000 people lived in this trading center.
The Maya calendar places great significance on the year 2012 and countries throughout the Mundo Maya are planning a yearlong uplifting of Maya culture with events and ceremonies at various Maya archaeological sites.
To learn about what is planned for 2012 at Lubaantun, please visit the Lubaantun in 2012 page from our Maya 2012 travel guide .
Lubaantun was built and occupied during the Late Classic Period (A.D. 730–890). Eleven major structures are grouped around five main plazas—in total the site has 18 plazas and three ball courts. The tallest structure rises 50 feet above the plaza, and from it you can see the Caribbean Sea 20 miles distant.
Lubaantun’s disparate architecture is completely different from Maya construction in other parts of Latin America. Most of the structures are terraced, and you’ll notice that some corners are rounded—an uncommon feature throughout the Mundo Maya.
Lubaantun has been studied and surveyed several times by Thomas Gann and, more recently in 1970 by Norman Hammond. Distinctive clay whistle figurines (similar to those found in Mexico’s Isla Jaina ) illustrate lifestyles and occupations of the era. Other artifacts include the mysterious crystal skull, obsidian blades, grinding stones (much like those still used today to grind corn), beads, shells, turquoise, and shards of pottery. From all of this, archaeologists have determined that the city flourished until the 8th century A.D. It was a farming community that traded with the highland areas of today’s Guatemala, and the people worked the sea and maybe the nearby cayes just offshore.
To get to Lubaantun from Punta Gorda , go 1.5 miles west past the gas station to the Southern Highway, then take a right. Two miles farther, you’ll come to the village of San Pedro . From here, go left around the church to the concrete bridge. Cross and go almost a mile—the road is passable during the dry season.