Belize’s cultural heritage endangered

As Belize’s population grows, large areas of the countryside are being developed and more and more culturally rich Belizean sites are in jeopardy of being destroyed without proper scientific investigation.

Knowledge of the heritage of Belize is necessary for the tourism industry, which is Belize’s #1 industry. Belize is the ultimate tourist attraction. Its combination of a 185-mile long barrier reef, lush tropical forest, archaeological sites, and diverse cultures makes it a premier destination. The vandalism and looting of Belizean cultural sites is detrimental to its tourist industry.

Sales of Maya antiquities at auction and online are proof of the international demand for Pre-Columbian materials. This market is dependent on the continued looting of archaeological sites, so it is rare to find an archaeological site in Belize that has not been stripped of some cultural material. Below is a list of online resources that focus on looting and the illicit antiquities trade in Belize.

February 2013
No more antiquities thefts; U.S. and Belize sign MOU

January 2013
Archaeological Site Looting in “Glocal” Perspective: Nature, Scope, and Frequency



December 2012
Not a lifetime movie; NICH suing Indiana Jones

May 2012
Artifacts from a Time of Many Droughts

January 2012
Pre-classic Mayan bones & artefacts discovered in San Ignacio


October 2011
Stolen Artifact Returned to Belize
Archaeologist say monitoring the black market trade is difficult

September 2011
ICE HSI repatriates pre-Columbian bowl to Belize

July 2011
GOB “fiddling” while Guats continue raping Chiquibul Forest!

May 2011
National Geographic Society Funds Mayan Garden
Illegal logging in Chiquibul costing Belize at least $15 million


June 2010
Looted Archaeological Treasureson Red List

April 2010
Xatéros loot archaeological artifacts from western border to Belmopan: Dr. Awe


December 2009
The Silent Invasion of Chiquibul

January 2009
Orange Walk Residents Charged for Illegal Artefacts
Guatemalan labourer found with Mayan Artifacts


September 2008
Unregistered Artefacts Found in Orange Walk

July 2008
Jade Necklaces Stolen from Lubantuun


December 2007
Two Charged for ancient artifacts

February 2007
Archaeologists let looters do some of the work
Guatemalan busted with Mayan Artefacts


August 2005
Hijacked Cultural Antiquities Recovered

May 2005
The Jade Head’s Home


September 2003
La Milpa, Belize

December 2003
Looters plague Guatemalan city


November 2001
Ancient Mayan Cities looted

March 2001
U.S. Citizen pleads guilty to artifacts possession

June 2001
Looting a lost civilization Maya Scholars in race with thieves
A new Maya stela from La Milpa, Belize


Summer 2000
Actun Chapat

June 2000
Cahal Pech

May 2000
Artifacts bust in Cayo is 3rd in three weeks
San Pedrano busted with load of Maya artifacts


October 1999
A Symposium on Illicit Antiquities: the Destruction of the World’s Archaeological Heritage

September/October 1999
Looters Foiled


June 1998
“Fred Martinez’s Mistake”, In The Belize Times

March 1998
Seven Fined for Antiquities Possession”, In The Belize Times

February 1998
Archaeology Department tries to curb looting


May 1987
Looters Play Havoc with Archeological Work at Ancient Sites: Belize Fights to Safeguard Mayan Past