Road-builder: landowner allowed pyramid excavation


| Zoom

BELIZE CITY (AP) - The owner of a road-building company in Belize that has been blamed for the near destruction of one of the country's biggest Mayan pyramids said Thursday that the landowner gave permission to extract the material.

Businessman Denny Grijalva said the landowner had allowed excavations on his property for more than a decade.

In 1998, then businessmen Alfredo Martinez extracted stones from the same area also to build a road. Martinez is now Belize's ambassador in neighboring Guatemala.

Archeologists in Belize and around the world expressed outrage at the demolition of the Nohmul complex in northern Belize to extract crushed rock.

Nohmul sat in the middle of a privately owned sugar cane field, and lacked the even stone sides frequently seen in reconstructed or better-preserved pyramids.

The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, Jaime Awe, said the builders could not possibly have mistaken the pyramid mound, which is about 100 feet tall, for a natural hill because the ruins were well-known and the landscape there is naturally flat.

Grijalva said in a statement that the foreman at his De' Mar's Stone Co. picked the pyramid mound for digging out rock after the chairman of Douglas Village, where his company was building and repairing roads, didn't like the material they first showed him.

Workers excavated all day last Thursday, Grijalva said. They stopped digging the next day after several officials from the National Institute of History and Culture instructed them to stop, he said.

"Recognizing that the buck stops at my desk, I share the public's concern and indeed condemnation at the unfolding of this very unfortunate incident," Grijalva said. "I am committed to fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigation into this regrettable incident."

Police have launched an investigation and anyone found responsible could face five to 10 years in imprison, a fine of about $5,000 or both.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Quick and Profitable
    Ron and Don say it's time to cut off Seattle's presidential ATM

  • Concert Congestion
    Concertgoers are crying foul after missing the Journey-Steve Miller show for a traffic jam

  • Seeking a Sequel
    Danny O'Neil has 3 things things to watch for as the Seahawks start training camp
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.