Cahal Pech

Cahal Pech is a Maya site located near San Ignacio in Belize’s Cayo District. It was a palatial hilltop residence for an elite Maya family, with major construction dating back to the Classic period. However, evidence of continuous habitation traces back to 1200 BCE, making it one of the oldest Maya sites in Western Belize. The site overlooks the confluence of the Macal and Mopan Rivers and consists of 34 structures, with the tallest temple reaching 25 meters. It was abandoned in the 9th century CE for unknown reasons.

Archaeological findings at Cahal Pech include the earliest pottery in Western Belize, indicating ceramic-using populations as early as 1200 BCE. The site’s name, meaning “Place of the Ticks” in Yucatec Maya, was given during the 1950s when the area was used for pasture.

Cacao Vessel

Cacao vessel – This ceramic vessel type is known as a chocolate pot.  Archaeological analyses have found evidence of cacao from within these types of vessels.  This pot was used similarly to a coffee pot but instead used for serving the famous Maya cacao beverage.


This bowl is very round with a small opening.  It sits on a small hollow base.

Copal Censer

This vessel has glyphs on its body and pedestal.  Such vessels were used to burn copal as an offering to the gods.


The vase has a tall neck and a rounded base.