Santa Rita

Santa Rita, a Maya archaeological reserve near Corozal Town, Belize, likely corresponds to the ancient Maya city known as Chetumal, according to historical evidence. Excavations reveal a rich history of habitation dating back to 2000-1200 BCE, with its peak significance during the Postclassic era and continued occupation even after the Spanish arrival. Positioned strategically to control trade routes between the coast and major rivers like Río Hondo and Río Nuevo, Santa Rita thrived as a dominant settlement in the Chetumal region during the early Classic period. Despite a brief decline in the Late Classic period, Santa Rita regained prominence and served as the capital of the Chetumal Province under the Cocom dynasty of Mayapán until 1441, when it was overthrown by an uprising, marking the end of Mayapán supremacy.


The effigy pictured is made in the likeness of a man.  The man has two buck teeth and fangs.  He seems to be wearing a headdress of some sort that runs across his forehead.


This effigy is a little more complex than the last. It depicts the face of a man coming out of the mouth of a beast with fangs and antlers.  The effigy’s distal end seems to resemble a seashell.


The bowl is large and rounded.  This bowl seems to have been used in the home.


This vase is very small and can fit in the palm of an adult’s hand.  Like the Cerros vase, this vase has a steep neck, but it is not as steep as the Cerro Maya vase.

Cache Vessel

This carefully selected artifact, recovered from a Late Postclassic cache deposit at Structure 37 in Santa Rita, stands approximately 7 inches high and represents the Maya diving god. Adorned with multicolor (black, red, white, and blue) paint and applique designs, it features the stunning Maya Blue, a vibrant shade unique to the Ancient Maya of Mesoamerica. Maya Blue, known for its chemical stability over time, is made through a special reaction, though the exact ingredients remain a mystery. This vessel is among the few artifacts in Belize showcasing this remarkable pigment, highlighting the Maya’s innovative paint-making techniques.