Page 4 - Revisiting a Mayan Temple in Belize
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sandwich”). This time we learned the proper pronunciation. The first time the driver of our car pronounced it, I thought he said “Saint Anthony’s.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Then I realized that he was pro- nouncing the word shoe-NAN-too-neech. The transla- tion is various: “Stone Maiden,” “Stone Lady,” and sometimes “Virgin of the Rock.” The name refers to the apparition that an early visitor said he saw on the site, a ghostly woman dressed in flowing robes. The Mayans had another, older, name for the place, K’at Witz, that translates as “Clay Mountain.”
Another change was the existence of a welcoming sign inviting visitors to Xunantunich [see Figure 1]. There was no such sign in 1950. In those days there was almost nothing on the site to see except iguanas, huge ant hills, vines, bushes, and trees. It was not a welcom- ing place.
I scarcely recognized the site when I saw it in 2015. What was once a root-tangled footpath through the
Figure 1. Welcome sign at Xunantunich. — 2 —
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