Archaeological Investigations at Kaxil Uinic and Qualm Hill, two Colonial Period Sites in Northwestern Belize

  • Archaeological Investigations at Kaxil Uinic and Qualm Hill, two Colonial Period Sites in Northwestern Belize

by Brooke Bonorden and Brett A. Houk




In 2015, the Belize Estates Archaeological Survey Team (BEAST) conducted preliminary investigations at two sites in northwestern Belize: Qualm Hill, which was the seasonal headquarters of the British Honduras Company in the mid-1800s; and Kaxil Uinic, a San Pedro Maya village settled by Caste War refugees sometime after 1868. Although these sites may be considered two entirely separate entities with distinct histories, inhabitants, and archaeological assemblages, an exploration of the larger historical context surrounding both sites highlights their intricate relationship within a broader historical framework. Conflicts between the San Pedro Maya and British logging firms arose as a result of the two groups’ differing uses of the Belizean landscape, yet both the Maya and the largely Creole labor force employed by timber companies were prohibited from owning land by colonial legislation. British logging companies were thus able to maintain vast estates and keep the general population of Belize dependent upon them for access to resources and jobs. As evidenced by the synthesis of archival and archaeological data from Qualm Hill camp and Kaxil Uinic village presented here, the loggers and the Maya, though marginalized by the colonial system, actively negotiated their identities to navigate the cultural landscape of British Honduras, sometimes in manners inconsistent with the defacto protocol dictated by the larger social groups of “colonizers” versus “colonized.”


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Keywords: northwestern Belize, Qualm Hill,, Caste War, Kaxil Uinic, colonial period, Yucatec Maya


Suggested APA Reference: Bonorden, B., & Houk, B. A. (2016). Archaeological investigations at Kaxil Uinic and Qualm Hill, two colonial period sites in northwestern Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology13, 337-347.

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