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Database: Cerros

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The Mayan city of Cerros sits on a hilltop overlooking Cheturnal Bay. In the late 17th century, this is Spanish territory, though it will become part of the British Honduras, and eventually the independent nation of Belize.

Of course, Cerros itself predates all that - it was founded sometime around 350 BC, when it was an important trading center for ships travelling up the coast. In its heyday, about 1100 people lived there.

That may not seem like a lot - but the stonework in the area shows the city's prominence. The architecture features stepped pyramids, stone carvings, temples, and get this - two ball courts. Now, we're not clear on the rules, but from the location of the courts it seems the game was important - and deadly. Murals at other similar sites show the winners beheading their opponents. Maybe that was their version of trash talking the other team. Or maybe not...

And I thought Americans took their 'football' seriously.

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