Lamanai lies scattered along the lagoon of the New River within the tropical rainforest of central Belize. Lama'an'ain (submerged crocodile in Maya) was one of the longest continuously occupied cities—from about 500 BC to 1675 AD or later—probably in part due to its situation on a major trade route, the New River.

Excavated by David M. Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum during a series of field seasons beginning in 1974, its 718 mapped structures lie stretched out along the shore of the lagoon. Much of Lamanai's importance is reflected in the large, imposing Late Pre-Classic temple-pyramids which usually underlie Early Classic constructions.

Source: Michael D. Coe, The Maya, p. 63