The Noh Mul site in northern Belize dates back some 2,300 years, to 250 B.C., and stood about 65 feet tall. Experts said it had become overgrown with trees but there was still no mistaking what it was -- an ancient Mayan temple.
"This is one of the worst that I have seen in my entire 25 years of archaeology in Belize," John Morris, an archaeologist with the country's Institute of Archaeology, told a local television station. "We can't salvage what has happened out here -- it is an incredible display of ignorance."
Archeologists believe the temple stood at the middle of a city center once home to 40,000 Mayans.
Experts told CNN they thought the temple was targeted because it was made of limestone prized by contractors.
Archeologists said they would sift through the remaining rubble in hopes of preserving some artifacts from the site.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case though archaeologists said they will petition police to take action against the private landowner and the contractor responsible.