Friday, October 17, 2008

BELIZE joins with Guatemala over border Mayan ruins of EL PILAR

Guatemala - BELIZE. The Mayan City of El Pilar was first mapped out by archeologist Anabel Ford in 1983. Anabel Ford had been working in the Mayan jungle since 1972 as a researcher from University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB. The Archaeological site El Pilar straddles the borders of Belize and Guatemala.

Now the initiative to turn the site into a peace park will become a reality. A Memorandum of Understanding between Guatemalan officials and UCSB will be signed on the 22 of October in Santa Barbara. Guatemalan dignitaries Hector Escobedo, director general of the Directorate of Cultural and Natural Patrimony in Guatemala; Erick Ponciano, director of the Institute of Culture and History; and Vilma Fialko, coordinator of the Project of Archaeological Site Protection of Petén will sign the Memorandum as representatives of the Guatemalan Government.

The El Pilar Peace Park Initiative is a collaborative research project on both sides of the Guatemala and Belize borders. The signing of the MOU marks the 25th anniversary of Ford's discovery of El Pilar.

Several organizations dedicated to the preservation of archeological and cultural heritage will participate, Exploring Solutions Past ~ The Maya Forest Alliance, MesoAmerican Research Center at UCSB and Institute of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, ISBER.

After the signing of the MOU, an exhibit focusing on El Pilar will continue through October 31. The exhibit includes maps of El Pilar, the Maya forest, and the forest garden, and wall-sized panels that feature photographer Macduff Everton's images documenting the research of El Pilar.

Anabel Ford explains that El Pilar at its most vibrant, the period from A.D. 600 to 900, had a population of more than 20,000 people who lived in a mosaic landscape of city homes and gardens. This contrasted with areas of forest reserve and agricultural fields, such as present-day traditional Maya forest gardens. Today, El Pilar is at the heart of a 5,000-acre archaeological reserve linking Belize and Guatemala and celebrating the culture and nature of the Maya forest.

1 comment:

chip said...

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