Mayan Life Uncovered... News|
2013 News Update……
The year has gone by very fast. Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve is moving along,
but at a "Belize time" pace. There are many projects in the works which correspond with our
Goal to improve the Site for tourism and education.
The Institute of Archaeology is investigating right-of-way property from the road entrance
to the site through the mangrove marsh. Once this is finalized, our Non-Profit Organization
(MGMSAC) will be able to start the permanent boardwalk which will stretch over a quarter of a
mile to the site. Donations have been received for this project but our monetary goal is high.
For a donation of $500US, you can help fund 50 feet of boardwalk and have your name on a plaque
for each 50 feet you donate to. (See Donation Section on how to reach us)
Honorable Manuel Heredia, Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture, has suggested opening a
designated road across from the Reserve entrance which opens to the sea. He has stated that
San Pedro Town Council will build a municipal boat pier, which means tour guides can be bring
guests in by boat.
At the suggestion of an alumni of the University of Puerto Rico, their Department of Architecture
and MGMSAC collaborated on plans for a future Visitor/Education Center for the site. This
project was undertaken by 2013 grad. students at UPR at no cost to MGMSAC. They presented us
with two marvelous sets of plans which will be considered when the time comes to build the
Center. Thank you Mr. Tom Marvel and Dean Rodriguez, staff and students of UPR/Department of Architecture!
In May and June, Dr. Scott Simmons, Site Co-Coordinator from University North Carolina/Wilmington, again
hosted the "Ambassadors to the Past" program. Two students from Galen University Belize toured San Pedro
Schools from elementary to Jr. College speaking about Marco Gonzalez and the Maya Coastal Traders who
occupied the site. In addition to Dr. Simmons, Ismael Teul and Kenny Chan, Leslie Simmons joined the
educational presentations while working on her Masters of Education in North Carolina.
New fundraising project: A Field Guide to Marco Gonzalez will be a small booklet to identify flora and
fauna of the Reserve. Over 50 birds have been identified in the area and on the site. Mr. Mario Teul,
Manager of Belize Botanical Gardens is working on the listing of plants within the park. Ms. Brown has
been photographing as many of the animals as she can get to stand still long enough. Donations for this
project are welcomed to cover the cost of compiling the publication and printing. All donors will be
listed in the book. Please see Donations Section.
In April, Dr. Elizabeth Graham was at Marco with doctorial student Lindsay, artist Louise and fellow
archaeologist Karen Pierce. The archaeologists studied pottery shards (pieces) in search of "coconut
walk" used by the Maya to manufacture salt. Artist Louise Belanger did renderings of Marco pottery
which will be finished artwork to be sold at the future Gift Shop in our Visitors Center.
August 2013, Dr. Graham returned to start work on a Grant entitled "Dark Earth". Accompanied by Drs.
Richard Macphail and Simon Turner, Geologists, Institute of Archaeology UCL, they investigated soils
through the park by coring and test pit excavations. At the different levels, fire remains revealed bits
of charcoal and layers of ash which could have been the results of salt processing, pottery making, fire
for cooking and general living. Unexpected burial remains and a few burial items were uncovered, the
deepest of which dated to an estimated occupation of 100AD or earlier.
January 7-16, 2014: Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. 6 Students and professor, educational tours
and grounds maintenance at the site. No excavations.
April, 2014: Dr Graham return with botanists to complete "flora study phase" of Dark Earth Grant.
What portion of the plants and trees are native to the site and which ones could have been imported
to the "island" of Marco Gonzalez by Maya or birds?