Excavation results for 1998
 The Maya Forest as a Garden
 Consolidation at Tzunuun
 Park Development Activities
 Community Participation
 Appendix A: From the Mesa Redonda...
 Appendix B: Background History...

Title: Past informs the future : BRASS/El Pilar Program : 1998 Field Report
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083137/00001
 Material Information
Title: Past informs the future : BRASS/El Pilar Program : 1998 Field Report
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: El Pilar Archeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna
Publisher: University of California, Santa Barbara
Publication Date: 1998
Subject: El Pilar
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Belize -- El Pilar
North America -- Guatemala -- El Pilar
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083137
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Excavation results for 1998
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    The Maya Forest as a Garden
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Consolidation at Tzunuun
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Park Development Activities
        Page 21
    Community Participation
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Appendix A: From the Mesa Redonda II, 1 May 1998
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Appendix B: Background History on El Pilar
        Page 31
        Page 32
Full Text


Thle Pas1 t Inifoiirms the IFuture
The core of the El Pilar Program is based in the archaeological research on the evolu-
tion of the ancient Maya landscape. The essence of this program acknowledges that clues
to sustaining the complex habitats of today's Maya forest environment are embedded in
Maya prehistory. Ancient Maya settlement and local community patterns provide material
evidence for the evolution of sustainable economies in one of the planet's last frontiers: the
Appreciating the ancient Maya of El Pilar -their settlement, their chronology of
occupation, their investment in public architecture, the development of the city are funda-
mental to our understanding of the potential of the Maya forest region. The El Pilar Pro-
gram research is designed to develop an interdisciplinary database that addresses these
important questions. Combining detailed excavations and broad ranging surveys, we are
now beginning to build a basis to answer some basic questions about El Pilar and its impor-
tance in the Maya area. The archaeological research has focused on the civic-ceremonial,
the private residential, and the structure of the Maya forest in an effort to find clues to the
human-environment relationship in the past that can help to envision a future.

The ecological structure of the Maya forest is a relic of the dynamic relationship in
which humans have played an integral part. This relationship extends back more than four
millennia to the initial agricultural pioneers of the Maya forest region and the ancestors of
the ancient Maya civilization the heritage of contemporary farmers.
Combining research designs of professional with those of traditional farmers from
the local area, this forest garden is becoming a model of ancient Maya land use that will
provide an ongoing source of innovation for the community. The design uses ancient Maya
settlement patterns and agricultural knowledge to foster resource conservation that aligns
with, rather than opposes, the natural regenerative processes of the tropical forest.

Community Linhs
No reserve exists within a vacuum and to thrive, the local population must assume a
stewardship role or the ultimate conservation aims may not be achieved. A cooperative
association has been established with Amigos de El Pilar. Their goal is to develop commu-
nity enterprises in tourism and agriculture that increase villagers' economic stake in the
reserve. Through education and participation, the links between the community and the
reserve will strengthen local investments in conservation and develop stewardship respon-
sibility. The leadership role villagers are assuming and the self-determination they are
gaining in the process is the foundation upon which the future success of the El Pilar model

i.' 1t P t: 1998 Fi

DB -. El Pilar
The El Pilar Program has set the stage for ecotourism where the visitor can explore
and discover the beautiful Maya architecture beneath the luxuriant forest canopy. The
Program's work on trails, rest stops, and picnic areas enhances the accessibility of the site to
visitors for education and recreation.

The El Pilar Program continues to evolve around the research concerns of scientific
inquiry as well as resource conservation and economic development. Educational and
interpretive designs for the park and surrounding landscape are founded on this basic
research. These facets of the program are all dependent upon the results of integrated,
collaborative, and interdisciplinary research program and are crucial to establishing the
reserve on a lasting base. The 1998 season at El Pilar brings us one step closer to our goals.

Trail Excavation Areas

0 25 50 75 100
." ...... ........ ..... .......... C h o rro
....- ... *. Trail



Labelled FI

Trail Entrance
I a rk in g

Past: 1998 Fild I

The field excavation of the 1998 season focused predominantly at the residential unit
of Tzunu'un (272-025), but also included a re-examination of the Xik Na (EP 7) tunnel. Both
these efforts provide basic data on the Maya chronology and development of El Pilar. The
fieldwork was initiated in March and continued through June. Excavation goals, method-
ology, and results are consistent with our preceding years and, incrementally, increase our
knowledge of the ancient Maya and their occupation in the region.

ExvavaGion i f 1, 'I -.1 ,- ..
The procedures of the BRASS/ El Pilar Program have been consistently developed
and standardized for comparability from year to year. Excavations were conducted by
stratigraphic levels, using a modified version of the Harris matrix adapted for the program.
Collections were all screened through mesh to maintain volumetric standards for both
contexts of fill and middens. Half-inch screen was routinely employed for collapse and
general fill deposits. Activity areas and suspected midden areas were treated specifically
with smaller mesh screens or completely collected for laboratory sorting and flotation. The
same strategies were used for the special features, which were either collected in total or
screened using a quarter-inch mesh. All collections were processed in the field laboratory
and cataloged by major artifact classes. These data were input and stored in computer files
for analyses.

Field excavations followed natural levels and records were maintained by cultural
strata. Excavations proceeded with hand tools (shovel, pick, pick-a-hoe, trowel, and
scoops), except where special deposits demanded a finer touch. All ceramics and lithics
larger than 2 cm were collected in the field from screens for later analysis. All bone, obsid-
ian, and miscellaneous artifacts were kept as well as any organic samples in quantities
sufficient for C14 dating. Strata were identified visually and described using Munsell
colors and an inclusion guide from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) handbook.
Strata were defined in terms of soil type (i.e., sandy loam, etc. from the PCA Soil Primer),
dry soil color (with a Munsell Soil Color Chart), and size, type, and percentage of inclu-
sions (sizes range from boulders, cobbles, gravel and pebbles; type generally ranged from
limestone to chert).

In preparation for consolidation, excavation of collapse and/ or earth disturbed by
looters was sometimes necessary and was handled in a different fashion from the formal
excavations. Natural stratigraphic levels were followed as much as possible and the exca-
vations proceeded with the traditional hand tools. The collapse was visually screened for
artifacts from these disturbed contexts rather than mesh screened.

Excavations at T zanutn
Tzunu'un (Yucatec Mayan for hummingbird) is a plaza group (272-025) consisting of
five main structures embraced by a 30 by 40 meter plaza area. Tzunu'un is situated south-
east of Plaza Copal across from an aguada and near the drop off of the Peten escarpment.
The domestic plaza group is raised approximately one meter from the surrounding topog-
raphy to incorporate the structures. Str. 1, located to the south is the largest structure and

1. 1,6, P-i 9 Fi

built on a raised foundation, is an imposing house constructed with limestone walls. Str. 2,
on the east, is a pyramidal structure of the "eastern shrine" plan, first recognized by
Marshall Becker at Tikal. Structures 3, 4, and 5 appear as foundation for perishable domes-
tic structures: Str. 3 has a plaster floor, Str. 4 has rough foundation and a marl floor and Str.
5 has a rough tramped floor.

7- -
.. ,, ..

," .' .. 1t, -
"'/, ". --1 111 l I

: .. .: .l '' .., "^

i, ..; .,f r' i ;.

IilnH,,,, ,

Pat: 1998 Fild I

Previous Work: Attention to the residential component of El Pilar represents an
important facet of the El Pilar Program as this component represents the foundation of the
Maya civilization. Tzunu'un has been the focus of archaeological work of the BRASS
Program since 1984 when it was first located on the El Pilar settlement survey transect. At
that time it was mapped within the
o13 survey area and tested as part of the
I,, x14 H 0 X V12% sample of residential units
SX 3 L ooter's along the transect. In our subse-
O X2 H quent full scale excavation phase,
V,, focused on a representative sample
X of large, medium and small residen-
X1 Shaped Stone htial units in all the transects, the
( large residential unit of 272-025 was
Xn~ \ / eOte selected for detailed examination.
x The Tzunu'un group is one of two
designated residential units at El
& le' Pilar selected for full-scale excava-
ix TV vin 10 tion that will complete an excava-
x x,18 Me tLrs tion sample of 10 residential units to
Chultun X16 272-25 characterize households in the
Belize River Area.
Sketch map of 272-025 Brass Survey 1984

Since 1996, we have me-
thodically proceeded to uncover
Tzunu'un (272-025) one of El
Pilar's largest residential com-:
.- __s ~ / STR 4= ,._'",""'
pounds. The 1996 excavations / .
focused on identifying activity 2 .WCR 2~E R'
areas around the group and
defining the dimensions of the 2 SI
two larger mounds of the S R5- j / |
Tzunu'un group, Str. 1 and Str. 2. 7 i
To accomplish these tasks, we 1 CT iCTR E
prepared the initial map and
conducted posthole tests 20
meters around the plaza to evalu- .
ate the type and context of activ- ..
ity areas. In addition, we tested CHT \E\ -E
the two principal and largest -
structures, Str. 1 and Str. 2, to i \I '"ll"'"" I
determine the condition of the 10m
buildings. This included corner
probes and a small plaza trench Example Maya House Group Tzunu'un -1996
in front (north) of Str. 1. Finally,
we cleaned and profiled the

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

looter's trench of Str. 1 and drew the construction

The excavation research at Tzunu'un in
1997 was a continuation of the research plan
initiated in 1996. The objectives of the 1997 season 2 x
integrated the arduous task to expose the struc-
tures of the courtyard plaza and interpret the
construction history, function, and the overall
plan. Excavations began with the largest and most:
complex structure, Str. 1, originally delimited in
1996. In addition, three other structures were
exposed. These include Str. 3, Str. 4 and Str. 5.
Excavation of Str. 2 was reserved for a subsequent 1
season. Tzunu'un Excavations of 1997

Details of Tzunu'un Excavations ~1998: The purpose of the 1998 work at Tzunu'un
was threefold. First, we wished to determine as much as possible regarding the chronology
of Str. 1 and prepare this important structure for consolidation. Secondly, we wished to
fully expose the last unexcavated structure on the plaza, Str. 2, and determine its use, chro-
nology and condition. This would provide a basis for considering the consolidation pro-
cess. Lastly, we wished to cross trench the plaza to gather more data on the construction
and building history of this common plaza.

The Residential Palace ~ Structure 1: A total of nine separate investigations were
undertaken at Str. 1 to support the consolidation and advance architectural studies of Str. 1.
Extensive excavations were made in the front and rear of the structure to better understand
the foundation and access of the building. This also was important in developing the
consolidation plans. Str. 1 at Tzunu'un has a complex floor plan consisting of 5 rooms,
most accessed from the front doorway on the north-face of the building. Given the plan of
the rear side, it is likely that an access existed to the south, but the nature of the collapse
makes it difficult to clearly identify. The relationship of the two rear rooms to the front
(rooms 1, 2 and 3) is not clear, as one doorway was sealed in an episode of remodeling.
Consequently, the probability of a rear access was advanced.

Since both Rm. 4 and Rm. 5, the southwest and southeastern rooms respectively,
appear to open to the south, excavations were undertaken to examine the foundations of
the southernmost walls of these rooms as well as the structure as a whole. Three trenches
were established stretching from the edge of the rear platform floor to approximately one
meter south of the base of the collapse slope. All three of these trench excavations show
modification to the underlying bedrock as well as evidence of at least one basal platform
step up the south side of Str. 1 to the rear rooms (4 and 5).

A single two-by-two meter unit, placed at the southwest corner of the structure, did
turn up evidence that suggests that the rear walls of Rm. 4 and Rm. 5 were destroyed, as
facing stones were scarce. This suggests that the structure was either incomplete or stone
robbed in the past.

Past: 1998 Fild I

Excavations on both the east and west ends of Str. 1 exposed inset corners at the
locations of the rear rooms (4 and 5). A basal molding was uncovered on the ends that

matched the one identified on the
north side, yet the foundations were
found in poor condition. A large
excavation exposure on the western
end of Str. 1 clarified a chaotic stone
pile as collapse from the western wall
of Str. 1 rather than a poor addition to
the structure. This helped to define
the west side more clearly for consoli-

In an effort to understand the
relationship between Str. 1 and Str. 2,
a two-by-two meter excavation was
undertaken in the northeast corner of
Str. 1. This revealed an earlier plaster
floor in front of the Str. 1 and pro-
vided clues to the nature of a plat-
form connecting Str. 1 and Str. 2.

] ~ ~3L-~ F i&~ L I' iL -&

iiI _~ b :

I-fi 1 -l 7 -7s

21~~ L;2] `

The Eastern Shrine ~ Structure 2: Str. 2 at Tzunu'un, the easternmost structure, of
the group, was the subject of corner probes in 1996. One of the highest priorities of the
1998 field season was to expose the west front face of this structure and determine the
structures' condition in terms of the consolidation process. In addition, there was an ex-
posed and deteriorating looters' trench on the eastern backside of the mound that required
attention. This old trench was cleared, mapped, and tested before it was backfilled.

An Overall View of
Tzunu'un Str 2

The excavation exposure of the front of Str. 2 was com-
pleted in several stages. The result is a view of the western
front half of the structure while the rear
of the mound remained covered. The excavation revealed
an "eastern shrine" residential temple. The "oratory" had, in
its principal form, an outset staircase on the west side lead-
ing up to a u-shaped open-sided structure on top. Str. 2
underwent a number of remodeling but was originally
constructed of large (60 cm) well-shaped limestone blocks.
The last remodeling consisted primarily of rubble fill cov-
ered with plaster over expansions west into the plaza and
north toward Str. 1.

Through the course of excavation we discovered two
caches along the east-west axis in the center of the western
face, part of the final construction phases of the building.
Both caches, one included as part of the early temple and

one part of a later remodeling, consisted of
small undecorated lip-to-lip bowls with .
related artifacts, chert and obsidian blades, I
and portions of secondary burials. In the I
looters' trench, a crypt was cleared in the
northern edge of the trench. The looters
appeared to have dug through the head
(southern) portion leaving only the lower
body fragments in situ. The evidence seems [
to point to there being two individuals in
this burial. No vessels or other artifacts I
were recovered with this burial.

The Plaza Commons: In order to T I
gain a better understanding of the chronol- II
ogy and construction of the plaza group
the Program decided to excavate two
trenches across the plaza intersecting in the
center. Both trenches were one meter wide, i.
divided into two-meter units and exca- !I .
vated down to bedrock. The north-south i
trench (NST) began at Str. 1, where the step -
out the front doorway was visible [(FL) 1- .i --"
26]. This trench continued north from Str. 1
across the plaza, through Str. 3, ending off
the plaza to the north. The NST was 24.5
meters in length overall. The east-west
trench (EWT) extended from the last step of
the axial stairway of Str. 2 and continued to
the west to stop just short of the foundation
of Str. 5 and was 19.33 meters in length.

The trench of EWT exposed two plaza floors that consisted primarily of cobble and
pebble floor ballast with no evident plaster. This lack of preservation is not surprising
given that the plaza area of Tzunu'un has been abandoned for 1,000 years and recently had
been used as part of a milpa. The later of the two floors may have been part of a later
remodeling in front of Str. 2. EWT3, the third one-by-two unit west of Str. 2, contained an
unusually-shaped hole in the bedrock, which may have been a posthole, this suggests the
presence of more ephemeral activities in the plaza. Bedrock throughout the EWT series
was fairly shallow, less than 50 cm below the present surface. Interestingly, the bedrock
showed a sharp rise in elevation in front of Str. 5, which may indicate that the Maya created
the structure foundation by lowering the level of the bedrock around it. This point raises
questions on the multiple uses the Tzunu'un area may have had in the past.

The NST series was somewhat more complex than the EWT series. First, at the
south end of the trench, the excavation revealed four steps leading from Str. 1. Each step
had an approximately 30-40 cm rise and 60 cm run. Although the surfaces were, for the

Past: 1998 Fild I

most part, in bad condition, the steps
themselves had been faced with large
cut stones that made identification
clear. The lower of the two plaza levels
identified in EWT was also found
throughout the NST trench, though in
the same rough condition. In the
northern part of the trench, units
NST10 and NST11, a well-preserved
plaster floor was found that matches
the lower floor surface of EWT. It
appears that the plaster plaza floor
was finished prior to the construction
of Str. 3. Once again, bedrock was
found at a shallow depth of c. 40 cm.


One interesting possibility arose from the bedrock surface map for the combined
trench profiles. In three units, one behind Str. 1 (CTRS), one north of Str. 1 (2NWE) and, in
NST12, bedrock was found to have been excavated (quarried?) off the plaza area. In other
words, there were stepped drops off the plaza that were constructed out of bedrock. This
suggests that the Tzunu'un plaza is a 'negative' structure rather than being constructed as
an additive process,
the bedrock surface
may have been
[a Il -- lowered all around
the plaza. It is
important to note
*I L 'l that the bedrock
-.. surfaces encoun-
tered were very
rough and did not
appear to have ever
formed a usable
plaza surface.

The El Pilar Program has had a long-standing interest in the prehistory of the public
center as well as the residential components. The tunnel below the Xik Na (EP7) in Plaza
Copal is most important in the El Pilar chronology. Xik Na is a 17-meter high pyramid with
platforms to either side. This major structure faces west from the eastern side of the largest
public plaza in El Pilar. Our archaeological attentions to Xik Na are long standing, and the
tunnel completion is high on our priorities.

Previous Work: In 1995 archaeologist Miguel Orrego began axial excavations in the
Xik Na. The excavation was designed to examine the building chronology by exposing a
profile of the interior episodes and compiling the first major sequence for El Pilar. Due to
the extremely good preservation evidenced by the Classic Period axial stairway the initial

1. 1,6, P-i, Fi

EP 7
El Pilar 1995
North Tunnel Profile

Note: Middle Preclassic
Plaza Floor [FL 7-98] Circled
Excavation Key

0 2

FL 7-42
FL7-44 --' -- -
.- 4-_. .. ,T o -. ---
FL 7-35.-:- --- '.-
FL7-47 -.-
FL 7-49 -I '-o ,

trench strategy was modified. The first phase was to excavate down to bedrock. The sec-
ond phase tunneled east underneath the pyramid to the center of the building mass. By
pursuing this strategy, it was recognized that the data gathered on the chronology would
pertain to the earliest construction phases the tunnel runs at the base of all the later
remodeling. The excavation followed along bedrock until, nine meters east of the tunnel
mouth, a major plaster floor/plaza [(FL) 7-98] was encountered. It was decided to step up
0.5 m and excavate along the top of this Middle Preclassic plaster floor that formed one of
the original public plaza floors at El Pilar. The tunneling continued for 28 meters before
excavations were closed down at the end of the field season.

Several important finds resulted from this excavation. The Program identified at
least eight major construction phases under the western end of the Xik Na. The earliest
phase of construction dates to the Middle Preclassic before 600 BC. More importantly,
several of these early phases, in contrast to the latest Xik Na, faced east across the plaza
formed by [(FL) 7-98] and this Middle Preclassic floor continued to the east beyond the 28

Excavations of 1998: It has been assumed that the early structures identified in the
western end of the tunnel face across an ancient plaza toward other structures on the east.
As the plaza surface [(FL) 7-98] continued east in the Xik Na tunnel, it was determined that
the tunnel should be continued, and if possible completed.

Rather soon after commencing excavation in the tunnel, several significant strata
were noted. First, there was a 50-cm high platform constructed out of a pure, sticky black
clay constructed [7-191] on top of the Middle Preclassic floor [(FL) 7-98]. The second strata,
[7-196], consisted of layers of various materials cobbles, boulders, dirt, gravel liberally
fused in lime cement [7-196]. A third strata showed signs of settling cracks between it and
surrounding strata signaling that it had been excavated into older layers.

Past: 1998 Fild I

Four meters from where we left off in 1995, the tunnel crew literally ran into a major
obstacle. This obstacle was a large wall [(WL) 7-197] that began 80 cm above the plaster
floor [(FL) 7-98]. Three of the courses were exposed in the excavation. This wall was made
up of very large well-shaped limestone blocks in header and stretcher construction blocks
approx. every 80 cm protrude to the west. A fill strata [7-196] appears to have formed the
foundation behind the wall encountered in the excavations. Probes were extended five
meters to the north and south of the wall [(WL) 7-197] to determine if this was a major wall
and if there were any apertures. Eleven meters of exposed wall reveal a very consistent
enormous header-and-stretcher style retaining wall. Some stones exceeded one meter in
length and 50 cm in height. This obstacle was the inside of a major terrace construction wall
and was inclining to the west suggesting a battered wall on the other side. There was no
other way to continue except through the wall.

2- ,.41 .

Note: Middle Preclassic ---
Plaza Floor [FL 7-98]

Ultimately, we removed two of the stones directly in the path of the tunnel to look
beyond the wall [(WL) 7-197] to the east. The wall stones were soft and crumbled readily.
East of the wall we encountered strata [7-198], a fill component over the wall [(WL) 7-197].
This fill was composed of loose earth rubble and presented a hazard to the excavation. An
excavated 1 meter-long probe into this fill revealed stacked chert and limestone boulders,
some reused building blocks, chert cobbles and with a soft clay loam. A survey of the
tunnel determined this point was 13 meters from the outside edge and 14 meters below the
rear mound structure. With the difficulties presented by the fill, it was determined that we
would be unable to complete the tunnel this season.


Building on the settlement surveys of the Belize River Archaeological Settlement Sur-
vey, we now have an unique opportunity to undertake an intensive study of a specific area in
the immediate vicinity of a large center, El Pilar. The integration of global positioning systems
with traditional transit and compass surveys is an important aspect of the strategy and its
effectiveness within the Maya forest.

Within a conservation area such as El Pilar, survey strategies should be the least
destructive possible. Techniques to accomplish this aim may vary yet current technology
allows for prioritizing survey areas and evaluating impacts as the situation dictates. The
aim here is to promote minimal impact on cultural and natural resources while identifying
and inventorying the cultural heritage.

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

09UevTy 0- I** 4;tives
The BRASS/El Pilar Program has integrated a series of mapping techniques that are
motivated by the archaeological objectives. The techniques include precise cadastral sur-
veys tied to official bench marks with horizontal controls, Global Positioning System (GPS)
control points for target map areas, detailed transit surveys for precise dimensional maps,
as well as compass surveys for general identification of cultural remains. The ultimate aim
of the program is to have a well-defined topographic map of the El Pilar archaeological
area indicating relevant cultural and features. This is obviously a long-term goal, and the
strategy presented here will help to define this future.

The survey design incorporates the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) grid
system within the reserve to provide a locational standard for the El Pilar Program. The
UTM locational standard can link everything from archaeological maps to zoological
transects and is adapted for Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

There are two main objectives involved in the archaeological survey strategy at El Pilar:
* Locating of cultural remains using an UTM coordinate system
* Mapping individual structures, plaza groups and activity areas.

The techniques used to achieve these objectives utilize different strategies and de-
pend on the immediate goals. General exploration and sketch maps provide an overview
of the cultural features of the reserve. Such general maps are located by control points
established with the GPS. These control points, in turn, establish the basis for precise
mapping using the transit. Used together, these strategies provide a basic foundation for
developing an inventory of the cultural resources of El Pilar and a basis for the settlement
pattern analysis.

Table 1 : El Pilar Archaeological Survey Strategy


Locate Features Bench Mark Cadastral Survey Transit
Control Point GPS Survey GPS Unit

Map Features Identification Exploration & Compass
Mapping Sketch Transit
Detailed topography

Location of T( f iral P. 1-', 111 ,111 ,
The UTM grid system was established by a cadastral survey on the boundaries of the El
Pilar reserve. The physical location of cultural features across the landscape requires the
establishment of subsidiary control points. Thus, the bench marks and control points of the
reserve boundary play an essential role in the El Pilar archaeological settlement survey.

Past: 1998 Fild I

Control points in target areas are key to the detailed mapping. The establishment of the
control points can be accomplished in different ways, the basic transit method or with the
GPS. The locational controls are the essential basis for fixing cultural features in two-di-
mensional space.

Cadastral Survey: The cadastral survey of the reserve boundary is the basis for all El Pilar
archaeological survey work. The El Pilar Archaeological Reserve boundary is based on
permanent bench marks, the key one is identified as SBM1. The position of SBM1 was
established on the UTM grid system.1 There is also an Inter American Geodetic Survey
bench mark, E10, placed during a 1962 Cayo-Yaloch road survey.2 The El Pilar archaeologi-
cal survey has used SBM1 as the basis of the horizontal control and E10 as the basis for the
vertical control. From these two bench marks the three dimensional horizontal and vertical
controls are fixed for all survey and mapping exercises within the reserve.

GPS Survey : A GPS unit is a small, relatively light weight radio transceiver that commu-
nicates with known orbiting space satellites. Through radio transmissions, a GPS can fix
horizontal locations with a high degree of accuracy. Vertical controls are still problematic
for civilian use.

GPS units vary from simple hand held units that provide general locational data,
within 100 meters, to more sophisticated and precise units that give horizontal accuracy
within centimeters. The El Pilar archaeological survey is fortunate to be collaborating with
Sonoma State University where Trimble has recently donated its top equipment for experi-
mentation at El Pilar.

The major benefit of using a GPS unit for archaeological field work is that it can have
minimal impact on the forest. GPS units collect locational data transmitted by satellites so
there is no need for a transit survey line to be carried from one known control point to the
next one.

The use of bench marks SBM1 and E10 within the study
area presents a great advantage for the El Pilar archaeological
survey. This provides the horizontal and vertical control basis for
the GPS. The GPS method employed to ascertain UTM grid loca-
tions at El Pilar was a complex one that utilized two GPS units
operating in synchrony with each other. A staged strategy was
required to establish the given grid basis. The first unit is a sta-
tionary base (Trimble 400SE), and the second is a rover (12 channel
GPS Pathfinder Pro XL with a TDC1 data logger). These two GPS
units together provide a fine scale horizontal control. With the
base station set to a known horizontal and vertical position, the
precision of the data collected on the horizontal scale is within 5
cm. Using the determined elevation for E10, the vertical data has a
precision of within 50cm.

William Poe with mobile
1 UTM 1907 180 N / 271 933 E (Statutory Instrument 54,Government of Belize 1998).
2 E10 has a designated elevation of 231.76 meters, Filed notes, Ministry of Natural resources Belize.

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

To determine the UTM grid for the El Pilar archaeological survey, a permanent
central base station for the GPS had to be to be established. In order to accomplish this, a
multistage strategy based on SBM1 had to be undertaken. This strategy serves for the
establishment of all base station controls for survey. First, the GPS base is positioned over
the known point while the rover is situated at the potential base station. Then, the satellite
data are collected simultaneously. Next, the units are reversed and data are collected again.
Each collection period can last up to one hour. This continues until the data sets agree
between the new base station location and the known point.

The determination of the agreement is based on laboratory computer processing of
the satellite data field. These satellite data were correlated and corrected by computer
using a mathematical algorithm to meet the 3 dimensional data of the bench mark. Once
the results of this process are found to be satisfactory, the survey proceeds. At this point, a
local GPS base station can be permanently set.

C^MIk~j^^^ [ ^)?A AO FA 1M

. ... i i.. ........
lilliE .


111 111 1111111

1 1 I I II1111111 II

Past: 1998 Fild I

The next step was to start GPS survey around El Pilar. Originally it was hoped that
topographic survey work could be managed with the GPS rover. Experimentation, how-
ever, demonstrated that it was only possible to use the rover while moving in very open
areas, such as the roads and fields. Thus, the use of the GPS unit for fine scale definition of
the broad topography, monumental and residential areas, not to mention ancient structures,
is not possible under the conditions of the Maya forest. Even with a six meter antenna, it
was difficult to maintain satellite contact while moving in most areas of El Pilar. Roads
were problematic where tree overhang caused interruptions in satellite data flow to the
GPS unit.

As a result of these experiments, we concluded that the most effective use of the GPS
in the Maya forest is to focus on control points. For the precision we require from the GPS
to establish control points, it was essential to maintain contact with a minimum of 5 satel-
lites. To accomplish this, the rover had to remain stationary for approximately 15 minutes.
The control points would be fixed in space and provide the base for the integration of other
survey methods.

To facilitate the traditional surveys at El Pilar, control points are set in locations
where the best data can be captured. A minimum of two control points in line-of-sight
need to be established. This provides the basis to maintain a standard grid bearing, essen-
tial to all mapping procedures.

By linking the cadastral and GPS strategies, the El Pilar archaeological survey can
design the placement of control points throughout the reserve with precise UTM coordi-
nate. From established control points, the sketch and detailed topographic mapping can be
integrated. The result is a comprehensive platform for research not only on the archaeo-
logical resources in the reserve, but to all research tied to locations within the area.

Identifica tion and iI -l.-pin h
One of the primary goals for El Pilar is to establish the inventory and understanding
of the cultural resources around the major center of El Pilar. This requires archaeological
survey to identify and map the area. The survey is divided into two levels of investigation;
1) rapid inventory and sketch mapping, and 2) detailed topographic definition.

Exploration and Sketch: The strategy for the exploration of El Pilar involves both system-
atic survey and the use of local informants to identify structures or groups of structures.
This is an initial level of identification and is important to establish targets for control
points. Once areas with archaeological remains are located, sketch maps are prepared. The
sketches give the researchers as well as managers and idea of what kinds of sites are found
around El Pilar. These locations are, then, the targets for establishing GPS control points.

Detailed Topographic Definition: The most detailed level of survey data is attained with
the transit. The need to maintain a standardized grid across the reserve requires an azi-
muth or grid position to be carried from a known point to the new survey area. The tradi-
tional method of maintaining a base line with a transit has been to cut a linking line across
the landscape, a time consuming and disruptive practice for flora and fauna. By using the
GPS to establish UTM control points, the El Pilar strategy minimizes the need to cut survey

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

The primary transit used at El Pilar is a Topcon GTS 203 which utilizes a laser to
establish distance and coordinates. The information gathered with the transit gives precise
data on the location of structural features and general topography. These data are com-
piled into a growing digital data base from which maps are generated.

Summ ary
Several long term goals are prominent within the survey design and are aided by the
advanced technology currently available to the project. We aim to intensively survey the
whole reserve recording the cultural remains based on the UTM grid system. This is facili-
tated by the GPS control points that are strategically positioned throughout the site.


Ecological studies of the forest structure and assessment of the overall ecological
context is at the core of the El Pilar Program efforts and this is prominently featured in the
forest garden. The Maya Forest Garden project is designed to utilize both archaeological
and ethnographic evidence to design a model of the subsistence mosaic. In combining both
past patterns with present knowledge, the garden surrounding the Tzunu'un residential
group provides a method for explaining how the ancient Maya may have utilized the land
while demonstrating how current inhabitants of the Maya forest are involved in sustainable
gardening practices. Overall goals of the project include education of both tourists and the
local community, involvement of the local community, and support of scientific inquiry.

Past En,. .1 ,
Begun in 1996 under the direction of Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, the original project
was the design and support of three gardens. The first garden at Tzunu'un, around the
example Maya house group at El Pilar, was planned as a garden for indigenous plants
thought to be utilized by the ancient Maya. The second garden at the caretaker's house
was designed to contain both indigenous plants and other introduced species (such as
bananas and sugar cane) which are utilized by the local community today. The third gar-
den, at the Be Pukte Cultural Center in Bullet Tree Falls,
would contain indigenous and introduced plants most useful
to the visiting public, making the forest garden model acces-
sible to the community at large.
Work in the 1996 field season focused mainly on preparing
the Tzunu'un forest garden by clearing out unwanted trees
and shrubs from a plot of land surrounding the ancient plaza
group of Tzunu'un. Species not previously present in the
garden area were planted. In the following wet season, care-
takers at El Pilar conducted more intensive planting of sev-
eral species (including such species as cacao and xate). In
1997 the garden was maintained and cleaned but no addi-
tional planting was conducted.
Work on the Forest Garden

Past: 1998 Fild I

The garden at the caretaker's house has been
intensively managed since 1996. New plants are
frequently added by the caretakers during the wet
seasons to both provide a welcoming and beautiful
entrance to the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve and
to provide supplemental foodstuffs. The Be Pukte
Cultural Center is much more sparsely planted
with small trees, shrubs and bushes. The area is
maintained largely as a public gathering place as
with grass and various fruit trees. Each Indepen-
dence Day a new mahogany tree is planted to
commemorate the community's investment at the
cultural center.

r'arden r 1., 1-1i- n, 1'
This year, the Forest Garden Project focused Crew assess the Forest Garden
on the mapping of the established garden and
collection of information on the plants that can be utilized for education and tourism.
Carmen Cruz, a caretaker at El Pilar, and Narciso Torres of Santa Familia, began the rejuve-
nation of the garden by selectively clearing within the garden. Based on their extensive
knowledge of the plants' needs as well as the soil and water limitations, they removed
specific trees and pruned others to allow more light to reach the smaller trees and shrubs.
In doing so, they gained an increased knowledge of the location and distribution of the
plants within the garden and began to make informal observations on the needs of the
garden for the upcoming wet season and the more distant future.

After the removal and clearing was completed, the crew surveyed over five hundred
plants and bushes in the garden. During this phase, each surveyed plant was given a
permanent number to aid in long-term monitoring of the forest garden. This survey infor-
mation will be utilized as a map to locate plants in the garden for local residents, tourists,
and the El Pilar crewmembers.

Subsequently, work with Leopoldo Romero, a Cayo Bushmaster, helped to identify
the trees and plants within the garden. Based on this information, combined with the
further research and information compiled in
the 1996 field season, the scientific names
(Family, Genus, and species when available)
and common names (mainly in English and
Spanish) of the plants were recorded. The
diameter breast height (DBH) of each tree
greater than 5 cm was also recorded, and
permanent numbered tags were placed on
these trees to monitor growth. In order to
make this information accessible to the pub-
lic, a permanent metal nametag has been
placed on or near each individual plant. A
The Forest Garden of Heriberto Cocom

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

new trail winds through the forest garden for the educational enjoyment of the visitor and
the use of the forest gardener.

Information on the uses and historical significance of many of the tree species was
also recorded from interviews with Mr. Romero and staff members. The compiled informa-
tion forms a preliminary trail guide for the Forest Garden trail.

IFutuire 7Tlorhk
The Maya forest garden has unlimited potential as a tool for education as a means to attract
ecotourists to the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve. Success lies in both maintenance and the
continued growth of the garden as well as in the creation of an accessible information base
concerning the plants of the forest garden and the potential use of forest gardening in the
local community.


Consolidation efforts at El Pilar have proceeded with a clear view towards long-term con-
servation and maintenance of the area exposures at El Pilar. In view of the considerable
experience that exists on Maya architecture, the consolidation work at El Pilar has been
designed to incorporate the lessons learned. The goal is to develop a wholly new way of
revealing ancient Maya temples that allies with the Maya forest, in a search for a balance
between nature and culture.

The balance we are seeking of culture and nature at El Pilar must account for the
structural stability of the ancient Maya ruins, the maintenance regime for the site, and the
visual needs of the visitor. This complex balancing act requires experimentation and refine-
ment. The El Pilar Program consolidation project is in its second year. We are learning
from the experience. Working under the guidance and tutelage of Rudy Larios, whose
work on Maya architecture spans more that 3 decades, the vision for the conservation of the
ruins goes beyond the immediate and well into the future.

Tzunu'un Str. 5 exposure ~ 1997 /and after experimental consolidation ~ 1998

T}he El Pilar 1 _pproacn
The Program's approach to conservation follows the ICOMOS Venice Charter of
1964. The position in the Charter is that the ancient cultural remains are not the sole point

Past: 1998 Fild I

of attention, but part of a greater context that includes the relationship to other cultural
resources, the natural environment, as well as the general surrounding landscape. As a
ruin, El Pilar can never be reconstructed to resemble anything that it meant in the past.
Cultural resources, such as those of El Pilar, are only a vestiges of that original character.
We now interpret these remains as we encounter them and at El Pilar we have the opportu-
nity to create an entirely new way of perceiving Maya ruins.

Given our unique position to create a new encounter with El Pilar, we are approach-
ing the conservation of the resources with extreme caution and care. We have spent the
past five years investigating and evaluating the site's great potential for conservation. Our
initial forays into the realms of consolidation have been rewarded with fine results, as seen
at the area of Jobo in the northern
H'Mena Acropolis. These results
have been hard won and include
experimentation with quarrying,
development of distinct mortars and
surface treatments, and the evalua-
tion of finishing styles. The develop-
ment of the consolidation process
depends on the collaboration with
our local staff from Cayo. Their
involvement in the decision-making .
of the work at El Pilar was integral to
our successes. These efforts are still
in process and will continue to un-
dergo refinement. Tzunu'un Str. 1 main wall after consolidation

I materials[
All the basic materials used in the consolidation work at El Pilar are essentially of
the original character of the construction from the Classic Period. Local materials are the
source for the ancient Maya and are the basis of effective consolidation for our contempo-
rary goals. Starting with limestone, this local stone forms the fundamental building block
of every Maya construction. Rough limestone and its inclusions of chert were used as fill
for buildings, the core of walls, and the essence of foundations. Facing stones were fash-
ioned from select quarries for their uniform qualities. At El Pilar we have been reviving old
quarries for such stone. Where original stone materials on building exposures have dete-
riorated, newly quarried stone of the same dimensions is used to replace the original.

Mortars used by the Maya to point the limestone blocks, consolidate fill, and prepare
floors were made from lime slaked local limestone, selected marl or sascab, and water. We
used a variation of this basic recipe as developed by Rudy Larios.

* 3 x 1: Three parts sifted marl (1/4") to one part hydrated lime for the following uses:
For massive wall fill.
For repointing walls and resetting chinking in walls
For sealing stucco to walls
Diluted for stabilizing structural cracks

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

* 3 x 1 + 5%: The mix is the same as (I) above with the addition of 1 part Portland cement
for 20 parts prepared mix. This is used as follows:
For the surfaces of fills, walls and exposures to impede water filtration For level-
ing of floors for water flow
For structural areas where weight bearing is involved.

* 3 x 1 F: A mix of 3 parts well screened (widow screen) marl to 1 part screened hydrated
lime for the following special cases:
For sealing of plaster on walls, stucco facades, or in their reconstruction.
For sealing of cracks in plaster and stuccos that separated from walls.

* 1 x 2 x 1 F: This fine mix, screened with window mesh, is made with 1 part marl, 2 parts
screened sand, and 1 part hydrated lime. This mix should be very liquid and serves
well for the following examples:
For filling in holes where stucco has separated from walls.
For rescuing stuccos in danger of deterioration.
For fine cracks in stuccos and plasters.

a ls and Floors of Tzunuo n
The consolidation at Tzunu'un involved consolidation of the main walls of the
southern structure of the house group, Str. 1. This building, composed of five rooms with
interconnecting doors, was excavated in 1997 and left protected by a thatch roof for the
visitors to view. This year the aim was to develop the consolidation program by working
on the stabilization of the building foundation, the consolidation of the room walls of Str. 1,
and sealing of the bench surfaces. In addition, we experimented with the consolidation of
the floors of the three perishable structures surrounding the plaza (Str. 3, 4, and 5). The
results are variable and we will be able to evaluate the long-term conservation issues after
the rainy season.

Before any consolidation took place at Tzunu'un, all walls, interior and exterior,
were photographed, measured, and drawn. Included in our documentation process was the
use of a digital camera that recorded magnetically a picture of the wall surface. The digital
photos could be compiled into a mosaic for use on-site. From these photos, we created
composite mosaics of the walls for managing the field process. This turned out to be an
excellent innovation, better than Polaroid and amenable to many distinct uses that assisted
the consolidation process. The working field documents of the drawings, photos and
digital mosaics allowed for the accurate enumeration of the wall stones for the consolida-
tion. The results of the work at Tzunu'un provide a basis for quantifying the amount of

Tzunu'un Str. 1 Entrance on the North Wall prior to consolidation

Past: 1998 Fild I

work, evaluating the labor requirements, estimating the materials needed, and the opti-
mum size of a work group.

Following the evidence from the walls, the fill, and the composition of the founda-
tion, the project proceeded to dismantle the loose facing stones, consolidate the rubble core,
reconstitute the walls up to their original height (c. 1.20 m), and stabilize the foundations of
Str. 1. In addition, we spent considerable time rejuvenating a local quarry in an effort to
replace deteriorating facing stones and complete the consolidation process.

The consolidation work focused on the walls and foundation of Str. 1 as follows:

N wall face E Face and covered
NE wall of Rm. 1 E bench Rm. 1
NW wall of Rm. 1 Seal on S walls Rm. 1
NE Side, E and W face Seal on E & S walls Rm. 3
W Inset corner Seal on N, E, & W walls Rm. 4
Bench Rm. 4 Seal on walls and bench Rm. 2
W foundation Seal on walls and bench Rm. 5
Walls of central door Seal on central wall S
N Face Seal on wall cores
Floors covered w/ marl & moist lime Develop seal style

ConsG ttion
The 1998 field season saw the completion of three major construction projects. Ra-
leigh International volunteers worked on the modern Maya house along the Water Trail
and thatch-roofed rest stops along the Xaman and Nohol trails. In addition, the old
champa in Plaza Duende was replaced by a new structure that should last for many years.

Raleigh International, a British ecological and youth development organization,
supplied two volunteer groups to El Pilar
this season, each for three weeks. The first
group to arrive set up camp along the
Water Trail and spent the next three weeks o
rehabilitating the example Maya house.
The old guano, or bay leaf, roof as well as
the rotting roof members were removed
and entirely new roof assembled, this time
out of corozo or cohune leaf. They also
replastered the exterior of the building
and rebuilt the steps down to the first
spring on the trail.

The second Raleigh group built two
thatch-roof rest stops, small buildings with
L-shaped benches, along the Nohol and Plaza Copal Causeway Rest Stop

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

Xaman trails. One structure was built
at the head of the Bryan & Murphy
causeway in Plaza Copal and the other
is on the west end of Plaza Lec. Both
are constructed out of "redwood" and
Share destined for many years of use. The
Raleigh groups are to be commended
for the great job they did.

The Program also replaced the old
champa in Plaza Duende. Our master
carpenter, Carlos Medina, managed the
construction process for the new
Te W e Duende Champa. They began by
constructing six beautiful chert cobble-
Plaza Duende Picnic "Champa" concrete posts that replace the old
wood ones that has succumbed to
termites. The new roof is supported by a pressure treated lumber structure with a painted
sheet metal roof to capture water for visitors. Utilizing the left over wood from the con-
struction project, the crew also built two new picnic tables and several stools.
Three large trail projects were completed during the field season. The first involved remov-
ing the stairs from the Chorro Trail, the longest El Pilar trail at 2.3 km. The steep stair areas
were replaced with switchbacks wherever possible. This project will make maintenance of
the trail easier for the Reserve caretakers.

The Water Trail was completely renovated and partially rerouted by the second
group of Raleigh volunteers. This project also replaced many stairs with switchbacks and
made the trail somewhat easier going for the visitor. The south end of the trail, near the
mouth of the El Pilar springs, is particularly beautiful.

Lastly, an entirely new trail was cut this year at the suggestion of the caretakers in
direct response to visitor requests to be able to walk the ancient causeway. With a total
length of approximately 1.5 km the Causeway trail exits Plaza Copal and traces the Bryan
& Murphy causeway west to an old logging road. The trail then circles back on the old
road to end at the LDF chert site. At the chert site, the trail joins the El Pilar trail system to
exit at Plaza Faisan.

The result of these new amenities the rest stops, the Plaza Duende picnic champa,
and the trails will give the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve more character for the visitor.


In order to bring more focus to community development and community participa-
tion related to the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve a community participation component
was coordinated with the International Program of University of Florida (UF). The two

Past: 1998 Fild I

goals of the UF / El Pilar Community Project were to facilitate local participation in plan-
ning and activities for community development and creating a management plan for the El
Pilar Archaeological Reserve. The project encountered a number of challenges. These
ranged from local experience with paternalistic projects, to skepticism about potential
benefits to the community, to limited organizational experience on the part of the local
group- Amigos de El Pilar (AdEP), the local leader in promoting interest in the reserve.

With all the challenges, the UF / El Pilar Community Project succeeded in its goals by
facilitating a participatory planning process that analyzed and implemented development
alternatives, strengthened AdEP as an organization and strengthened local people's voices
in the process of creating a reserve management plan. A team of Belizean facilitators as-
sures continuity of work with AdEP, they will be providing expertise in governmental
relations, training, group organization and small enterprise financing. One major success
was the evolution of this group from ad hoc team into a group with a shared vision of their
roles and approach and a defined set of goals for the upcoming year.

Through five working visits
by UF staff (spearheaded by Kevin
Veach), the UF / El Pilar Community
,b n Project implemented an explicit
a i p philosophy of participation as a
process of self-initiative promoting
individual and group empower-
ment. The work relied on local
definition of needs and interests,
beginning with a needs assessment
with local groups that led to an
understanding of the benefits
people desired from the UF /E Pilar
Community Project and reserve and
what they felt they would need to
achieve those desires. Based on
these findings, a two-day workshop
AdEP Be Pukte Community Center BTF was held that analyzed the potential
benefits and challenges of
ecotourism and initiated a process of planning tourism-related alternatives that could be
viable locally. The workshop brought together over 30 individuals from communities near
the reserve as well as from the NGO sector and groups involved in ecotourism enterprises.

A subsequent focus by the facilitator team on planning, prioritizing and building
organizational capacity with AdEP led to several tangible outcomes. First, the group used
its own resources to finish the construction of their cultural and crafts center-Be Pukte-
and opened it with a public celebration. Second, a woman's group formed within AdEP
and planned, financed and carried out production and sales of a variety of crafts from the
new Be Pukte Cultural Center. Third, AdEP made significant progress in its planning and
organizational abilities as a result of the work of the UF /El Pilar Community Project and
the facilitator team. This has allowed it to conduct more regular and organized meetings,

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

to plan activities of a larger scale than in the past, to assume responsibility for its own
bookkeeping and to request training to improve their entrepreneurial and managerial
abilities. Finally, while participation in AdEP has remained fairly constant in numbers, it
has improved in quality. Women participate more actively and have new leadership roles.
The women's groups have given the women a collective voice that was lacking in the past.

The project was successful in facilitating local participation in the creation of a
management plan for the reserve. A public meeting opened dialogue about the process
with the community. Preparation with AdEP and the village chair permitted them to play
an effective role representing local interests in a multidisciplinary meeting that produced a
draft management plan for the reserve. Follow up meetings with the community
afterwards assured that the results were shared and strengthened AdEP's credibility in the
community. AdEP is committed to playing a role in the development and management of
the reserve and is better prepared than previously. It will require significantly more human
capacity development, however, before AdEP would be able to assume formal co-
management of the reserve.

Serving up local tamales an event hosted by AdEP

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:i 'PE IDVI 7 Firo IF Thte lesa I'wkoniLI{ 1Ky 1T'' 1

El Pilar Maya Landscape: Gateway Between Two Nations

El Pilar Archaeological Reserve represents an innovative example of cultural resource conser-
vation in relationship to the natural environment and to contemporary peoples.

As the largest Maya archaeological site in the Belize River area, El Pilar is unique in its pre-
sentation of ancient daily life through household structures and forest gardens, located in the
shadows of monumental Maya architecture.

This shared resource serves as a symbol of cooperation between Belize and Guatemala, and
as a model of collaboration between the reserve and local communities and between the cul-
tural and natural resource researchers and conservators.

Involvement in reserve planning and management links the communities to their cultural
heritage and encourages their social and economic development.

Documentation and evaluation of this holistic approach to resource conservation will allow
El Pilar to serve as a model for other important sites of world heritage.

Draft Goals of the Research and Monitoring Program for the El Pilar Archaeological
Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna
1. General Objectives: Research, Education, Protection
(a) to focus on nexus of culture and nature
(i) promote sustainable extraction strategies for plants / animals (e.g. Corozo)
(ii) education of community to participation in long term management of El
(iii) encourage dissemination and publication of preliminary results
(b) To promote solicited science and independent science
(i) standardized data collection methods to facilitate comparisons
(ii) UTM grid location of data sites
(iii) comparable recording techniques
(c) To develop a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) (include all
scientific data within the reserve boundaries)
(d) To organize a research committee made up of research scientists working in the
(i) to establish peer review process to evaluate research
(ii) to develop "handbook" for systematic and vicarious information gath-
ered within the reserve and to encourage dissemination to the commu-
(iii) to promote centralized database of information (all information avail-
able, preliminary field reports of research/observations)
(iv) to track and coordinate access to preliminary reports and other grey lit-
(v) to promote and facilitate research and permit process at El Pilar
(vi) to facilitate scientific enterprise and communications between scientists
and between the committee and governments

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

(vii) to promote periodic scientific roundtables
(viii) to attract more research projects
2. General Activities:
(a) Short Term
(i) develop teachers packages audiovisuall kits) for schools
(ii) contribute illustrative information to the Be Pukte and other community
(iii) incorporate new data into the trail guide for the EP reserve
(iv) document the the EP reserve research and development process
(v) issues to address
areas of investigation
(i) promote model for interdisciplinary research
3. Cultural Resources Objectives
(a) To understand the prehistory, history, and contemporary development of El Pilar
(archaeological, survey, excavation, archives, library)
(b) To promote a coherent archaeological conservation program for all of El Pilar
(c) To develop a conservation monitoring program to maintain El Pilar
(d) To adopt the theme of Travel Through Time and View Everyday Life
4. Cultural Resources Activities
(a) Short Term
(i) inventory of cultural remains to establish a research and monitoring
(ii) investigate the construction sequence of Nohol and Xaman Pilar using
the tunneling method focused at Copal (EP7) and the Hemena (EP20)
(iii) continue development of the Forest Garden to show aspects of everyday
(iv) complete the excavation, exposition, and consolidation at 1) Tzunu'un,
2) EP7 stairs of Copal, 3) EP25 of Plaza Lec
(v) initiate monitoring system for consolidation program an institute im-
(vi) develop cultural conservation program that evaluates nature manage-
ment of cultural resources
(b) Medium Term
(i) incorporate Monumento Cultural El Pilar into trail system
(ii) complete the excavation, exposition, and consolidation at key locations
(iii) expand the Forest Garden developments at El Pilar to include the mosaic
of land use areas, particularly in the western Guatemala section of the
reserve where a swamp zones is reported
(iv) continue to monitor conservation strategies for revisions and improve-

Past: 1998 Fild I

(c) Long Term
(i) analyze, publish results of research and conservation programs
(ii) promote conservation program
(iii) establish the varied aspects of the model mosaic of ancient Maya life
ways in the different identified natural life zone systems within the re-
5. Natural Resources Objectives
(a) To understand the natural history of El Pilar
(b) To promote an appreciation of the human interface with the natural environ-
ment at El Pilar, past and present
(c) To focus on the dynamics of the forest through research on succession, edge
effects, and examination of equilibrium
(d) To determine indicator species for monitoring program
(e) To demonstrate the necessity of wildlife corridors in the viability of small re-
serves like El Pilar and document the contribution of small reserves like El Pilar
to the maintenance of biodiversity and refuges for plants and animals
6. Natural Resources Activities
(a) Short Term
(i) inventory of species and communities of plants and animals for baseline
(ii) establish permanent monitoring plots and transects for research and
monitoring programs
(iii) determine baseline soils, species, light for milpas and other stages of for-
est within the reserve
(iv) determine protocol for monitoring within the reserve boundaries
(v) establish air photography base and groundproofing
(b) Medium Term
(i) periodic monitoring of permanent plots and transects (as needed, at least
every 5 yrs)
(ii) measure dynamics of forest
(c) Long Term
(i) analyze, publish results of research and conservation programs
(ii) promote conservation program
(iii) continue periodic monitoring of permanent plots and transects (as
needed, at least every 5 yrs)
(iv) continue to measure dynamics of forest


Basic History of Archaeology at El Pilar

1972 Site of El Pilar reported to the Belize Dept. of Archaeology
1983 Belize Department of Archaeology visits El Pilar with Dr. Anabel Ford, The Belize
River Archaeological Survey (BRASS) begins
1984 A preliminary map was made of the major architecture at El Pilar by BRASS
1986 Excavation and rescue work at El Pilar, Alta Vista, Yaxox, Bacab Na conducted by
1987 BRASS conducts site testing in the area
1993 Detailed mapping begins at El Pilar
1994 Pilar Poniente mapped with IDEAH and CONAP
First trail system constructed
First Fiesta de El Pilar
1995 Construction of a permanent caretaker;s house at El Pilar
Boundaries of El Pilar Archaeological Reserve established by Belize Dept. of Lands
and Survey
Publication of Teo's Way
1996 Forest Garden Project at Tzunu'un begins
1997 Belize Reserve declared
First El Pilar Mesa Redonda
Consolidation work in Plazas Jobo and Lec
1998 Guatemalan Reserve declared under CONAP
Statuatory Instrument signed, Ministry of Tourism and Environment
Second El Pilar Mesa Redonda
Rapid Ecological Assessment of Belizean and Guatemalan Reserves
Consolidation work at Tzunu'un

Chronology of Amigos de El Pilar
1992 May/June Daniel Silva, Area Representative, supports community work at the
plazas of El Pilar

1993 Anabel Ford holds two meetings with the community members presenting idea for
community based organization related to plans at El Pilar.
June 30, 1993 the name AdEP was decided, members joined, and first officers were
elected (President Angel Teck, Vice president Abel Manzanero, Secretary Sandra
Manzanero, Treasurer Fred Prost).

1994 Nine general meetings of membership, one executive meeting and one event were
Participated in the Fiesta El Pilar (5 May 94)
Received registration certificate as a non-profit organization on 7 Sept 94.
Registration number 2566

:* PPPE_' D1__t. -F, -I I,- iround 1Hi,9fO1PT o TFn El Pilai

1. 16, P-i 99 Fi

1995 Fifteen general meetings of membership and six events were held.
The group elected a new President, Marcos Garcia (26 Feb)
Events included:
Presentation of Teo's Way (19 Mar)
Participation of President Marcos in Mobile TNC workshops (May/June)
BTF Agricultural Fair (27 May)
Fiesta El Pilar (10 June)
Global Roots project (July)
University of West Indies Workshops (Aug/ Sept)
Bicycle Race (17 Sept)

1996 Sixteen general meetings of membership and four events were held.
The group elected Prisilla Canchan as Secretary (17 Mar)
Events included:
Presentation of funds to Leukemia victim
President Marcos Garcia Reviews El Pilar Archaeological Reserve from Helicopter,
courtesy of 25 Flight, APC
Landscape workshop at Duplooy's
Fiesta El Pilar (8 June)
Global Roots project (July)

1997 Twenty two general meetings of membership and seven events were held.
June elections of secretary Janet Manzanero
AdEP site maintainence eighteen times per year
Events included:
1st Mesa Redonda (20-24 Jan)
Meeting w/Inpulsores Suchitoecos, Melchor, G.U. (Mar)
Landscape workshop (Apr-May)
Ford Fnd.-Mexico Site visit (Apr)
Fiesta El Pilar (31 May)
Four capacity building workshops with Castefieda of Envic (Aug-Sept)
Independence Day celebration (21 Sept)
Ford Fnd.-New York Site visit (Oct)
Two community participatory workshops with Veach of U. Florida(Oct/Dec)

1998 Thirty general meetings of membership and many events were held.
Elections of new President, Vice Pres., Treasurer
AdEP site maintainence eighteen times per year
Events included:
Mesa Redonda II
Encuentro w/Inpulsores Suchitoecos, Melchor, G.U.
Organizational workshops
Opening of Be Pukte
Presentation of El Pilar Model
Capacity building workshops
AdEP Community Survey
Lamanai Comparison Workshop

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