Resources and settlement of the...
 Field Strategy: site-specific investigations...
 El Pilar Settlement Survey
 Developing monitoring for the El...
 The Monumental Core Area: Discovering...
 Management and Development
 Appendix 1: El Pilar Control Points...
 Appendix 2: Critical Conservation...
 Appendix 3: Consulative Council...
 Appendix 4: Cultural Resources...

Title: Influence of ancient settlement in the contemporary Maya forest : investigating land use at El Pilar
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083140/00001
 Material Information
Title: Influence of ancient settlement in the contemporary Maya forest : investigating land use at El Pilar
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: ISBER/MesoAmerican Research Center
Publisher: University of California, Santa Barbara
Publication Date: 2001
Subject: El Pilar
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Belize -- El Pilar
North America -- Guatemala -- El Pilar
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083140
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
    Resources and settlement of the ancient Maya
        Page 2
    Field Strategy: site-specific investigations at El Pilar
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    El Pilar Settlement Survey
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Developing monitoring for the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    The Monumental Core Area: Discovering El Pilar
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Management and Development
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Appendix 1: El Pilar Control Points List
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Appendix 2: Critical Conservation Areas
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Appendix 3: Consulative Council El Pilar
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Appendix 4: Cultural Resources Plans for El Pilar
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
Full Text

Influence of Ancient Settlement

in the Contemporary Maja Forest:

Investigating Land Cl se at I filar

Submitted to the Belize Department of Archaeology
BRASS/El Pilar 2001 Field Season

Anabel Ford
with contributions by
Rudy Larios, Johan Normark, Paulino Morales, Carmen Ramos,
and Help for Progress

MesoAmerican Research Center
University of California Santa Barbara

While there are debates on the evolution of the ancient Maya, it is acknowledged
that their accomplishments were based on the successful development and
management of regional resources in the Maya lowlands over a period of four
millennia. This BRASS/El Pilar Program is developing a settlement distribution and
density database for the ancient Maya of El Pilar. The data will be gathered over
several years, and this report focuses on the results of the 2001 filed season. The
objective of the field data collection is to 1) establish an inventory of archaeological
remains within the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve, 2) assess the nature and temporal
\ sequence of the settlement within
Teotih can Kohunlich
a A K ch 9ro the reserve for management
ar Ani El Pi N hmul purposes, 3) evaluate factors
'* 'CuesIo creating the patterns, hierarchy, and
r ^ ha order of the Maya human
Mexo Milpa L.,n n landscape.
.iir-a ,---- G-E atem-aTa -- M L anar,, Allun Ha '
MlradorA RioA .... We have built a regional
San Jo foundation with a Geographic
a Information System (GIS) and are
uaxactnA ,,olu, working to create an effective and
T Yaxox u
Tikal, El Pilar ABarton Ramie useful Maya forest GIS based field
NaranjoA Baking Pot
Ya xu 4 A .ta t4aaih \ data collection, digitized
/ environmental inputs, and
Kjk I.O .TS r interpreted satellite imagery. The
N KILOMETERS Caraolld research for a site-specific
field research for a site-specific

El Pilar Report 2001

inventory of ancient Maya settlements around ,roposal/Propuesta
the urban center of El Pilar is a critical part of I\ d A'""Fh"r' a"ru' "
It i I S',"o 1awva Arqueol6gica El Pilor
the research. The settlement pattern database oar For0 Y FO a Mayo,
at El Pilar will increase the resolution of the J OL
regional and local GIS data now in
development. Our results will present the first ..
GIS approach to Maya settlement and i
contribute to understanding the evolution of I
Maya civilization as well as to conservation I -x o x
planning for our world's cultural heritage at I......
the last terrestrial frontier.
The specific objectives for the _. i "..
BRASS/El Pilar 2001 season included:
1. The development of the field settlement survey of the El Pilar Archaeological
Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna using traditional surface survey methods
to locate remains of Maya house remains;
2. Fix locations of control points for physically mapping coordinates of the
residential sites within the reserve;
3. Conservation assessment of Plaza Jobo by examining access ways into the
4. Conservation assessment EP7 facade and the consolidation of the tunnel
5. Promote the continued development of the Maya forest garden;
6. Design trail guides for the forest garden and El Pilar;
7. Produce research level map data for the Maya forest GIS.

Resources and Settlement of the Ancient Maya
The central Maya lowland environment presents a number of diverse resources
exploited over the course of Maya prehistory. Between 1500-1000 BC in the Middle
Preclassic (Puleston 1973; Puleston and Puleston 1971, 1972; Rice 1976, 1981, 1993; see
Ashmore 1981) pioneering settlements focused in areas with perennial water and useful
agricultural land, such as Northern Belize (Green 1973; Hammond 1975; 1985).
Settlements expanded over the area, focused initially on rivers, then lakes and,
ultimately, spread across the entire interior lowland area (Culbert and Rice 1990; Sabloff
and Henderson 1989). Evidence indicates that the interior Peten area around Tikal
dominated the region in the Late Classic Period, AD 600-900 (Culbert et al. 1990; Martin
and Grube 1995; Mathews 1985; Marcus 1993).
Many scholars focus on the dramatic Classic Maya collapse (e.g., Culbert 1973,
1988), but more mysterious is the long sustained, methodical, growth of more than two
millennia widely documented in the archaeological record (cf. Marcus 1993). The
expansion of Maya settlements and the evolution of Maya societal complexity were
based on gradual rise in population and concomitant agricultural intensification over 40

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El Pilar Report 2001

centuries (cf. Boserup 1965, 1981; Cohen 1977). The centralization process spanned more
than 1200 years, supporting the growth of the Classic Maya civilization based on the
development and management of the assets of the Maya forest (Fedick 1996; Graham
1987; Sanders 1977).
There are four basic land resources that together form the range of
environmental variation in the central Maya lowlands (Fedick and Ford 1990; see
Turner 1978), a resource mosaic utilized by both the ancient and modern populations of
the region (see Schwartz 1992). These resources are:
1. Well-drained Ridges: Primary Production Resources
2. Poorly-Drained Lowlands: Secondary Production Resources
3. Riverine-Associated Swamps: Secondary Production Resources
4. Closed Depression Swamps: Non-Production Resources
The well-drained zones most preferred by the Maya for farming are unevenly
distributed across the region resulting in dispersed settlement patterns (Ford 1986; see
also Freidel 1981). They comprise less than one-sixth of the area of Northern Belize, but
nearly half of the interior Peten area around Tikal. There is a distinct relationship
between the availability of well-drained ridges, settlement density, and the regional
Maya hierarchy (Fedick and Ford 1990). These regional distinctions are seen in
settlement size hierarchies ranked by both population and settlement area (see Marcus
1993, Flannery 1972).
The research on the site-specific nature of the ancient Maya economic landscape
will build a settlement picture of the urban quality of the El Pilar center and provide a
foundation for examining the geography of ancient settlement patterns. In addition, the
work will refine a predictive settlement model with field tests for the location of ancient
Maya settlements, and develop a geographically based view of Maya settlement pattern
dynamics over time from the initial pioneering distributions, through the height of the
Maya civilization, and into the collapse. Our objectives will at once provide a basis for
appreciating the geographic bases of Maya settlement and will help in the management
of these valuable and irreplaceable resources.

field Strategy:

5ite-5pecific Investigations at El ilar
The field methods will follow the strategies developed over the past two decades
of work in the region (Ford 1986, Fedick 1989, Ford and Fedick 1992) and tested in the
2000 field season at El Pilar. Expanding on the essential mapping design based on
transects, the El Pilar survey is concentrated in the defined reserve area of El Pilar,
incorporating the general central urban zone of the site as well as varied topographic
and environmental features that surround the monuments. The final survey will
embrace the civic ceremonial monuments as well as settlement up to 1.5 km from the
civic core zone and incorporate the entire reserve area.
We have begun the settlement and topographic survey of the 2000-hectare
reserve with the compilation of the central control point system into a GIS. The basic
Page 3

El Pilar Report 2001

foundation of the survey is the terrestrial and GPS control point network (Giardin 1999;
Poe 1998, 1999, 2000). This network will be extended and, once complete, all areas of the
reserve will be incorporated into one system. We began with the known monumental
architectural features within the reserve (Ford 1987; Ford and Orrego 1995; Ford et al.
1998): Chorro, Kum, Pilar Poniente. These major monuments are located with the GPS.
The survey beyond the monumental zones is now the main priority. The settlement
survey of El Pilar, initiated by the 2001 season, is anticipated to take several years to
The area of the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve is divided into subsets based on
the existing and expanding network of control points and will expand over the course
of each season's work to cover the entire 2000-acre reserve. Traverses established for
surface reconnaissance along mapped transects are oriented to the cardinal directions
using the total station. Paths for field surveys are located with the pace and Burton
compass method. Data collected on survey forms record potential sites along with
verbal notes on vegetation and topographic changes. These aid in the subsequent
mapping phases. The mapping or survey teams follow the surface survey, returning to
designated areas to assess the existence, extent, and type of cultural remains. Using a
tape and Burton compass method, the residential site sketches are oriented to the
transects. The results of these surveys form the corpus of the settlement data.
Research at the El Pilar core area continued in tandem with the site survey.
Target areas with excavations in process were the focus of the 2001 season. The major
effort was aimed at the Plaza Jobo area of the H'Mena acropolis. This area has been
partially excavated, covered and consolidated through field seasons since 1996.
Examinations around the plaza interior, evaluation of drainage areas, and the opening
of the original entrance to the plaza were the aims of our season. The objective was to
create the context upon which to design a complete consolidation program for that
zone. Removal of collapse in strategic parts of the plaza to understand the access ways
to the plaza and detailed mapping were conducted.
In addition, attention to Plaza Copal at the front of EP7 was examined to
determine the state of the tunnel entrance. The western and front entrance to the tunnel
was consolidated leaving the eastern and rear excavated entrance of the EP7 tunnel
with a locked door entrance. Also, we conducted an assessment for the development of
the facade of EP7. The deteriorating roof over the stair was removed and the stairs
covered with a protective mantel of earth after completing an evaluation of
consolidation strategies.
The basic field research is only one facet of our focus at El Pilar. The BRASS/El
Pilar Program continued its commitment to strengthening the infrastructure at the site.
This included repairs of equipment used by the caretakers, supply of new equipment
for the site maintenance, repairs on the trails, replacement of trail signs, painting the
trailhead signs, landscape development, and Amigos de El Pilar orientation. New rest
areas were established, picnic stops developed, and trails oriented. This included the
full development of the Tzunu'un Maya Forest Trail Guide. The text of this guide had
been completed in 1998 and was included in the 1998 field season report to the
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El Pilar Report 2001

Department of Archaeology. This season, the project photographer, Clarissa
Guggenheim, produced the illustrations for the guide. This pamphlet-sized trail guide
is to be sold by Amigos de El Pilar.
The Tzunu'un Maya Forest Trail Guide was assembled and the layout prepared
in PageMaker. The design was submitted to Help for Progress and, with the support of
the Department of Archaeology and the Protected Area Conservation Trust, was
published for distribution in July 2001. The comprehensive El Pilar Trail Guide has also
been written and submitted with 2000 field season report to the Department of
Archaeology. This is currently in the design and layout phase for publication by the
end of the year in collaboration with Help for Progress.
Work on park resources was accelerated to meet the needs of the Fiesta El Pilar.
The 2,500 visitors came to El Pilar from the local area, the regional, as well as
international travelers all joined in a day of celebration with cultural events, indigenous
foods, arts and crafts sales, and
fiesta family enjoyment. After the
1 Fiesta, overall assessments,
e t a r maintenance, and trail redesign
O were required to compensate for
2.0 1 the large influx of visitors. The
growth in popularity of this
celebration over nearly a decade
Roaj to te suggests that a re-evaluation of
re:utu.nS. Maa Forest & event management and
Maya Culture its People organization is needed. One
Traditions strategy for future events is to
Cooperation hold the cultural events at the
Sunday April Z1 10:00 am. village and the field events at the

The fieldwork at El Pilar maintained its traditional outreach components with the
development of the demonstration Maya forest garden and inclusion of traditional
cultivators from the community. This aspect of the program ranges widely and is based
on the needs and requests from the community. Work with the Amigos de El Pilar
included workshops and discussions with the membership and included: outreach and
external relations, leadership and internal relations, and finance management as well as
tours and presentations about El Pilar. Collaborations with the NGO Help For Progress
promoted interactions with the local tertiary schools, with media, and with the
development of a local bibliography on the forest garden.
The El Pilar philosophy is a collaborative one, designed to build bridges from the
community to the protected area with the help of the private sector, the government,
and science. The combined activities of the BRASS/El Pilar Program work together to
fostering local investment in the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and

Page 5

El Pilar Report 2001


Objectives of the Surveu
The objectives of the El Pilar settlement survey are to detect the location of
cultural remains, ecological zones, and topographic relief within the El Pilar
Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna. The cultural remains include
architectural features, storage chultuns, reservoirs or aguadas, quarries, terraces,
agricultural alignments, and parapets. Ecologically, the survey records vegetation
patterns, forest cover, height of canopy, dominant trees, as well as and disturbances
such as logging roads and milpa clearings. Survey crews also make notes regarding the
topography of the area and these are followed up with GPS and transit elevations. All
of these features are designed to be located by the UTM (Universal Transverse
Mercator) grid for comparative spatial utilization and incorporated into a GIS database
for distribution.
This season the El Pilar settlement survey focused on the west side of the
monumental area of Nohol and Xaman Pilar. The aim of the season's work was to map
the area north, south and west of Bryan & Murphy Causeway in an effort to determine
the relative access, settlement relationships, and drainage limits. The overall objective
for the research was to study the relationship between topography and drainage with
respect to monumental and residential structures at El Pilar. House remains, quarries,
aguadas, monumental architecture and other cultural modifications of the landscape
were therefore of great importance. The location of the residential and other cultural
features provide a foundation for the investigation of patterning in relation to soils and
water management and for the development of the settlement chronology of the city.
Future seasons will feature test pit excavations for chronological materials and soil
samples within the surveyed and mapped area. Results from these studies will provide
information on Maya cities and the use of causeways.

To identify and locate the cultural remains, our survey strategy involved several
steps. We set up five transects that ran in east-west direction. Initial setup for the
survey phase and additional precision surveying was carried out with a Topcon GTS-
203 total station. Control points established in previous seasons with the Topcon and
with Trimble TDC-1 GPS units provided our starting point. In addition, tape and
Brunton compass were used to map the individual mound groups on paper.
The transects were set up at 250 m intervals and originally did not extend
beyond Easting 271350, between Nohol and Pilar Poniente. Later in the season we were
able to extend one transect beyond Pilar Poniente. Transects were established with the
transit and the survey coverage was completed with a Brunton compass. The transects
provided the backbone for the survey, the fixed mapped points upon which the
mapping operations relied. Each transects had different lengths depending on their
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El Pilar Report 2001

starting and ending point. The survey provided 120 hectares of coverage and presents a
complex view of the city residential settlements.
The transects were labeled after the starting point which was a benchmark with
known UTM coordinates. The first transect started at control point A2, on the edge of
Plaza Copal in the southern part of El Pilar. It was originally 500 m long but was later
extended to 1400 m to go beyond Pilar Poniente. The second transect, E10, was 700 m
long. The transect E10 was laid out to the south of A2 and tied into the 1962 control
point established by the Interamerican Geodedic Survey the roads of the region were
mapped. E10 is an important point in the El Pilar system as this benchmark provides
our only elevation for the site. North of A2, we established the transect F2 at Plaza
Faisan. Transect F2 was 500 m long. The forth transect was N1W starting north of Plaza
Lec. This transect
El Pilar Archaeological Reserve was 500 m long,
for Maya Flora and Fauna The last transect to
Control Point Extensions E be set up was
Yaloch s N16W, based on a
Kum control point set up
\ in the settlement
area north of the El
El Pilar Pilar monuments.
S \This transect was
S-N the shortest one,
1W Chorro
2 only 300 m in
length. The total
\ Pilaler oie :
EI 0 area surveyed and
mapped was
I approximately 120
Chikin I Lakin hectares, including
Melchor de Mens I bullet Tree F als an area adjacent to
Kum, a minor
o Puntos do Control center 2.5 km to the
1 0 1 2Km Puntos del transctosst of Pilar
S/V Caminos northwest of Pilar

Topography is a critical part of the understanding of settlement patterns,
monument access, and water management. The area around El Pilar is composed of
hills and flatlands. Our surveys demonstrate a distinct preference for the hills, yet there
is occupation in the wide expanse of low areas between the monumental sections of
Nohol and Poniente. Consequently, topographic data were a high priority. As we set
up the baseline for each transect, we also shot topographic points. These were taken to
the north and south of each baseline as far as there was laser visibility in the forest. We
were able to expand from the transects to incorporate more topographic points along
the survey paths (picados) of the A2 transect, thus providing more points further from
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El Pilar Report 2001

the baseline. The primary goal in this phase was to map hills and flatlands that are
important features in the topography of El Pilar.

Transect Start pointNorthing Easting Elevation End point Northing Easting Elevation
E10 E10-1 1908472.252 272014.786 228.46 E10-28 1908561.461 271344.097 217.67
A2 A2-1 1908717.574 271825.179 226.04 A2-61 1908720.236 270434.464 207.99
F2 F2-1 1908967.88 271808.335 218.05 F2-20 1908971.487 271335.478 205.59
N1W N1W-1 1909229.89 271794.072 226.59 N1W-20 1909234.14 271320.761 201.86
N16W N16W-1 1909468.441 271625.211 199.24 N16W-12 1909469.222 271351.299 196.28

Survey and Mapping
The basic methodology of the survey was to establish a baseline from which
small side paths (picados) could be established to facilitate survey coverage. From the
baseline, picados were cut in north-south direction. These were 125 m long on either
side of the baseline and 25 m apart along the baseline. Each picado was named after the
baseline origin point, for example A2-18N, was the 18th picado north of baseline A2.
Every picado was marked off in the field by a stake and flagging tape. These stakes had
known coordinates in the UTM grid determined with the Topcon transit system. This
system, and modifications there to, formed the process by which we accomplished the
survey for 2001. When the A2 transect was extended beyond Pilar Poniente, we
decided to extend the picados 250 m from the baseline. This allowed us to cover a larger
area without establishing more transects. A team made an initial assessment of each
picado, noting cultural, ecological, and terrain features surveyed along the path.

11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 N>

125 m
Transect Baselin Control Point

125 m

Picados (25 m apart)

The survey crew consisted of one crew chief, surveyors and workmen. The crew
chief assigned different picados to the crew. The crew chief also kept records on a daily
survey notes form where he or she wrote down which picados were surveyed and by
whom. General notes on what was found along the picados were also recorded on this
form to augment the picado survey forms.
The surveyor's notes included a variety of notations. Vegetation changes such
as thick bush, high canopy, ferns, low or high visibility was recorded. Logging roads
and other contemporary features that were clearly visible were noted since they can
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El Pilar Report 2001

help to relocate areas in the future. Logging roads are also indications of disturbance of
the cultural remains.
Ancient quarries were recorded as examples of features that are important in the
understanding of land use in the past and for the consolidation program at El Pilar for
the future. These areas provided stone materials for the construction of El Pilar and
could provide a resource for the consolidation work at the site. These areas are
potential locations of good stone material for development of the cultural resource of El
The surveyor's reporting included areas with little vegetation cover and useful in
the location of control points with the GPS. The development of our control point
system is dependent on the combined strategies of terrestrial survey and GPS. We have
found that the best GPS results are found where there is greater sky visibility.
Another important feature recorded in the surveyor's notes and drawings was
the presence of looters trenches. With continued presence of caretakers at the
monuments of El Pilar and our through program to protect the monuments, most of the
looter trenches have been back filled. This has increased the awareness of the problems
of looting, but not the resolution. Our surveys have revealed evidence that the smaller
structures around the site have not been equally protected. This underscores the need
for community participation in the protection of the cultural remains of El Pilar, as well
as other sites of the local area and the Maya forest as a whole. There is remarkable
architecture around the main monuments of El Pilar, and as we survey more of the
reserve, we are finding that there are minor monuments as well. Most of the larger
architectural remains of these minor monuments are looted, presenting problems for
not only the conservation of cultural resources but also more critically for the
archaeologists, the understanding of prehistory in the area. Looting is a serious risk
that the site faces, as its presence becomes better known. The Amigos de El Pilar are in
an excellent position to assist in alerting the people to the problem and to partner with
authorities in the development of a solution.
The initial pedestrian survey targets areas for more intensive coverage and
mapping. The targeted cultural remains identified in the initial survey were each
revisited for the final determinations and to develop the detailed maps. The mapping
team consisted of at least three people. The mapping crew used the initial sketch from
the picado survey to relocate the potential features. Where confirmed cultural remains
were found, they began the mapping process. This involved the establishment of a
datum point within cultural features for the detailed mapping to proceed. The cultural
features were then plotted on graph paper using tape and Brunton compass.
Our methods evolved in the field were based on experience and knowledge. The
objective was to develop composite sketch maps of each residential unit and other
cultural features and to locate the area relative to the greater map of El Pilar. The
methods to achieve the desired results changed over the course of the season.
In the beginning, the mapping teams drew the detailed sketch maps in the field
of features as they were encountered. Later on, we took notes on the features and their
locations with the compass with the measurements and compiled the maps in the lab.
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El Pilar Report 2001

Both methods have their advantage. The field mapping was good when the crew was
new and inexperienced. It helped them to check their drawings before giving them to
the survey director. The field note-taking and lab compilation was more efficient when
the crews were experienced. We found was that we could cover a larger area in the
field if we compiled the maps in the lab.
Following the field survey, data
Datum points for cultural remains was processed in the lab and the cultural
features mapped were completed for
S inclusion in the final maps. Collected
coordinates from the total station were
] N18Wv
entered into ArcView to plot the survey
." ".. zone. The sketch maps were logged in
;:'. by the location of the datum from a
known point on the baseline.
We have devised a system for
labeling the cultural features at El Pilar
by reference to the UTM grid. Each
feature, single structures, and groups
will be labeled according to the system
0so ,900______ will be given an identifier that
corresponds to a portion of the UTM-
] Trans&el starting points *
SControl ptsat PlarPoniente coordinates. To minimize the amount of
numbers of our identifier and to insure
location specificity, we dropped the first
two coefficients in the Northing and the first one in the Easting. The coordinate would
also be rounded to the nearest decimeter, since features are normally more than ten
meters apart. A labeled feature within the system with the coordinates of N.
1908717.484 and Easting 271375.038 would be labeled: 0871 7137. In this way, we will
be able to enumerate all features in the reserve.


The management of protected areas in Mesoamerica face a number of challenges,
among them strategies for collecting and comparing data collected by on-site park
managers and research projects within the areas. As natural and cultural environmental
data for specific areas are accumulated, systematic strategies of data collection and
recording is essential. The Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS, has set in motion a
series of environmental monitoring protocols for the greater Mesoamerica area and
specifically for the regional Maya forest of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. These
protocols are designed for use in the region. One new area for implementation is the El

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El Pilar Report 2001

Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna, a special case of a protected
cultural and natural zone crossing the international boundary of Belize and Guatemala.
To expand the application of the protocols, the El Pilar Program team effort has focused
on the establishing a control point system that will anchor monitoring data collected
within the 2000-hectare reserve. Here, we outline the fieldwork, data processing results,
and activities that set the stage for long term natural and cultural environmental
monitoring at El Pilar.
f aclground ll
The monumental core of El Pilar
was first mapped in 1984 and the first i-o uIi
local control points established. These -----
early control points served to orient the
subsequent detailed surveys that began CI or o Ma i
in 1993. In 1995, the boundaries of the L uoo M Iu
El Pilar Archaeological Reserve in [-r
Belize were established and provided /
the 2-dimensional location of the i --'- i-- i
reserve and the first basis for cadastral .' i looMI
accuracy in the location of cultural and
natural inventories inside the reserve.
Subsequent expansion of the reserve to .
include the monuments in Guatemala __ __- -
2 I I3 I
was based on these controls. I I
In 1998, the contiguous I I
boundaries for El Pilar were I I I
established on the ground, enclosing an
area of more than 2000 hectares, and
protecting the cultural monuments of the ancient Maya and the natural resources that
surround the site. Access to the area continues to be from Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo,
Belize, but the community identity with El Pilar includes Melchor de Mencos, Peten,
Guatemala as well as the communities of Cayo, Belize.

Data Organization
Data collected at El Pilar are part of a long-term research, development, and
conservation program designed to promote greater conservation awareness of resources
of the region. To pursue the cross-scale Maya forest research linked to El Pilar, the three
conceptual scales have to be managed together. The use of the Geographic Information
System, GIS, assists in the management and integration of data from the region, the
local zones, and the site-specific areas.

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El Pilar Report 2001

The three scales are:
1. Small-scale analyses embrace the largest area and include the entire Maya Forest
region. The range of scale runs from 1:250 K and greater and incorporates the
data from diverse areas of Maya Forest (south Mexico, north Guatemala, and
2. Medium-scale analyses include local focus and greater data detail. This scale
ranges around the scales 1:50 K 1:20 K and incorporates local areas such as El
Pilar Cayo Belize and Tikal in Guatemala.
3. Large-scale analysis is site-specific and is highly focused in character and detail.
This is the level of resource monitoring based on controls within the El Pilar
reserve area. This scale range runs from 1:6 K and less and concentrates on
monitoring and inventories for the EL Pilar Archaeological Reserve. The data are
collected as inventories, maps, excavations linked to control points. The control
points are the most basic level of location information for El Pilar.

Large Scale Control {Point Propagation Survey Methods

Mapped Areas Environmental Specific data
Georeferencing 3 inter-visible Control Points UTM 2*2 grid
control points

Method Carrier mode GPS with carrier GPS or terrestrial
processing: 45min mode processing transit set up from
Differential Or control points
correction Terrestrial transit
survey with least
square adjustment
Accuracy < 10cm < 10cm 10cm
Survey Total station Total station Laptop
Accuracy 10cm 10cm The unit


Instrument Datalogger
GPS Mono-frequency GIS Datalogger like TDC1
Dual-frequency quicker If possible: Trimble TSC1
Total station TopCon GTS 203 TopCon FS Husky
If possible: Trimble TSC1
Laptop Simple laptop, resistant to the weather

The Surveus and Control Point Propagation
The development of the surveys and the establishment of the control point
system are based on the foundation of work related to the mapping phased of the major
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El Pilar Report 2001

architecture at El Pilar. These data points were established based on a local
independent project grid system oriented to magnetic north in 1993. To create a site
control point system that tied into the reserve boundaries and promoted a location
system with reference to the region required conversion to the UTM grid. This was
accomplished mathematically. Once this basic data were available for the El Pilar
marker system, we were able to re-survey the internal system for accuracy. From this
base we designed a control point propagation system founded on the core network and
the boundary survey.

El Pilar Control and Reference Point Network

A Control Points
o Reference Points
Pr@V wed fr Dr A nbaI Ford
PredBtl l UTM ZOnt 16
wO 00 1200 Meters tB w oe and E Oaraner
UC9B haua F-rert 019

The control points for the internal El Pilar system were corrected using the UTM
designation for the El Pilar Archaeological reserve boundary survey of the Belize
Department of Land and Survey. The fixed point is called SBM1 and is referenced by
the Belize Department of Lands. This is specified in the statutory description of the El
Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna (Ancient Monuments and
Antiquities El Pilar Aird1i1cologital Reservefor Maya Flora and Fauna order, 1998 Statutory
Instrument No. 54 of 1998). We have used as our elevation the results of the Inter
American Geodetic Survey Marker E 10, also used in the original El Pilar reference

Point Northing Easting Elevation
EPB1 1908269.129 271999.533 240.363

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El Pilar Report 2001

We have found that there are some discrepancies among systems and have been
working to resolve the variations with the support of Keith Clarke of UCSB. A listing of
the core control points for El Pilar are given in Appendix I.
Additional propagation of the control points continued with the research
activities. First, the archaeological settlement survey involved extending control points
using the transit and the GPS. Additional control points were established in the
environmental assessments in relationship to botanical surveys. Finally, the
reassessment of the survey boundaries lines for the fauna monitoring provided checks
on the boundary survey points.
SElE Pilar North Survey Control Points Work on the north part of
N84WCpi A the reserve resulted in the
79wcp A extension of the control point
system to the north up to the
northern boundary.
Survey work to the east
resulted in the expansion of the
AN39AW3 control points between Nohol and
N33WC Xaman Pilar on the east and Pilar
X Poniente and Kum in the west.
SN6WP2 NECP Both in the north and in the east,
ancient Maya settlement, status of
OWC ithe vegetation, topographic relief,
N and other features were
S PicadaPoInts
S /Piar Road documented.
N /\/Reserve Boundary Belize
A A control Points One of the major concerns
100 0 00 200 300 400 Meters for data collection in the reserve is
Map by Erin Chase the quality of the control point
system. Over the past several
years we have developed methods for the expansion of the control point system and
have been successful in using a combination of strategies that provide coverage for the
current research in cultural and natural resources of El Pilar.
Five control points were set out this season. They were concentrated on Transect
A2. Two control points were fixed between Nohol Pilar and Pilar Poniente (A2-19 and
A2-20). The other three were located at Pilar Poniente (PP1, PP2 and PP3).

Control Points Northing Easting Elevation
A2-19 1908717.484 271375.038 213.784
A2-20 1908717.560 271349.658 213.717
PP1 1908645.952 270857.813 230.587
PP2 1908612.703 270864.990 231.049
PP3 1908576.856 270843.354 229.367

Page 14

El Pilar Report 2001

One GPS point was also taken at Kum (site 13-6-A). The northwestern corner of
the platform south of the northern aguada has the UTM coordinates: Northing 1910768
and Easting 269462. This was used to locate the whole complex within the UTM grid.
Our final work was associated with the review of the reserve limits, the clearing
of the boundary line, and the development of a resource monitoring design with the
assistance and support of Roan McNabb and the trained monitoring crew from
Uaxactun. The El Pilar boundary clearing was an arduous job undertaken in the last
part of the season and with the direct support of the Department of Archaeology. Every
year from 1996 through 1999, the BRASS/El Pilar team included the boundary brecha
clearing as part of the field season's work. In 2000, the Department of Archaeology took
over the job, and in 2001 we jointly worked to make the boundaries of El Pilar clear and
well delimited. This is a critical part of the management of the reserve and the vast
resources within it.
The boundaries of El Pilar cross over a wide variety of environmental zones
and serve as a means of monitoring more than just incursions and infractions. Once
the southern boundary was cleared, we worked with Roan McNabb Wildlife
Conservation Society to train Amigos de El Pilar in the monitoring protocols for
faunal surveys. The phasing of the monitoring training on the boundaries with the
training of the El Pilar crew in the monitoring protocols was successful. The south
boundary was selected, as it is accessible, most threatened with incursions, and
crosses a variety of resource zones representative of El Pilar. There are hills, streams,
tall canopy, and regenerating forests. In addition, there were new burned areas
identified within the reserve boundaries. Amigo de El Pilar members easily recognize
plant and animals communities that are associated with these distinct vegetation
zones. The Uaxactun crew was able to experience a new area, work with fellow
campesinos, and demonstrate techniques for the El Pilar program and the Amigos de
El Pilar. We now have a monitoring strategy based on the baseline transect of the
south boundary line of the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna.

Survey( Coverage
The El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna incorporates
about 2000 hectares total, embracing the city core of El Pilar. From previous survey
efforts, we have identified the presence of large architectural features across this
protected area. Temple complexes of varying sizes have been found within the
boundaries of the reserve. The past two years work on the development of the
archaeological survey, inventory, and analyses has provided a base for gathering an
inventory of cultural remains for management and for research. While it will take some
years to create the full inventory for the reserve, we now have an established system for
survey coverage, mapping conventions for documentation, and a control point
propagation design to further the work. This survey strategy will provide
documentation for the cultural inventories as well as a means for working with the
environmental inventories.

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El Pilar Report 2001

This season, with the established survey system, we were able to cover more
than 120 hectares. Combined with the 30 hectares covered in 2000, we have been able to
cover a total of more than 150 hectares. This coverage is less than 10% of the 2000-
hectare reserve, but we have been in the experimental phase of the work. This initial
phase has provided a basis for understanding the methods and techniques for
developing the long-range strategies needed to complete the survey.
In general, the ancient Maya settlement seems to cluster where there is
topographic relief. Low lying and flat areas that experience inundation during the rainy
season did not attract many prehistoric settlers. The lower lands have sparse evidence
of settlement. This is not surprising as the average rainfall from June through December
is 2000 mm.
Hill slopes rising from the low
areas appear to be devoted to
limestone quarrying. Quarries are a
l P dominant feature of the area, and
El Pilar
Plotted Settlements this certainly relates to the long
of the 2000-2001 period of construction at the
Surveys / monuments of El Pilar beginning
Prepared by Johan Normark around 500 BC and culminating in
/i .the Terminal Classic Period from
900-1000AD. In the final centuries of
S" ^ expansion, El Pilar covered nearly 50
.hectares in public architecture with
S. major civic plazas, restricted private
Rooms, and dramatic causeways.
Throughout this whole sequence
There is evidence of monumental
'i ^ construction, facade plastering, and
l, plaza amplification. All this
involved limestone building blocks,
A construction fill, and lime for mortar
S and stucco.
SAround the monuments, the
S" residential component of the Maya
3 0 03 O m spread respecting the topographic
assets and limitations. Households
large and small characterized the city inhabitant's residences. Superficial evidence from
the fieldwork suggests that there are many residential units of considerable size,
comparable to those found around Tikal. In addition, there appears to be the presence
of minor centers, such as Kum in the west and Chorro in the east, all within a 3-km
radius of the main core of El Pilar.
Kum is a minor center, 3 km northwest of Plaza Copal, and 2.5 km from Pilar
Poniente. It was originally sketch mapped in 1998. This year we made some additions to
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El Pilar Report 2001

the map, clarifying features and modifying structures. There are several house mounds
to the west. We could not verify the ramp/causeway that is indicated on the earlier
map. We established one GPS reading from the site to fix it to the UTM grid.
Mapped residential units are presently scheduled to be analyzed and labor
investments determined for comparison with the greater BRASS surveys of the 1980s.
In addition, comparisons will be made with Tikal and the rural settlement between
Tikal and Yaxha to assess compositional similarities, wealth distribution, and patterns
of compounds. These wider comparative analyses will help to bring the urban qualities
of the Maya at El Pilar into the context of the Maya forest developments.
The density of the residential sites is high, from 200-300 structures per square
kilometer. This density is comparable to those of other major centers in the Maya
region. The settlement density varies across the landscape of El Pilar. The density
between the major architectural components of the east and west El Pilar is relatively
high. Density drops of markedly to the west of Pilar Poniente. A few large plazuela
groups dominate the area to the west, but most of the area has few remains.
We also had time to update the map of Pilar Poniente. We added several lower
structures near the monumental core area as well as a several chultuns, all within the
main plaza area. The looter's trench that penetrates the main eastern winged structure,
PP1, has been investigated, and the exposed building sequence identified.

Farapets and Water Management
Of critical importance in this tropical environment is the access to drinking water
during the dry season. Dispersed across the landscape surrounding El Pilar are water
impoundment devices called aguadas and storage areas know as chultuns. The aguadas
undoubtedly functioned as water reservoirs. They regularly occur in low areas where
drainage is directed and are often in clay-soil areas that retain surface water. The
function of the chultuns has been seen as problematic and has received much attention
in the literature over the past decades. Normally carved into the limestone, the chultuns
of El Pilar, similar to those of the greater Peten, are in areas near and between
settlements. They are not lined nor have evidence of plaster. Often there are capstones
nearby revealing that they were covered if not sealed. These have been assumed to be
for dry storage, as water would not be retained through the porous limestone.
In the course of the survey and associated with the topographic survey, we
located several dry channels around El Pilar. These channels clearly carry water and
lead us to question the nature of these features. Whether they are natural or
constructed ditches or channels for water cannot be determined at this moment. One of
these channels is particular deep, over three meters, and runs along the foot of a hill
that is west of Pilar Poniente. This channel is directly associated with a spring and has
been maltreated by repeated clearings that have subsequently dried up the surface
water. Some of the channels found in the survey lead to and through linear walls
features we have called parapets.

Page 17

El Pilar Report 2001

One channel is associated with Bryan & Murphy Causeway. There is a break in
the causeway wall at the point where the channel crosses the causeway. The breaks in
the parapets of the causeway allow for water flow across the causeway from the
southeast since the terrain is higher to the southeast slopes gradually down to the
northwest. Where the causeway reaches its lowest point, the channel exposes stone. The
creek bed disappears and we suspect that the water moves in a subterranean channel
from that point on towards Labouring Creek. To the west of this channel is the base of a
low and heavily quarried hill. The Bryan & Murphy Causeway parapets continue up
the slope. The southern parapet seems to end (or start, depending on your perspective)
in this quarried slope. The end of the northern parapet is more interesting. A few meters
west of this northern parapet is a large looted mound that is contiguous with the
parapet, apparently in line with the wall. Farther west of this looted structure is the
quarried hillside that abuts the south parapet of the causeway 30 meters away.
There had been indications of a second causeway offset and continuing west
from the Bryan & Murphy Causeway on the Chikin side of El Pilar. This linear feature
appears to have only one parapet and, while sufficiently wide to allow for a walkway,
and differs from the Bryan & Murphy promenade. The Chikin feature consists only of
one parapet of 125 m in length, with an extended platform on its eastern end that sits
south of the terminus of the Bryan & Murphy Causeway. This parapet also goes in an
east-west direction but is not as direct as the causeway from Nohol Pilar. The Poniente
Causeway has two breaks very close to each other. The westernmost of these breaks is
at the foot of a hill that supports a large cluster of structures in a plaza group. At the
parapet break, there is a creek bed running that may have directed water from the top
of the hill. Whether the parapet is just one narrow raised causeway or if it was a wall-
aligned causeway under construction requires more investigation to determine.
A third and fourth parapet identified in this year s survey differ from the others.
These parapets are relatively short, 35 and 50 m long, and they run in north-south
direction. Both of these features are on flat ground and are about 0.5 m high. These
straight alignments are similar to feature seen north of Transect N16W. These features
are curvilinear alignments of 20-30 m in length that could be walks, drainage directors,
or simply piles of rock from clearings of agricultural activities. Similar feature have
been noted elsewhere in the El Pilar surveys at Laton, 4.5 km south on the El Pilar
transect, and near Kum where a very low, 30 m long alignment was identified.
These causeways, parapets, and alignments are unusual features that are not
reported anywhere in the literature on ancient Maya settlement surveys, but are distinct
features of the El Pilar landscape. While the obvious causeway demonstrates interest in
linking the residential components to the civic and public architecture, the curvilinear
features are more obscure. These features are clearly related to the residential domain
and consequently of domestic importance. Since they do not seem to separate
households, divide terrain, or connect groups, their functions are not clear. As we
continue the surveys, launch the test excavations, and better understand the features of
the El Pilar landscape, the features will reveal their purpose.

Page 18

El Pilar Report 2001


Cultural heritage conservation combined with visitor access has been a dominant
theme of the work at the monumental core of El Pilar. Our work of the 2001 season
consisted of structure stabilization, access evaluation, trail management, and forest
garden development. The work was divided between various charges. All ancient
architectural resource exposure, conservation, and stabilization were under the explicit
direction of Rudy Larios. Trail management fell to Eduardo Gonzalez along with the
Amigos de El Pilar. The Forest Garden team was lead by Heriberto Cocom, president of
Amigos de El Pilar. This remarkable collaboration resulted in the completion of the
initial investigations of EP7 of Plaza Copal in the south, the continued development of
Plaza Jobo in the north, the creative presentation of the site at the Fiesta El Pilar 2001,
and the publication of the Tzunu'un Maya Forest Trail Guide.

Majestic XiLNa EL7 of Plaza Copal
Our objectives at EP7 were to reveal the winged temple facade and to identify
features that would typify the building for exposure in the future. This project involved
several facets:
1. Fabrication of a retention wall in the extreme west of the tunnel and below
the final stair of the Late Classic Period to give structural strength to the
consolidation and eliminate the entrance to the tunnel form the Plaza side.
2. Develop a stable fill in the 2 by 2 meter test pit in front of the stair that gave
access to the tunnel and to cover the entire refilled pit and stain with screened
earth to protect the architectural features for later development.
3. Prepare a plan and profile of the architectural features, along with the
projected costs of judicious exposures for view from the plaza area.

Plaza Copal as Seen Today and Imagining the Future

To begin the work at Plaza Copal, we initiated a transit survey of the excavation
and tied this into the existing control points on the Plaza. These set the stage for the
plan and profile preparation as well as the retaining wall construction that would
eliminate the west entrance into the excavation tunnel. Efforts were made to create a
solid wall for the tunnel while at the same time considering the issues of water
Page 19

El Pilar Report 2001

percolation and air circulation. We installed PVC tubes in the wall for air that can be
closed while unoccupied and opened for continued work within the tunnel. When the
conservation work was complete, the old thatched champa that had protected the open
stairs was removed and the area was left open to be enjoyed from the sheltering tree in
overhead. Our estimates to open and consolidate exposures under the canopy of the
trees are presented in Appendix II.

The Labyrinth at Plaza Jobo
The investigations of Plaza Jobo have presented great tests to our hypotheses of
the complex architecture of the H'Mena Acropolis of the northern portion of El Pilar. In
1996, our first tests into the area were intended to devise a protection for an exposed
corbel and to identify the stairway to the highest temple of El Pilar. This effort revealed
a beautiful room in structure 22 and several other rooms where we had thought a stair
would be. Stabilization of the architecture took several more years with a large lamina
roofed area and consolidated walls below. Our objective for 2001 was to open what we
hypothesized was the principal entrance into the patio area of Jobo so that visitors to
could gain an appreciation for the unique enclosure. These attempts were thwarted not
for our own efforts but for those of the Maya. Entrance into the Jobo Labyrinth was not
an easy matter as our excavations of the 2001 season reveal.

examiningg [_ntrances: Xxposing the Complexity of Jobo
Experience with Maya construction in general, and the nature of accesses
identified around El Pilar in specific, suggested that the main entrance into the Plaza
Jobo was through the northern area between two prominent buildings. We set up the
excavation grid based on the control points N14 and N7.

Control Points: N14= N.1909106.909 E. 271886.931, H. 234.772
N7= N1909123.447 E. 271679.148, H. 225.775

The procedures of the BRASS/El Pilar Program have been consistently
developed and standardized for comparability from year to year. All unit levels were
excavated following natural stratigraphic levels wherever possible using hand tools
(wrecking bar, shovel, pick, pick-a-hoe and trowel) and screened through a 1/2" wire-
mesh screen. All lithic and ceramic artifacts larger than a Belizean quarter were kept for
analysis. Any special artifacts, such as obsidian prismatic blades, bone, and shell pieces
were retained no matter what size when recovered. Charcoal samples were taken when
the quantities would be enough for accurate radiocarbon analysis. 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 inclusions (sizes
range from boulders, cobbles, gravel and pebbles; and type generally ranged from
limestone to chert).
Page 20

El Pilar Report 2001

Over the course of the work
at Plaza Jobo, we incorporated both
field crew of the BRASS program
and community participants from
Amigos de El Pilar. The
excavations proceeded as per our
established methodology and no
major problems were experience
during the fieldwork. Architectural
features of doors, walls, floors and
benches were encountered in their
logical situation. The surprise that
presented itself was that we were
unable to verify the entrance into
the patio area. We began with the
north and immediately noted that
the north wall precluded entrance

Ee60 V 1 o880 )-o o

-' A Exposure
1 o. 1

I ..o sure
I r 'T r ': i-c 2

-- ------" -= .---- "- --r--- -- ..
E Pilar '
Plan View -- r
June 2001 ,, ; .,,-- -."t,. ,',
.1 -I~~

from Manax. We then examined the potential of an entrance from Kibix with the same
results. Finally, a restricted test to the south was made with the discovery of a sealed
The exposure design for the fist excavation area included the layout of a 2 by 18
meter area that would be cleared of the collapse to identify the architectural features.
We hypothesized that the central building doorway went from the north through the
building into the plaza. We intended to remove the collapse between the new exposure
and the consolidated sections to insure the safety of the walls. In addition, since we had
recovered mosaics in the patio area, we anticipated that we would encounter more
mosaics as we cleared the interior area. The exposure layout was as follows:

Exposure N-S:

Initiated in the N:
Ended in the S:

E. 271876.00 and E. 271878.00

N. 190098.00
N. 190080.00

The work revealed a wall on the north impeding access from the north into the
Jobo area. The wall was in particularly bad shape and gave the appearance of having
been partially dismantled in the past. The rooms of this building presented themselves
in sequence with a back room and bench accessed from the patio through an anteroom.
At each room the level of the floor rose into benches each higher that the preceding one.
With the absence of a passageway from the north, we deliberated as to the next
steps given the nature of the enclosure of Jobo and the more natural ways one might
expect to enter. We set up a second examination on the East, outside the plaza to
investigate the evidence for a doorway and entrance into Jobo. The second layout was
situated as follows:

Page 21

El Pilar Report 2001

Exposure E-W: N. 1909084.00 and N. 1909086.00

Initiated: E. 271896.00
Ended: E 271879.00

The result of the eastern examination was the same: there was no door on the
east that would permit entrance from that direction. The wall was in bad conditions
and while the masonry was of good quality, only the last two moldings remained in
With still some hope of central access-ways into the Jobo area, we turned to the
south and began a tentative exposure in that direction. Here we hoped to encounter a
doorway that would have permitted the exit from the patio. Continuing on the axis of
the first exposure excavation, we did encounter a door that, for a moment provided a
clue to access. With careful examination, it became clear that the doorway was initially
narrowed and ultimately sealed completely with stone. This canceled any possibility to
enter or leave from this door, at least in its final stages.

Door Opening
Excavation Limit

So. Excavation Limit

El Pilar Deteriorated
Plaza Jobo wall
Profile South __--__- _
Sealed Door r- --
June 2001
Scale 1:20 '. s"-_.__=___-

After these simple examinations for the entrance to Plaza Jobo, we are still
without an answer. Yet, we do have more knowledge of the Plaza Jobo. First, no
entrance to Jobo was oriented in the centers of the patio enclosure. Second, privacy was
of prime importance for the area. Finally, gaining entrance to the area was restricted
and by no means an easy matter. Several potential avenues for investigation present
themselves. There is an unusual depression in the SE of the patio that could be an
access way from that angle. Another possibility is that of a secret entrance in the west
associated with interior rooms out to Plaza Manax. Finally, we might consider access to
the south in another area of the patio.

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El Pilar Report 2001

Locating the access to Jobo will require major excavation and consequently major
resources for the investigation and subsequent stabilization. The patio and its buildings
are well conserved and worth the effort for display. They will, however, need
substantial investments in consolidation based on the careful exposure and excavation
of the space.

Interpreting the Architecture
The exposures of Plaza Jobo have helped to illuminate new details of the
constructions of the patio area. As with all long-term construction projects, the
enclosure of Jobo was a process of remodeling and the work of this year has helped us
understand at least a part of that history. At this point in our work at this area, we have
exposed about 50% of Str 20 and 25% of Str 22. In addition, we have gained some
insights into the other buildings of the space.
As we were aware, Str 22 experienced many remodeling as reflected in its
masonry. In one part, the masonry is of well-shaped large and uniform blocks that are
only found in the rear and north wall. We now associate this bearing wall with the
central wall of the structure exposed in the current excavations. It seen is that the
original structure was constructed to divide plazas Manax and Jobo. This main
structure was remodeled with additions to the front and side, changing the original
facade of the early building to interior walls of later building. The result is a fully
integrated building that has as its central block a fine block building.
The later additions to the main building were accomplished in an distinct
masonry style using small stones and a somewhat casual construction. Since all this was
ultimately covered with stucco, the original masonry would not have been visually
Modifications of the interior spaces were also ongoing over the course of the use
of this area. The northern room is the oldest component of the exposure and has a
bench at the back. The form could be an L, such as the one inside on the west, a U, or
even occupy the entire rear of the room. Later, when the room to the south was
integrated into the structure, another lower bench was added, making the rise to the
rear bench by a small step. Later the lower bench was extended into the new room to
the south. The entire facade of the building has a basal molding for the foundation and
a wide terrace before the step into the patio.
The floor of the patio of Jobo is one that extends beneath the floors of the rooms
on the north. The same patio level is encountered on the floor in Plaza Manax. While
we cannot say with complete certainty it is one and the same, construction strategies of
the Maya would require the sealing of the main floor before the construction of the first
building. It was not possible to define the same aspect to the north, but it should be
encountered when more completely excavated.
Our investigation of Plaza Jobo is still incomplete and leaves much open to
question. Nevertheless, it is clear that the first structure was the northernmost building
Str 22. We suspect that Str 21 is contemporaneous based on the masonry. The next

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El Pilar Report 2001

S97.0 ,96.00 l95.00 .oo
S97. phase of constructions were the
E__l I- modification of Str 22 that integrated
El Pilar Str 20 at the extreme west. Finally, the
RearJobo /
Pneaa Manax Fl piers were added and the facade with
June 2001 -, :, oo^H.. c--, were
/ va. o the mosaics was established. The
.--' i outside and north wall of Str 22 is in an
Unusual state of damage. Only the
S-- ct' final rows of the facing stones are
./- ': visible. All the facade portions of the
-- "- wall appear to have been removed
before collapse. The full wall may have been standing as we encountered vault stones
in the collapse. It would appear that there was some recycling of materials before the
collapse. Given the state of this wall, consolidation would involve a significant
investment in complements to maintain the wall structure in stable condition.

The El Pilar Program evolved from an archaeological base examining ecological
relationships of the Maya forest. Today, the Program represents a team of local
community leaders, regional non-government organizations, national governments,
and academic researchers seeking new ways to build a conservation model. The focus
is at El Pilar, a newly declared contiguous park spanning the political divide of Belize-
Guatemala. As a protected area, El Pilar provides an educational laboratory with
potential to reach the immediate community, local students, regional visitors and
supporters, as well as international tourists and scholars. To this end, the 2001 field
season collaborated with Amigos de El Pilar, Help for Progress, Mesoamerican
Biological Corridors, and the Maya Forest Coalition to establish new ways of
supporting heritage conservation in the Maya forest.
Several significant management events were part of our work this year. First,
there was the presentation of the Strategic Plan for El Pilar. This presentation occurred
in March of 2001 in Cayo, Belize and involved the collaboration of Amigos de El Pilar
from Belize and Guatemala. The Strategic Plan for El Pilar underscores the objectives
and the activities for the partnership at El Pilar to work and delineates with a time line
for the expectations. Next, there was the Fiesta El Pilar that drew several thousand
visitors to El Pilar. Amigos de El Pilar and Help for Progress promoted the Fiesta with
support from BRASS/El Pilar. Preparation of the site and coordinating on-site security
were a major issues. Parking and vehicular traffic are a serious concern for the fauna of
the site. Different designs will need to be evaluated for subsequent fiestas. Finally, and
most importantly, the Consultative Council El Pilar CoCEP was formed as an advisory
board to the management process for El Pilar. The design of the CoCEP is to emphasize
regional tourism focused on adventures. There are representatives from the private
sector, NGO, government, community science and education on the board. While new,

Page 24

El Pilar Report 2001

the role of CoCEP can be important in the long-term development of El Pilar and the
promotion of the El Pilar Model for the future (Appendix III & IV).
Over the course of the field season, it is customary for the
program team to undertake several projects involving the
reserve infrastructure. This year several projects were
undertaken to improve the site. Main trailhead signs and
guideposts were painted for clear visibility. Trails were
improved over all, paths and stairs were replaced, and
champs repaired. The champa over the EP7 stairs was
Removed as it was in very bad condition and, with the
Consolidation of the excavation pit, we were able to
replace a protective mantle of earth over the plaster stairs
to eliminate erosion and damage. Protective roofs over
rest stops were replaced and rest stops enhanced for
visitor comfort. The Duende picnic area was cleaned and
the roof checked for leaks. Other areas of trails were
improved and maintained.

These are activities that may often go unnoticed,
but are part of a real interest and contribution of the El Pilar Program to the
management of the public visiting areas as well as support area of the caretakers. While
working with the El Pilar care taking staff, new issues are discussed and solutions
explored. Concerns voiced by Amigos de El Pilar and the caretakers are important
aspects of the community participation in the responsibilities and benefits of El Pilar.
In addition to the regular maintenance, we teamed up with the Department of
Archaeology and conducted a major clearing of the park perimeter eliminating the
brush, removing stumps, exposing the survey markers, and generally making the
boundaries visible for the local area land owners and visitors alike. In addition, the
southern boundary is now proposed as a fauna monitoring station.
Finally, two trail guides for El Pilar have been finalized for the Tzunu'un forest
garden and for all the trails of El Pilar. The written components of these two projects
have been complete for several years awaiting publication. In an innovative
collaboration with Help for Progress and with support from PACT, we have published
the Tzunu'un Maya Forest Garden Trail Guide and have the composition and layout for
the Trails of El Pilar: A Comprehensive Guide. These trail guides are prepared with the
visitor in mind and are designed to direct visitors to the unique qualities of El Pilar and
the Amigos de El Pilar.

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El Pilar Report 2001

Appendix 1

El Filar Control Points List


Wm. Clay Poe, Ph.D., RPA
Professor of Archaeology
Sonoma State University

Point Number Northing Easting Elevation Latitude Longitude
A2 1908717.574 271850.516 235.608 N 17015'07.75909" W 89008'45.11612"
A3 1908685.288 271864.896 240.206 N 17015'06.71437" W 89008'44.61733"
A5 1908665.352 271832.834 233.928 N 17015'06.05449" W 89008'45.69488"
A6 1908659.736 271908.430 240.172 N 17015'05.89918" W 89008'43.13440"
A9 1908648.885 271852.188 239.777 N 17015'05.52600" W 89008'45.03369"
Base 1998 1908281.154 272068.782 239.397 N 17014'53.64611" W 89008'37.56547"
BL BM 1908906.088 271946.256 230.412 N 17015'13.92390" W 89008'41.94689"
C1 1908861.362 271949.930 232.273 N 1715'12.47080" W 89008'41.80575"
C3 1908747.868 271958.411 229.292 N 17015'08.78317" W 89008'41.47604"
C5 1908733.328 271882.663 236.101 N 17015'08.28298" W 89008'44.03409"
C6 1908831.115 271888.265 236.100 N 17015'11.46491" W 89008'43.88129"
C7 1908904.444 271924.002 229.217 N 17015'13.86238" W 89008'42.69940"
C8 1908913.547 271921.917 230.073 N 17015'14.15767" W 89008'42.77340"
E10 1908535.366 272063.892 226.504 N 17015'01.91099" W 89008'37.82644"
E10 1908535.285 272063.793 230.583 N 17015'01.90831" W 89008'37.82977"
EPB1 1908278.684 272071.339 239.372 N 17014'53.56671" W 89008'37.47802"
F1 1908972.006 271899.210 221.422 N 17015'16.05045" W 89008'43.56387"
F2 1908979.523 271861.520 220.013 N 17015'16.28127" W 89008'44.84223"
GPS01T 1908500.247 272056.022 227.989 N 17015'00.76614" W 89008'38.07960"
13 1909066.551 271895.816 234.076 N 17015'19.12370" W 89008'43.71426"
L1 1909146.113 271843.269 221.638 N 17015'21.69196" W 89008'45.52255"
L2 1909139.570 271818.399 221.797 N 17015'21.47019" W 89008'46.36179"
MB 1908765.846 271906.837 236.456 N 17015'09.34916" W 89008'43.22823"
N01WCP2 1909259.611 271835.329 227.719 N 17015'25.37988" W 89008'45.83399"
N1 1908933.124 271887.843 223.882 N 17015'14.78194" W 89008'43.93393"
N10 1909001.001 271890.673 221.576 N 17015'16.99025" W 89008'43.86368"
N11 1909018.879 271887.479 225.329 N 17015'17.57045" W 89008'43.97849"
N14 1909106.808 271886.931 234.772 N 17015'20.42958" W 89008'44.03011"
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El Pilar Report 2001

N16WCP1 1909466.052 271697.595 203.917 N 17015'32.04325" W 89008'50.57310"
N16WCP2 1909468.404 271650.269 199.811 N 17015'32.10260" W 89008'52.17568"
N2 1908963.325 271936.381 222.408 N 17015'15.78160" W 89008'42.30261"
N21ECP1 1909567.729 271790.734 203.473 N 17015'35.38332" W 89008'47.45919"
N24ECP1 1909602.341 271819.640 204.196 N 17015'36.51930" W 89008'46.49392"
N29ECP1 1909684.880 271832.043 201.047 N 17015'39.20785" W 89008'46.10522"
N33WCP1 1909722.671 271804.426 196.957 N 17015'40.42678" W 89008'47.05410"
N39AWCP1 1909824.343 271983.282 175.798 N 17015'43.79767" W 89008'41.03911"
N39AWCP2 1909869.310 271961.683 175.036 N 17015'45.25211" W 89008'41.78701"
N39AWCP3 1909919.463 271951.218 172.696 N 17015'46.87922" W 89008'42.16006"
N4 1909056.568 271834.948 223.543 N 17015'18.77707" W 89008'45.77050"
N5 1909097.699 271824.189 224.356 N 17015'20.11069" W 89008'46.15007"
N7 1909123.447 271879.148 225.775 N 17015'20.96785" W 89008'44.29977"
N79WCP1 1910491.664 271955.591 158.059 N 17016'05.48798" W 89008'42.22737"
N83WCP1 1910547.746 271995.146 150.882 N 17016'07.32600" W 89008'40.90970"
NB 1908763.220 271862.426 236.380 N 17015'09.24772" W 89008'44.73022"
NW 1911267.472 268090.226 180.392 N 17016'29.30616" W 89010'53.34789"
POS1 1908507.356 272081.488 226.186 N 17015'01.00650" W 89008'37.22043"
POS2 1908515.820 272045.094 226.042 N 17015'01.26858" W 89008'38.45527"
POS3 1908424.545 272041.392 227.894 N 17014'58.29910" W 89008'38.54626"
POS4 1908294.579 272015.913 230.543 N 17014'54.06360" W 89008'39.35971"
POS5 1908292.262 272067.262 237.577 N 17014'54.00678" W 89008'37.62108"
RP01 1908762.474 271965.320 229.213 N 17015'09.26063" W 89008'41.24772"
SBM1 1907392.761 272010.406 261.007 N 17014'24.73569" W 89008'39.20733"
SW 1907433.106 268008.538 208.925 N 17014'24.59088" W 89010'54.64585"
T1 1909117.046 271818.151 224.999 N 17015'20.73766" W 89008'46.36172"
T10 1908574.166 272016.792 228.689 N 17015'03.15571" W 89008'39.43499"
Tl 1908623.598 271957.563 224.639 N 17015'04.74178" W 89008'41.45804"
T12 1908659.651 271943.204 229.345 N 17015'05.90899" W 89008'41.95752"
T13 1908694.288 271927.242 234.999 N 17015'07.02956" W 89008'42.51076"
T14 1908710.648 271907.140 237.243 N 17015'07.55433" W 89008'43.19721"
T15 1908696.785 271881.962 241.742 N 17015'07.09440" W 89008'44.04406"
T16 1908880.648 271914.428 230.490 N 17015'13.08511" W 89008'43.01449"
T17 1908924.770 271975.794 221.855 N 17015'14.54206" W 89008'40.95426"
T18 1908928.674 271913.330 225.853 N 17015'14.64645" W 89008'43.06971"
T19 1908842.398 271996.629 227.201 N 17015'11.87098" W 89008'40.21817"
T2 1909056.393 271829.708 223.337 N 17015'18.76947" W 89008'45.94774"
T20 1908777.306 272000.376 226.269 N 17015'09.75563" W 89008'40.06692"

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El Pilar Report 2001

T21 1908687.500 272044.520 225.868 N 17015'06.85120" W 89008'38.53922"
T22 1908576.780 272049.065 227.516 N 17015'03.25237" W 89008'38.34380"
T23 1908610.058 272085.447 227.253 N 17015'04. :4-,7" W 89008'37.12504"
T24 1908630.945 272088.789 231.527 N 17015'05.02808" W 89008'37.01977"
T25 1908663.706 271869.297 241.761 N 17015'06.01416" W 89008'44.46027"
T26 1908676.929 271920.092 240.101 N 17015'06.46250" W 89008'42.74621"
T3 1909041.321 271838.725 223.028 N 17015'18.28261" W 89008'45.63693"
T4 1909007.719 271843.854 219.644 N 17015'17.19178" W 89008'45.45070"
T5 1908971.056 271929.630 223.549 N 17015'16.03056" W 89008'42.53400"
T6 1909010.635 271886.403 225.338 N 17015'17.30199" W 89008'44.01181"
T7 1909039.082 271873.287 229.711 N 17015'18.22231" W 89008'44.46640"
TN10 1908668.908 272081.888 227.915 N 17015'06.26010" W 89008'37.26761"
TN5 1908668.587 272096.401 231.396 N 17015'06.25490" W 89008'36.77632"
TN8 1908658.716 272120.174 231.200 N 17015'05.94248" W 89008'35.96806"
VC1 1908335.694 271996.177 233.021 N 17014'55.39349" W 89008'40.04306"

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El Pilar Report 2001

Appendix II

Critical Conservation Areas5

Estimates are for the consolidation of exposures and do not include costs associated
with investigation or excavation of exposures. All estimates are in US Dollars.

El Pilar Restoration Proposals
Str. 25 No.
Masons 4
Laborers 8
Lime 180
Cement 39

Str. 53/22



Str. 19




Str. EP3









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El Pilar Report 2001

Str. EP7
Masons 8 120 $28,800.00
Laborers 16 120 $38,400.00
Lime 360 $2,520.00
Cement 77 $1,116.50
Total $70,836.50

Str. EP10
Masons 8 120 $28,800.00
Laborers 16 120 $38,400.00
Lime 360 $2,520.00
Cement 77 $1,116.50
Total $70,836.50


Masons $120,000.00
Laborers $160,000.00
Lime $8,505.00
Cement $3,944.00
Tools $9,410.00

TOTAL BZ$ $301,859.00 US$ $150,929.50

1. All salaries figured at an average of 20 working days per month
2. Abaniles (master masons) at BZ$30/day
3. Mason's assistants and general labor at BZ$20/day
4. Lime at BZ$7/bag
5. Cement (both portland and white) at BZ$14.5/bag
6. Wheelbarrows at BZ$140/ea
7. Mason's tools (made by AMS) and trowels at BZ$20/ea
8. 5 gal buckets at BZ$5/ea
9. Tambos (55 gal drum) at BZ$25/ea
10. Assumes sascab and filler stone brought in by the Ministry of Works at no cost

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El Pilar Report 2001

Appendix l11

Consultative Council EL filar

SLakin Chikin

One Initiative for El Pilar in the Maya forest

International Coordination -

Consultative Council E1l ilar

Establishment of the Consultative Council El Pilar
Objectives: To support appropriate mechanisms to coordinate and manage research, tourism, and other activities at
the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna between Belize and Guatemala via the
Consultative Council El Pilar (CoCEP)
El Pilar International Management Goals:
a) To establish the participation of the Consultation Council for El Pilar CoCEP
b) To promote joint cooperation in the strategic management of El Pilar via CoCEP
c) To activate CoCEP in annual meetings and periodic monitoring of joint efforts
d) To foster inter-agency management designs within and between countries of the Maya forest
e) To build a innovative financial basis base using local, regional, and international networks
Activities for CoCEP
a) Informal technical exchanges with CoCEP
b) Secure a Carta de Intenci6n for general cooperation between the relevant government agencies
c) Support paired connections: Department of Forestry CONAP, Department of Archaeology
IDAEH, Immigration and Customs
d) Promote cooperative CoCEP under the jurisdiction of each management entity
e) Develop and implement joint management strategy with CoCEP
f) Formal agreement for cultural exchange (UNESCO, Embassies)
g) Prepare appropriate delegation agreements and statutory instruments
International Relations
(a) The Government, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the only governmental entity that may
sign agreements at the national or political level.
(b) The Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism, through the Commissioner of Archaeology
is the entity that may sign agreements between institutions with regional or international
(c) Protected areas alone may sign letters of understanding with other
protected areas at the international level
Objectives: To develop a sustainable and manageable funding basis for the EPAR developing a network of local,
regional, and international donors from public and private sector to development and enhance a growing
EPAR trust fund)

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El Pilar Report 2001

Conflict Management and Enforcement
Objective: To be able to manage conflicts within the reserve administration between the reserve and the
communities and between the two nations
Activities to monitor
(a) Create a protocol for conflict resolution
(b) Promote CoCEP as a management oversight

Research and Monitoring Program for EPAR and the Maya forest
General Objectives: Research, Education, Conservation, Protection
(a) To focus on nexus of culture and nature
(b) To promote solicited and independent science projects that creatively consider culture and nature
Standardized data collection maintain highest standards by reviews within CoCEP
(a) To develop a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) for the EPAR jointly with the
Maya Forest Coalition that incorporates the scientific data collected at EPAR
(b) To maintain membership in Conservation and Environmental Data Systems (CEDS) for data
sharing, GIS archiving, and management modeling for cultural and natural resources
(d) To organize an El Pilar research committee made up of research scientists working in the area to
coordinate with CoCEP
I. Administration Formal/International Relations Locally, Regionally, Internationally
General Objectives
(a) To establish a strong administrative/management presence at the EPAR
(b) To support the creation of CoCEP for regional planning at EPAR
(c) To develop the co-management strategy from DoA to NGO/CBO (see section VIII)
Non-Delegable Authority in the hands of Government
(a) Enforcement
(b) Research Approvals
(c) Review and Application of Management Plan and Amendments
Consultative Council for El Pilar (CoCEP)
Description of CoCEP
Knowledge of the resources of the EPAR
Commitment to resource management and conservation
Liaison between management and community

Belize Guatemala
Village Council Municipality member
member AdEP member
AdEP member NGO member
NGO member IDAEH member
DOA member CONAP member
Forestry Member INGUAT Member
BTB/BTIA member University member
University member El Pilar Program
El Pilar Program Required CoCEP Meetings
Required CoCEP Meetings Ad hoc Informal Liaisons
Ad hoc Informal Liaisons

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El Pilar Report 2001

Responsibilities of Joint CoCEP
(a) Review Progress of the Management and Operating Plans
(b) Develop and implement common standards for management (e.g. research, administration,
tourism, community, etc.)
Issues of Concern
(a) Enforce Conservation and Protection of EPAR through AdEP and as a regional resource
(b) Develop education programs for Belize/Guatemala in management of resources
(c) Utilization as a contiguous park and biological corridor
(d) Identify funding sources and alternative combinations with a trust fund for EPAR


Amigos de El Pilar-Lakin
Community Based Organization

Help for Progress
Non Government Organization

Dept. of Archaeology
National Institute of Culture & History

Forestry Dept.

University of West Indies

Belize Tourism Industry Association
Non Government Organization

Belize Tourism Board

Amigos de El Pilar-Chikin
Community Based Organization

Canan Kaax
Non Government Organization

Institute de Antropologia e Historia IDAEH

Consejo National de Areas Protegidas
(CONAP) Government

Centro Universitaria del Pet6n

Non Government Organization

Institute Guatemalteco de Turismo
(INGUAT) Government

Mesoamerican Biological Corridors
Treaty Organization

Research Program: BRASS/El Pilar Program

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belize

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El Pilar Report 2001

Appendix IV

Cultural Resource Plans for EI Filar

EIxcerpted from the Management Plans endorsed by FATE-C-FIl 'ilar 1 99
Introduction El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya flora and fauna

Signatures Across the Landscape

The El Pilar has attracted an international,
multidisciplinary team evolving a unique plan. This plan
incorporates local community understanding,
government conservation and development agenda, and
international environmental concerns through an
integrated research program that informs a model
development plan centered on the history and prehistory
of El Pilar.

This management plan for El Pilar is the result of a long
process and involves the participation of many
individuals from the local community, the government
and private sectors, and the academy. The model springs
from the research of the BRASS/El Pilar Program, but
has been brought to fruition from participants the Mesa
Redonda (1997, 1998, 2000). These key events set the
stage for the creation of an innovative plan promoting a
model interdisciplinary research and community
development project that will serve as a model for
conservation across the Maya forest.

The Past Informs the Future

The core of the El Pilar vision comes from
archaeological research on the evolution 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 community patterns provide material evidence for
the evolution of sustainable economies in one of the
planet's last frontiers: the tropics.

The goals of the multidisciplinary research and
development program are to demonstrate the critical
relevance of basic research to promotion of conservation
and development around the world today. The revelation
of research results influence the application the reserve
management plan that builds on the conservation of
environmental diversity and preservation of the
irreplaceable cultural heritage of both the ancient and
contemporary populations in the region.

The Forest as a Garden

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 agricultural pioneers of the
Maya forest region, the ancestors of the ancient Maya
civilization and the heritage of contemporary farmers.
The large contiguous stands of forest are a testimony to
the efficacy of ancient Maya practices. While the Classic
Maya collapse affected the human populations, plants
and animals survived only to be threatened with
extinction today. Therein lies the ecological lesson that
must be perceived to build a sound basis for conservation
in the future.

Traditional agricultural systems in the tropics worldwide
are as complex as the environment within which they
developed. Mimicking the forest structure, a complex
poly-cultivation system evolved in tropical environments
to reduce instability, prevent degradation, and integrate
both intensive and extensive labor techniques that
increase production. Heterogeneous and biodiverse,
forest gardens constitute the strength of the Maya
community in the past, as they do today, by relying on
the traditional knowledge of local farming households.

Combining research designs of agronomists with those of
traditional farmers from the area, the forest garden can
form a model of ancient Maya land use to provide an
ongoing source of innovation for the community. Such a
design that uses ancient Maya settlement patterns and
native agricultural knowledge foster resource
conservation that aligns with, rather than opposes, the
natural regenerative processes of the tropical forest.

Community Links

To accomplish the goal of improving living standards
and self-sufficiency of the region's communities, the
immediate and short-term needs of families must be
incorporated into the long-term agenda of conservation.
No reserve exists within a vacuum and to thrive the local
population must assume an active role in the
conservation responsibilities as well as benefits. With
such community allies, the threats to the environment
can be reduced and livelihoods improved. The El Pilar
model provides and opportunity to demonstrate this.

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El Pilar Report 2001

A cooperative association has been established with
Amigos de El Pilar. Their goal is to develop community
enterprises in tourism and agriculture that increase civil
society's economic stake in the reserve. Through
education and participation, the links between the
community and the reserve strengthen local investments
in conservation and develop administrative
responsibility. The leadership role the community has
assumed and the self-determination they have gained in
the process is the foundation for the success of the El
Pilar model.

Discovering El Pilar

The stage has been set to develop an unique eco-
archaeological tourism where the visitor can explore and
discover the beautiful Maya architecture beneath the
luxuriant forest canopy of the Maya forest.
The management plan design promotes education and
training workshops, integration of lectures and tours, and
encouraged participation in the archaeological and
environmental research and the reserve. Further,
community events sponsored around the El Pilar themes
continue to elevate the visibility of El Pilar on the global
front, providing a springboard for tourism development.

Taking the Challenge

Park management is fundamental to the long-term
research and development envisioned in the El Pilar
Management Plan. Informed designs and periodic
reevaluation are based on cultural and ecological
research. Further, incorporation of public interests,

promotion of participation, articulation of the mission,
and a clear set of objectives for the sustainable
management of the reserve is essential. Finally, the
extent of conservation goals, issues of access and
education, and the long-term funding needs must be
developed. These are detailed in this plan.

The El Pilar Management Plan includes the concerns and
desires for both resource conservation and economic
development. Short-term strategies for community
involvement and long-term concerns for conservation of
the ancient architecture and the environment are essential
components. Educational and interpretive strategy for the
park and surrounding landscape are also important.
These facets are dependent upon the results of integrated,
collaborative, and interdisciplinary research and program
and are crucial to ongoing development of the El Pilar
Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna. The
reward will be a growing understanding of the ancient
and contemporary dimensions of the Maya forest.

The management plan also takes into account the
location of El Pilar between Cayo, Belize, and El Pet6n,
Guatemala. This unusual setting impacts every aspect of
research and development at El Pilar. The research
projects and resource management designs for El Pilar
must consider the contiguous sections of Belize and
Guatemala as a whole, as regional resources shared
between two countries. The natural environment,
cultural resources, adjacent contemporary peoples, and
access for tourism all figure prominently in the strategic
research and development plan as well the ultimate
product: The El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya
Flora and Fauna.

Research and Monitoring Program for EPAR and the Maya forest

1. General Objectives: Research, Education, Conservation, Protection
(a) To focus on nexus of culture and nature
(i) Promote managed extraction strategies informed by science research for plants/animals
(e.g. Corozo)
(ii) Education of community to participation in long term management of El Pilar
(iii) Encourage dissemination and publication of preliminary and final results
(b) To promote solicited and independent science projects that creatively consider culture and nature
(i) Standardized data collection methods to facilitate comparisons fixed to UTM grid
location with comparable recording techniques
(ii) Maintain highest standards of scientific research by reviews within CoCEP
(c) To develop a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) for the EPAR jointly with the
Maya Forest Coalition that incorporates the scientific data collected at EPAR
(d) To maintain membership in Conservation and Environmental Data Systems (CEDS) for data
sharing, GIS archiving, and management modeling for cultural and natural resources
(e) To organize an El Pilar research committee made up of research scientists working in the area
(i) To establish peer review process to evaluate research
(ii) To develop "handbook" for systematic and vicarious information gathered within the
reserve and to encourage dissemination to the community

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El Pilar Report 2001

(iii) To promote centralized database of information (all information available, preliminary
field reports of research/observations)
(iv) To track and coordinate access to preliminary reports and other grey literature
(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
(vii) To promote periodic scientific roundtables
(viii) To attract more research projects
2. General Activities:
(a) Short Term
(i) Develop portable teachers packages (audio/visual kits) for schools
(ii) Contribute illustrative information to the Be Pukte and other community repositories
(iii) Incorporate new data into the trail guide for the EPAR reserve
(iv) Document the EPAR reserve research and development process
(v) Issues to address
Areas of investigation
SResearch advisory committee membership
(b) Medium /Long Term
(i) Visitor Center and associated educational presentations on research programs
(ii) Promotion of the forest-as-a-Garden model for El Pilar
(iii) Promote model for interdisciplinary research
(iv) Realize the conceptual integration of culture and nature
3. Cultural Resources Objectives for EPAR and the Maya forest
(a) To adhere to the conservation principles: the Athens Charter 1931, the Venice Charter 1964, and
the Burra Charter 1966 (see International Council on Monuments and Sites ICOMOS Web site:
(b) To understand the prehistory, history, and contemporary development of El Pilar (archaeological,
survey, excavation, archives, library)
(c) To promote a coherent cultural resource conservation program in the context of the Maya forest
for one El Pilar
(d) To develop a conservation monitoring program to maintain El Pilar
(e) To adopt the theme of Travel Through Time and View Everyday Life -past, present, future
4. Cultural Resources Activities
(a) Short Term
(i) Inventory of cultural remains to establish a research and monitoring baseline
(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 life
(iv) Complete the excavation, exposition, and consolidation at 1) Tzunu'un, 2) EP7 stairs of
Copal, 3) Jobo
(v) Initiate monitoring system for consolidation program and institute improvements
(vi) Develop cultural conservation program
(b) Medium/Long Term
(i) Include Pilar Poniente, Kum, and other monuments of Chikin area in trail system
(ii) Complete the excavation, exposition, and consolidation at key locations of
1) Copal, 2) Gumbolimbo, 3) Ixim, 4) Axcanan
(iii) Expand the forest garden developments in the mosaic of land use areas in one EPAR
(iv) Continue to monitor conservation strategies for revisions and improvements
(v) Analyze and publish results of research and conservation programs in academic and
popular sources
(vi) Promote innovative conservation programs at EPAR for the Maya forest
(vii) Establish the varied aspects of the model mosaic of ancient Maya life ways in the
different identified natural life zone systems within the reserve

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El Pilar Report 2001

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 environment 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 based on the WCS protocols
(e) To demonstrate the necessity of wildlife corridors and viability of small reserves like EPAR
(f) To document the contribution of EPAR to the maintenance of biodiversity and refuges for life
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, and succession stages of forest within EPAR
(iv) Implement protocol for monitoring at EPAR based on WCS inputs and standards
(v) Establish air photography base and ground proofing
(b) Medium /Long Term
(i) Periodic monitoring of permanent plots and transects (as needed, at least every 5 yrs)
(ii) Measure dynamics of forest through research programs
(iii) Analyze and publish results of research and conservation programs in academic and
popular literature
(iv) Promote conservation program models at EPAR for the Maya forest
7. Meet Integrated monitoring and management concerns
(i) Maintain natural environment in public areas respecting the irreplaceable cultural
(ii) Manage natural environment on monuments with landscaping and planting
(iii) Determine impact standards on natural and cultural resources in public areas
(iv) Incorporate community monitors to increase local investment
(v) Design tourism trails to enhance resource monitoring agenda
(vi) Promote an integrated management strategy among related agencies (Archaeology,
Forestry, Lands etc.)
(vii) Propagate model for the regional conservation of cultural and natural resources

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Rudy Larios Monuments (Guatemala)
Johan Normark (Sweden)
Paulino Morales (Guatemala)
Carmen Ramos (Guatemala)
Clark Wernecke Architecture (UT)

Interdisciplinary Collaborations:
Geography: Keith Clarke (UCSB)
Ecologist: David Campbell, (Grinell College)
Law: Thomas Ankersen (U Florida)
Architect: Paul Bailly (AIA, Los Angeles)
Photographer: Clarissa Guggenheim (BRASS)
Base Management: Eduardo Gonzalez (Guatemala)
Wildlife Conservation: Roan McNabb (Florida)
Community Studies: Help for Progress (Belize)
Community Participation: Amigos de El Pilar
Student Participation: Sacred Heart Junior College

H'mena View El Pilar

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