On Tuesday, April 7, the official launch of the Marco Gonzalez Mayan Site Project was held at the Sunbreeze Conference room which was hosted by Ms. Jan Brown. During Mrs. Brown’s presentation she mentioned how one of her longed passions is slowly coming to reality.
“In September 2007 I was lamenting to Frank Panton about how sad I was that no Maya site or history had been saved on the island for our children to learn about or guests to visit,” commented Jan Brown. “I was told to speak to our Area Rep and I later went to Belmopan to speak with Minister of Natural Resources, Minster Vega in March 2008. In January 2009 Minister Heredia told me to start a core group and to move from there. On Monday, March 30, I got the good news from Dr. Jaime Awe of the Archeology Department that six acres had been approved by cabinet for the Marco Gonzalez Site to be designated a National Reserve. An additional eight acres were to be donated by South Beach for a buffering zone a total of 14 acres.”
Plans for the preservations and development of the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site includes a visitation and destination for both education and tourism, archeological tours, eco-tours and educational tours for our children; a museum and educational center, board walk pier systems to have access to the archeological site from land and sea, have a tour guide training program and much more.
Jan’s vision is to have the Marco Gonzalez as the forefront of Maya education on the island for children to have a local site to visit and learn. Many are not privileged to visit the mainland for field trips at Maya sites to learn, see and feel history first hand.
“I see this project as a win-win situation for the tour guides who can incorporate a stop at Marco Gonzalez with a fishing trip, day sail and single destination. It will create more revenue for the local tour businesses,” commented Jan.
Jan ended her presentation by saying that the most important thing that is being gained by having the Marco Gonzalez Site become a National Reserve is the preservation of history as too much is being ignored and destroyed.
The Marco Gonzalez Maya Site is located near the southern tip of Ambergris Caye. It was first recorded archeologically in 1984 by Dr. Elizabeth Grahan and Dr. David M. Pendergast, and was named by them after their local guide. However, the existence of the site had been known to San Pedranos for many years before that, as had most of the many other sites that are present on the caye. The site is approximately 8 km south of San Pedro Town and is surrounded by dense jungle. Access to the site from the windward beach side was relatively easy, along cut trails, while the site was being excavated by Drs. Graham and Pendergast form 1984 to about 1994. Now, however, the trails are overgrown and visits to the site are difficult, especially during and immediately after the rainy seasons.