U.S. Embassy Donates to Preservation of Xunantunich…
The Benque Archaeological Site, an area surrounding Xunantunich, is an archaeological reserve that faces a number of issues pertaining to its preservation. Not only is the Maya monument in danger of collapse, but it is also constantly vandalized by looters. Regrettably, there is also the problem of the illegal dumping of trash in the park. So, the Institute of Archaeology, now headed by Doctor John Morris, decided to present a detailed proposal to U.S. Ambassador Carlos Moreno. That outline to conserve what’s left of the site has been given the green light and grant funding for the project will be provided through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. This afternoon, a brief ceremony for the handing over of fifty-five thousand U.S. dollars was held at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan where Ambassador Moreno and Doctor Morris were on hand to discuss the initiative.
Dr. John Morris, Director, Institute of Archaeology
“The Benque Archaeological Site is a small to medium center that is located within the confines of the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen but it is actually a suburb of the, if we can use that term, a suburb of the main site of Xunantunich. It was discovered back in the 1930s and since then the town has grown and has encroached upon the lands that are part of the archaeological site, in fact, what remains today are about a dozen mounds and we are trying to excavate and expose them. They still have a shrine there and a major or medium-sized temple. The site dates to, at the height of its occupation, probably around six hundred to eight hundred A.D. and mostly occupied by an elite household. In this case we are simply exposing the architecture of the buildings that were once there. We will expose several of the structures in order to show the general public what was there once. We are planning to build a fence around the site, also to put in signage so that people can understand what was there in antiquity.”