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#332171 - 04/08/09 11:41 PM Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,984
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
An aerial view of the Marco Gonzalez site.

Dianne Haylock, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., Jan Brown and Mayor Elsa Paz.

Artifacts found within the Marco Gonzalez site.

The existence of the Marco Gonzales Archeological Site has been known to San Pedranos for decades. The site which is situated to the extreme south of the island 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 archeologists between 1984 and 1994. Now, however, the trails are overgrown and visits to the site are difficult. In fact until recently, there have been little or no steps to make the site officially into an archeological park.

    Jan Brown, US National who has been living in San Pedro for years, is spearheading a huge project that seeks to preserve, develop and promote the Marco Gonzales archeological site. During the launching of her new concept at the Sun Breeze Conference Room on Tuesday night, Brown explained that by developing the site, it would result in a visitation destination for both Education and Tourism.

    “Archaeological tours, eco tours and educational tours for our children will benefit all,” stated Brown.

    What is the direction of the development proposed by Brown?

  • Marco Gonzalez is only one of 13 recognized sites on Ambergris Caye and nearby Blackadore Caye. It is the largest and most recognizable. It was proposed to work with the proper Ministries of Belize to achieve recognition of this Maya site. That proposal has been accomplished.
  • To petition for the Marco Gonzalez site to be put into the status of a National Park, thus preserving it for future education of Maya history in Belize. That proposal has been done.
  • Look for Grant Monies from foundations funding exploration and restoration of historical sites.
  • Investigate colleges willing to assist in the development of this site in order to recover and record Maya history.
  • Develop the site to be accessible for educational and tourism reasons. The development of the tourism aspect will allow a “park fee” to be charged for entry, thus assisting with the income needed for upkeep as well as necessary employees on duty. The site, being located where it is, would be accessible by both water and road.
  • Coordinate with necessary Belizean agencies (i.e.: San Pedro Town Council, Belize Tourist Board, the Tour Guide Association, and Ministries) to create the rules and regulations for charging to visit, hours of operation and general control of the site.
If all works out as proposed, Marco Gonzales Site can be open for the public in a time span of approximately two or three years. Present at the meeting was the President of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) Dianne Haylock who stated that, “we are happy that community groups want to work in developing Marco Gonzales Archeological Site. I think it’s a fantastic idea and NICH as well as the Department of Archeology is giving approval for such idea.”

    Those working in making Marco Gonzales open will be working very closely with the technical experts at the Department of Archeology to ensure that the history of the site is preserved. The plan includes the construction of a Visitor’s Center and a nature walk with mostly mangrove and forest wetlands. Once through the Visitor Center entry building, the visitor will have the opportunity to experience nature by walking down a raised pier boardwalk which meanders through the surrounding habitats. Along the way, there is a plan to install benches and display signage that explains the flora and fauna one might encounter in the area. The building will include an educational center and conference room which will house educational displays about the wetlands and seagrasses, live snake and fish aquariums indigenous to the park as well as a mini auditorium for seminars and training sessions.

    The Marco Gonzalez Maya Site, located near the southern tip of Ambergris Caye was first recorded archaeologically in 1984 by Dr. Elizabeth Graham and Dr. David M. Pendergast, and was named by them after their local guide. In 1987 & 1989, Graham and Pendergast found continuous occupation at Marco Gonzalez from the Late Classic into the Postclassic.

    For more information about the project please contact Jan Brown at

San Pedro Sun

#332210 - 04/09/09 08:16 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,204
collyk Offline
collyk  Offline
Fantastic news.
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#332216 - 04/09/09 08:31 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: collyk]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,133
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
It is good news , I heard that it was once an island unto itsself.

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#332250 - 04/09/09 10:15 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,459
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
Jan Brown does incredible stuff - all for free! What a human dynamo. You set a great example lady.

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#332438 - 04/10/09 09:19 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: ScubaLdy]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 280
cakelee Offline
cakelee  Offline
Great news! I have always wondered about that site.

#333110 - 04/15/09 09:03 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: cakelee]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,984
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
[Linked Image]

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.

[Linked Image]

“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.

[Linked Image]

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.

Ambergris Today

#336442 - 05/08/09 11:23 AM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,984
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
from the Chamber of Commerce....

Jan Brown reported that she has taken possession of a collection of artifacts donated by Jim Desmereau for the Marcos Gonzalez Museum and others have promised more.

#339037 - 05/26/09 04:11 PM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,984
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
from the Chamber of Commerce....

Jan Brown representing the Marcos Gonzales Project is seeking donations. The project has drawn support from the University of Texas who did the original dig on the site in the 1980’s. The project will cost $2 million BZ ($1 Million US) and all donations are welcome and needed.

#340370 - 06/05/09 06:38 PM Re: Marco Gonzalez - Belize’s newest reserve [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,984
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
from the Chamber of Commerce....

Jan Brown informed the Chamber that the Marcos Gonzales Project has received its incorporation documents. She also traveled to Blue
Creek where the Maya Research Program, , is actively digging. The program purpose: "The Maya Research
Program is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Central and South America. Each
summer since 1992, we have sponsored archaeological fieldwork at the ancient Maya site of Blue Creek in northwestern Belize. In the past
several years we have added important new programs in Mexico and Peru."

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