Thursday May 26 06:30 pm, at the The George Price Centre, Belmopan
Anabel Ford has distinguished herself as a Mesoamerican archaeologist in the field of settlement and environmental studies of the lowland Maya of Guatemala and Belize. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology for her work in archeology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she continues as a research archeologist.
Her 1978 landmark investigation of the settlement patterns between Tikal and Yaxhá, Guatemala, challenge the perceptions of rural and urban divides, demonstrating that preferred locations for ancient Maya settlements are
equally occupied where near or far from centers. Living in the Maya forest for nine months and relying on the resources that were native to that place, she began to gain an appreciation for the local knowledge of and economic value inherent in what first looked like a jungle but really was a garden.
Anabel Ford working at El Pilar in the 1980s
Discovering the major city of El Pilar in 1983 changed her strictly academic course of study. Committed to understanding the ancient Maya landscape, Anabel surveyed from the Belize River valley to the El Pilar ridges to understand
- where the Maya lived,
- when they were living there, and
- what they left at their settlements.
In this context she turned her focus to El Pilar, launching a new tour destination in the Maya world. There she integrates her growing academic knowledge of ancient occupations and her investment in the people living in the region today.
Since 1994, Anabel has spearheaded a unique development that focuses on the cultural and natural resource that links Belize and Guatemala. El Pilar management design is an inclusive model with
- government protection,
- local leadership and
- community participation,
- along with academic research input.
This has led to the promotion of the El Pilar Peace Park Initiative. Anabel brings her extensive field experience and broadly inquisitive mind to address what has popularly been know as the mysterious Maya.