As Archaeological Students Conduct Digs

Did you know that there are nine registered Maya sites on Ambergris Caye? Most of them lie in the heart of San Pedro Town where development has hidden the past from plain sight. One of the largest registered sites is in the heart of downtown San Pedro which encompasses all of Central Park and three blocks back to the lagoon side. Since May 25, 2017, archeology students from North Carolina Universities have been on Ambergris Caye conducting research on the Post Classic Period Settlement of the Mayas, which is from about 1000AD to when the Spanish made contact with Belizean land.

The students find themselves working on the property of Hostel La Vista (previously Sands Hotel of the late Mr. George Parham) which is located across from Central Park. Over the past weeks they have found bottles that were probably used to hold medications, pots for cooking, animal bones and teeth, glass that was used as a knife for cutting, material that was used for building their temples, especially their flooring and much more. All these findings will be put together, analyzed and a special presentation will be conducted on June 30, 2017, at the Belize Institute of Archeology. All information and finding will be passed on to the BIA to make research available to all Belizean's.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Ambergris Today



Archaeology students conduct four-week excavation on San Pedro Maya site

As part of a four-week archaeological field study, a total of 14 students majoring in anthropology have been excavating the “San Pedro Maya” site, located at Hostel La Vista on Barrier Reef Drive. Under the supervision of Dr. Scott Simmons, Professor of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) USA, and Dr. Tracie Mayfield, University of Arizona Anthropology Instructor, the students began their mission on May 25th, hoping to unveil clues to the ancient Maya cultural systems, trade, and their interactions among other regions.

The “San Pedro Maya” site is known as one of the largest registered archaeology sites on Ambergris Caye, and Dr. Simmons explained what led his interest to preserve the site. “I came to San Pedro in 2016, and saw that construction was happening at the old Sands Hotel, which is now Hostel La Vista. At the time, I talked to the owner George Parham, and informed him of the significance of this Maya site. I had done some limited archaeology work here in 1993, and was able to find burials, conch shells, fire pots, and human remains. To my knowledge, this is the only contact period site [on the island], and I wanted to preserve its history,” said Simmons. After being granted permission from the Parhams, areas surrounding the Hostel have been closed off from public access.

The primary purpose of the field study is to give students hands-on experience, train them on academic and professional archaeological methods, and teach them all the basic techniques of archaeology. “During this field study, we will be able to get more evidence of what life was like in San Pedro, while getting more evidence of occupation. We will be able to answer key questions such as: When did the first people get here? Was it during the Classic Period, or was it before or after that? How big were the settlements? What kind of materials did they have access to?” said Simmons.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun