On Friday, we brought you an interview with archaeologist Laura Kosakowsky, who told us how archaeologists use ceramics to date Ancient sites.

Tonight we bring you another sit down with an archaeologist, this time a young Belizean, Sylvia Batty.

Batty is the collection's manager at NICH. She told us how ancient monuments and artefacts came to be protected in Belize and shared a bit of what's contained within Belize's national collection.

Cherisse Halsall reporting
Any kid watching Indiana Jones dodge the massive stone in the Temple of Doom might have wanted to be an archaeologist, but if you ever really thought about digging for the remains of ancient civilizations, you'd have to first consider the reality of the archaeological profession in Belize.

And in the second part of this archaeology series, I spoke to Sylvia Batty a young Belizean archaeologist who started out volunteering for fieldwork when she was just 11:

Sylvia Batty, Archaeologist
"What I do at the Institute of archaeology is I help shape and form the national identity."

"The national identity of our country is formulated through our understanding of the ancient Maya of the way that they lived, the structures, and also through the protection and management of that for future generations and that has been, it is, I am eternally grateful for that opportunity and that started with an interest in archaeology and with a question: Can I volunteer?"

And the days of rogue archaeologists raiding Ancient Maya monuments for foreign museum's and black-market collectors are long gone. Sylvia gave us some background on the ways in which we were uniquely prepared to protect our natural patrimony.

Sylvia Batty, Archaeologist
"Belize is very unique in that we had legislation protecting archaeological sites and objects that come out of those archaeological sites from about the early 1800s at that time we were, of course, a British colony, therefore, whatever was found in Belize was the property of the British Government, the British Government, not Belize or British Honduras as a result of that there are collections of objects that have been found in Belize abroad."

"The changes to our legislation started about the early 1900s where first we protected all objects or all archaeological sites on crown land. There are various iterations of that legislation but if you look globally at legislations surrounding archaeological heritage that was very early, the early 1900's like 1906 10 1918 that was very early to see archaeological legislation."

The Institute of Archaeology is in charge of a vault of archaeological treasures popularly known as "the dungeon".

We've done dozens of stories on archaeology,

But have only managed ot get our hands on this single picture of the dungeon. Batty told us what's in the vault:

Sylvia Batty, Archaeologist
"There are a variety of materials that are collected within a museum system but specifically here at the Institute of archaeology we deal with archaeological materials only, a vast majority of that is ceramics however we deal with just about anything that has been made or modified by man that's over a hundred years old as per the NICH act so that covers very large structures built archaeological sites, the large ones that we know of like Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech, and Altun Ha but also the smaller structures may be where the common man or person would have lived in such as sites, smaller sites that you know are not open for tourism. The Benque in Benque Viejo town is a very good example of a smaller site. We also deal with, here at the Institute of archaeology and through collections, ancient Maya ceramics we also do a lot of stone tools because the Maya were a stone-age people. So we have chert stone tools, obsidian the beautiful green jade that a lot of people are fascinated with, so our collections are very varied here."

But what's the future of archaeology in the country? And who is coming from behind to stand beside Jaime Awe atop Mayan temple of the Belizean Imagination?

Cherisse Halsall:
"How many young Belizean archaeologists would you say are working in the field today?"

Sylvia Batty, Archaeologist
"In my department we have four staff members under the age of 30 who are working toward further degrees in archaeology I think the furthest you can reach is a bachelor that is offered by Galen University. We have been supporting the University of Belize with their attempts at formulating an archaeology degree and we hope that they will soon be offering within the next year a bachelor's in Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Belize so we're hoping to hear about that. So we have four young Belizeans in our department and here are other Belizeans who have degrees in archaeology who are also contributing."

Students and others interested in volunteering with NICH can contact the NICH Offices in Belmopan.

Channel 7