Belize's Spanish and British colonial heritage as seen through Tipu and Lamanai

Synopsis: I will be drawing from my archaeological investigations at Tipu and Lamanai, and additionally from my husband David Pendergast's excavations at Lamanai, to connect both the Maya and colonial pasts to Belize's present. Tipu lies on the Macal River, in the Cayo District, and Lamanai at the headwaters of the New River, on the New River Lagoon. Both were centuries-old Maya communities, and both were sites of early Christian or "primitive" churches founded by the Franciscans in the early 16th century. The two communities fared differently, and only Lamanai--known originally as Indian Church--retained integrity until the 20th century, when inhabitants were forcibly moved by the British Estate and Produce Company to make way for logging.

About the Presenter Amanda (Clark) Pendergast: I am an archaeologist, and my work has focused on Maya archaeology in Belize. I received my Ph.D. in Archaeology from Cambridge University. My first fieldwork was with Norman Hammond at Nohmul in 1973. I went on to survey archaeological sites in the Stann Creek District for my Ph.D. research, and then served as Belize's Archaeological Commissioner from 1977 to 1979, during which time we began reconstruction and consolidation work at Xunantunich and Altun Ha. Since then I have carried out investigations at Tipu, Lamanai, and most recently on Ambergris Caye, where we are focusing on human impact on soils.

Part of the Belize KULCHA Symposium


Hector Silva:

IN THIS REPORT a lot of information is given on a PERIOD when in my opinion the GENESIS of Belize was being FRAMED. - Let us imagine, if the Spaniards had conquered or ran over these combined MAYA forces, Belize would have been a part of LA GRAN ESPANIA.

TIPUANS (Mopan Mayas) along with YUCATEC Mayas and ITZA Mayas waged a war of Liberation from Tipu in 1638 to 1642, against the Spanish invaders and CHASE THEM AWAY !

WHAT IS BEYOND ME IS, that this War of Liberation has never been given the importance it merits, because it would have diminished British Propaganda about a DEFEAT of THE SPANIARDS at St George's Caye.

IN FACT AT THIS VERY MOMENT, it strikes me to call on all concerned Belizeans to begin an AWAKENING ON THE importance of reviving this part of our STORY, and declaring TIPU, a HERITAGE SITE. ( If I had my Physical strength of old I would lead thus CHARGE, ( I think that my good and able friend Giovanni Pinelo, having been at NICH once is the person to ANSWER THIS CALL. ( I would be behind the scene. ) Dr, Jaime Awe I am sure would be our Guide.

LET US KEEP OUR STORY ALIVE. ( We made a small pilgrimage there a few years ago under the guidance of Mrs Lupita Montero Ferguson. Mr Magania a Maya Priest led the beautiful Sacred Maya Ceremony.