The Institute of Archaeology has issued a stop order on any clearing, construction or development on a parcel of land in the San Pablo Area of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize after property owners decided to level a large section of a Maya mound located on site.
After being made aware of the situation, Associate Directors at the Institute of Archaeology (IA) Dr. Allan Moore and Brian Woodye arrived on Ambergris Caye to conduct preliminary inspection of the site. Their initial actions will be to obtain information from the San Pedro Town Council, contact the property owners and stop any further actions on the property until further studies can me made on the archaeological significance of the Maya mound.
“There is clearly a huge Maya presence in the property,” stated Brian Woodye of IA. “You cannot ignore the fact that there are hundreds of Maya potter shards spread across the property. A lot has been damaged when a large section of the mound was leveled.”
Woodye explained that the IA has the authority to stop any development on a property where significant Maya artifacts are found in order to preserve its historical importance. The action can be the isolating and restriction of development on a section of a property and even on the entire lot.
“When there are discoveries such as these, part of the environmental process is that of NICH/IA conducting surveys and demarcating areas of interest and asking the local authorities to enforce the stop order,” continued Woodye.
Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director, Institute of Archaeology, visits Maya mound site in San Pedro; inspects pottery shards
Proper test pits will be dug on the San Pablo site in order to isolate Maya artifacts, record the significance of the side, preserving finds and the mound itself. According to Dr. Allan Moore there have been a number of stop orders placed on development attempts on this particular property as it seems that it has been sold a few times. Upon realizing that the property contains a Maya mound and that they cannot develop on the land, the owners have resorted into reselling the property.
“The land owners might not be able to touch this property for a long while,” stated Dr. Moore. “It all depends on what we find on our survey of the land. The owner should have waited before he took action on the property. It’s sad to see how this Maya mound was destroyed.”
The story behind the property is that it should have never been sold by Government in the first place. When the area was being developed into residential lots, the Maya mound was discovered and it was set to be preserved and kept untouched for its historical significance. Park facilities were erected on site at one point and even a Maya stella replica was placed at one corner of the property to mark its importance.
Unfortunately overgrown bush was left to cover the lot after it was sold several times, with owners wanting to rid themselves of land that could not be developed. Fortunately, the Institute of Archaeology has shown interest in preserving and find out more about the importance and significance of the Maya Mound. We hope to see the remaining mound salvaged, protected and the land cleared and made into a beautiful park for the surrounding neighborhood.