El Pilar Today
El Pilar is a certified Cultural Monument in both Belize and Guatemala. Official boundaries have been established for the 5,000-acre Archeological Reserve. Research considers the city monuments and surrounding house sites.
Excavation continues with survey work on both sides of the border focused on the three main sectors of El Pilar:
An ancient Maya house site, Tzunu’un, uncovered in 1996, provides a window into domestic Maya life. An example forest garden surrounds the house plaza to create a living environment.
Outreach education [pdf of Belize Today article] is integrated into the project. Forest garden technical trainings and workshops have created an atmosphere of collaboration. Onsite training for tour guides has increased local appreciation for Archaeology Under the Canopy.
And, perhaps most importantly, El Pilar today is a symbol of collaboration across political, economic, and cultural boundaries. Fostering confidence and building common ground, the Mesa Redonda El Pilar process, initiated in 1996 has paved the way for support one resource in two countries. This is the El Pilar Peace Park Initiative.
Seven culture and nature trails wind through the ancient monuments of El Pilar. Infrastructure provides researchers and visitors to the site with
- a ranger’s house
- eight comfort stations
- a large picnic area
- many thatched overlooks