El Pilar Investigations from 1993 on …

Initiating excavations at Plaza Jobo

There is no such thing as a patriotic art or a patriotic science.  Both art and science belong, like every higher good, to all the world and can be fostered only by the free flow of mutual influence among all contemporaries, with constant regard for all we have and know of the past.          

-Goethe, 1749-1832

From 1984 to 1993, the focus of the BRASS project was on the residential settlement patterns and midden testing.  Studies in the 1980s focused on conducting surveys and comparing our model of settlement preferences against the expanded surveys within the great El Pilar area. From 1990 - 1992, we focused on the nature of Maya residential units with expanded full scale excavations based on the survey testing phase. 

Having achieved a general sense of the settlement patterns and the complexity of residential activities, we then turned to the major center of the area, ElPilar. Our research focused on the development of complexity and the relationship of the major center of El Pilar to its landscape. In other words, how El Pilar integrated the populace of the area.  We began by examining the map of the site, access ways, and planning components. We then concentrated on the chronology of monumental construction and its comparison to the residential element. Next, we focused on the nature of construction and on areas that would be suitable for exposure: stairs, corners, walls, doorways. These were identified and inventoried. The extensive research and examination of these housing sites provided us with glimpses into the ancient Maya households and way of life.

The long-term study of El Pilar concentrates on the following goals:

1. Developing a detailed map of the site and its surroundings

2. Excavating the sites to study construction sequences and form

3. Building consolidation and repair of looter damage

4. Selecting consolidations with a view towards development of Archaeology Under the Canopy

5. Promoting the master management plan of one resource in two countries

6. Development of interpretive and educational programs presenting the results of the research.