Painting by H. Tom Hall/National Geographic. (Extreme zoom)

October 10, 2004

Mirador Basin Water Resources

Due to lack of rainfall in the Peten during the rainy season for the last three years, development of reliable water resources was a major focus of the Mirador Basin Project during the 2004 field season.

Digging efforts were halted when no water had been found at a depth of eighteen meters below ground level. The Guatemala and Mexican governments are negotiating at the presidential level for the use of a Chinook helicopter to skylift a 38-ton truck and drilling rig in to El Mirador to continue drillling to deeper levels. Estimated cost: US$150,000. Estimated Completion Date: January 2005.

Guatemalan Presidential Resolution 129-2002
Declared Valid

This directive established the placement of the Mirador Basin in a Regional System of Special Protection of the Cultural Patrimony of Guatemala, giving the Basin special protection under the Guatemalan constitution, defining specific borders with latitude and longitude coordinates.

On February 5, 2004, a temporary injunction had been placed by the Court, temporarily suspending the directive, a result of law suits placed by logging, environmental organizations (so ironic!), and other interests. On August 23, 2004, Resolution 129-2002 was declared valid by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court, returning the Basin to the special protection of its cultural patrimony established by the directive. This now places the Mirador Basin on the fast track for long term preservation and conservation possibilities. However, logging companies are racing to punch roads into the area before governmental forces can effectively stop the intrusions. A new major initiative by the Guatemalan military is also in the works... Stay tuned!

Major Archaeological Discovery

Several major archaeological discoveries were made by the Mirador Basin Project during the 2004 field season. Further information will be released following Guatemalan Government approval... Stay tuned!

Article in Travel and Leisure Magazine

There is a very good update about Dr. Richard Hansen and the Mirador Project, in the July issue of Travel & Leisure Magazine. "Can development actually save one of Guatemala's most important ancient Mayan cities?" David Howard investigates: Unconventional Wisdom.

"Dawn of the Maya" Video

The National Geographic film, "Dawn of the Maya", is available for purchase from the National Geographic online store. Quoting National Geographic's original announcement:

In the tangled jungle of northern Guatemala lie clues to the origin of the great Maya civilization... A one-hour special follows archaeologists as they excavate magnificent Preclassic ruins, from an elaborate carved mask to temples that may hold tombs of early Maya kings to a stunning mural dipicting a Maya creation myth.

Thanks to more than 100 years of research, we know much about the Classic Maya period — an era of great cities ruled by powerful kings. Now a revolution in Maya studies is revealing that Maya culture was also flourishing approximately 1,000 to 1,800 years earlier, preceding the time of Christ... [The documentary] was filmed at El Mirador and other Preclassic sites in the Northern Peten and presents discoveries about the rise and fall of the Preclassic Maya, complete with dynasties whose kings built some of the world's largest pyramids nearly 2,000 years before the arrival of the Spanish explorers. Among the featured archaeologists are Dr Richard Hansen (El Mirador), Dr David Freidel (El Peru/Waka) and Dr William Saturno (San Bartolo).

Mirador Basin website

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