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El Pilar: Wealth Untold

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Belize and Guatemala share a common Mayan site known as El Pilar, which spans the territories of both countries. This ancient Mayan Site still holds great value even today since plants of all sorts can be found at the site. El Pilar Maya Forest Gardeners Network has been on a campaign to share with others the wealth untold that can be found in El Pilar. Today, Love News caught up with Cynthia Ellis-Topsey at the Leo Bradley Library who said she would like to see schools plant a garden with plants from El Pilar.

Cynthia Ellis-Topsey – Activist: “The beauty about El Pilar is that El Pilar comes under the canopy of the rainforest so it is unlike other Maya sites. It is the only of its kind in the world where we allow the trees and nature to blossom, not to be destroyed so the trees and nature are as important as the site. It is an ancient city where thousands and thousands of people were sustained so the power of this experience is to show how we have information, we have the technology and we have the knowledge to survive. We don’t have to be starving, we are promoting the issue of food sovereignty because once you know that the plants are for food and for medicine and they regenerate themselves then there doesn’t have to be this anxiety and stress about what you are going to eat.”

Dr. Anabel Ford, who has done extensive work on El Pilar Mayan Site, said that her team is presently mapping El Pilar as one resource that can be found in both Belize and Guatemala.

Dr. Anabel Ford – Archaeologist, Head of El Pilar Project: “El Pilar is a very large site. We now have the light arm and we can see how many monuments there are. The monumental architecture of temples and plazas and different aspects of monuments that are all over that area plus the Mayan houses which I am all interested in. I started my project in 83 and it wasn’t until 93 that it actually began to look closely at El Pilar. I was at more of the broad settlement, what El Pillar’s domain was you could say? How many sites there were? Where they were? What their pattern of land use was and that was when I started to developing this idea of the Maya forest garden. When I started really focusing on it there was a causeway and that causeway went to the west Chiquin as we learned today in the ceremonial presentation of the opening and Chiquin is going west is actually going into Guatemala.”

Students from St. John’s College and Pallotti High School attended today’s event. There is also an exhibition being held at the Leo Bradley Library on El Pilar

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