Archaeological bookends in Copán Valley
COPÁN RUINAS, Honduras – A short drive from the main Maya ruins at Copán, a forested hillside holds a cluster of mounds that Peabody Museum archaeologists believe date from near the end of the great Maya civilization that once dominated the region.
On [April 17, 2007], Peabody Museum director and Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology William Fash, along with director of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Program Barbara Fash and two Harvard graduate students, walked the site with Honduran government officials charged with regulating and overseeing archaeological activity in the Central American nation.
The site, called Rastrojón, provides a “before” look at an archaeological site, a bookend in time to compare with the simultaneously soaring and crumbling remains a short distance away in what was once the city center.
At the main ruins, a draw for tourists from around the world, generations of archaeologists have toiled, tunneling beneath the pyramid-like main acropolis, reconstructing tumbled stonework, and piecing together sculpture that once adorned the buildings and the carved stone pillars called stelae.
Though much work remains to be done there, their toil has already paid off. Tourists walk leisurely among the splendor of the main ruins‚ adeptly climbing stone steps that were little more than a mound of earth with trees growing out of the top when Barbara Fash first saw the site in 1977. Now, Fash was taking time out of her preparations for the Peabody’s trip to Yaxchilan in Chiapas, Mexico, to walk two visitors through the main ruins and the associated sculpture museum.
To read the full article go to:http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/04.19/99-copan.html