The Wonders of the Mirador Archeological and Wildlife Area: Investigations and Opportunities in the Heart of the Maya Biosphere Reserve

March 8, 2008 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Belvedere Community Center
450 San Rafael Avenue
Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920

by Richard Hansen

Dr. Hansen is a world-renowned explorer, archaeologist, author, and conservationist working deep in the jungles of Guatemala to save the Cradle of Maya Civilization – El Mirador National Park. Featured on National Geographic’s one-hour special, Dawn of the Maya, ABC’s 20/20, CBS’s 60 Minutes, The Discovery Channel and CNN, Dr. Hansen has dedicated his life to saving Mirador, a part of the archaeologically and naturally rich Maya Biosphere.

The world’s largest pyramids and oldest Maya cities reside deep in the Mirador jungle, about two days on foot from the nearest village. Two thousand years ago, Mirador supported one of the largest populations and one of the most complex civilizations in the Americas. For over two decades, Dr. Hansen has been scientifically excavating, researching, and conserving these ancient Maya cities and investigating the dynamics which led to the rise and fall of this amazing civilization.

At Mirador today, there is an opportunity to save the intact rainforest and rich wildlife habitat, as well as the earliest Maya cities while creating thousands of new jobs for the surrounding communities. If Dr. Hansen is successful, he will reverse the catastrophic destruction of the last Maya Biosphere in Central America. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Maya Biosphere has already lost over 65% of native rainforest in the past 20 years. Mirador has the potential to raise millions of dollars in new tourism revenue to the emerging economy and people of Guatemala through sustainable community-based tourism.

Dr. Hansen is currently President of the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES) and was recently awarded the National Order of the Cultural Patrimony from the President of Guatemala. After graduating from Brigham Young University and obtaining a M.S. degree in Anthropology, Dr. Hansen went on to receive his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Until 2004, he was a scientist with the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA before joining the faculty of Idaho State University in Native American Studies.