The Maya of southern Mexico and Central America built one of the
world's great civilizations.
And they left a legacy of magnificent forest-shrouded temples and exotic artifacts that continues to mesmerize 20th Century
peoples as archaeologists unearth their past and seek to solve the puzzle of their mysterious collapse.
University of California, Santa Barbara archaeologist Anabel Ford has been at the forefront of that work for more than two decades, concentrating her efforts of the past six years at the ruins of a Maya city known as El Pilar along the border separating
Belize and Guatemala.
Ford discovered El Pilar 17 years ago.
At El Pilar, Ford has brought together representatives of the indigenous community, scholars and governmental officials to create an ecological and archaeological reserve.
Goals of the coalition are to preserve the site's antiquities and ecosystem while creating an economy based on tourism and agriculture to sustain the local work force.
Ford will discuss the many accomplishments of the El Pilar Program for 1999 and plans for the site's future at a public lecture and slide presentation from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25 in UCSB's Multicultural Center.
The event is free and starts with a pot-luck reception.