El Pilar is a very large archaeology site on the western most border of Belize. The site is actually in two countries, Belize and Guatemala. Dr. Anabel Ford, of the University of California Santa Barbara, first surveyed the area in 1986.
I attended the Maya Cultural Festival at El Pilar on May 4, 2008. The slideshow is running in the top right corner of this blog.
The Belize River Archaeological Settlement Survey (BRASS) was founded with the idea that we should concentrate on studying the people who made it all work, the average Maya farmer, to get a better picture of ancient Maya society. BRASS began work in 1983 in the Upper Belize River Valley north of San Ignacio and, in 1993, reached the ancient Maya city of El Pilar.
In 1993 the BRASS project began to devote all of its resources to the study of El Pilar and it quickly became evident that it was an important and unusual site. The city turned out to be larger than expected. Still not fully explored, we now know that El Pilar has at least three large sections that straddle the Belize-Guatemala border and are interconnected by causeways, one of which is almost 100 feet wide with walls along both edges. So far the archaeologists have identified more than 25 plazas covering more than 100 acres and more than 70 major structures. It is the largest center in the Belize River area, more than three times the size of other well-known centers such as Cahal Pech or Xunantunich.
For more information on El Pilar, try these sites: