When I first applied to be a CHI Fellow, I thought I had a project plan set—however, a new project formed in my mind after our last rapid development challenge. I will be creating a digital cultural heritage mobile website highlighting the archaeological site of Marco Gonzalez in Belize, where I work during summer break.

Marco Gonzalez is at the southern tip of Ambergris Caye, and was a prime location for trade and exchange, especially during the Postclassic period (A.D. 1050 to 1544). Understanding how different communities and regions interacted with each other is integral to understanding how communities survived and navigated larger events, including the Classic Maya Collapse. The Maya Collapse occurred during the ninth century and was characterized by the abandonment of many major urban centers throughout the Maya region, and accompanied by population movement and decentralization of political and economic power.1 The Marco Gonzalez population existed before and after the Maya Collapse, so research at the site can provide insight into how populations were able to successfully navigate this tumultuous period.

Excavations have occurred at Marco Gonzalez since the late 1980s. Artifacts that have been found at the site would have traveled from across the region. This information is where my proposed project stems from. As of now, my plan is to create a QR code for my mobile website that can be printed and posted to the sign located at Marco Gonzalez, providing tourists with more information about the site and the artifacts there. There will be a page focused on a site map with previous excavation areas highlighted. A second page will be of Mesoamerica. This page will have points in the areas from which different Marco Gonzalez artifacts would have traveled from and what structure it was found in, along with more information about the region. Once created, I plan to update the website after each field season to keep those interested as up-to-date as possible.

I am incredibly excited to begin working on this project in the spring! Stay tuned to see the final project in a few months.

  1. Webster, David (2002). The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson Inc.