Have you ever been traveling somewhere on vacation and come across a cool historical and/or archaeological site and thought, “Wow, I wish I knew more about this place!” I know I have, and that was one of the motivators behind my CHI project, Trade Routes to Ambergris Caye!

Trade Routes to Ambergris Caye is a mobile website designed for people visiting Marco Gonzalez, a Maya archaeological site located on the southern end of Ambergris Caye. Marco Gonzalez is located near the tourist hub of San Pedro. Tourists are more than welcome to walk around the site, but there isn’t any information posted about the site (with the exception of the welcome site at the entrance of the boardwalk). That’s where this website comes in!

Marco Gonzalez was a trade port during the Classic and Postclassic periods. The artifacts found at the site come from across Mesoamerica, including from central Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Pacific coast, showing just how connected Marco Gonzalez was. What is most interesting about this is what happens between the Classic and Postclassic: the Maya Collapse. The Maya Collapse was a period of economic and political change, with some central Maya lowland sites being abandoned completely. However, some sites survived and thrived during this period; one such site being Marco Gonzalez. Understanding how different communities and regions interacted with one another is integral to understanding how communities survived and navigated larger events, including the Maya Collapse. This website does just that.

The introduction page gives a background of Marco Gonzalez and the Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Project (MGAP). The Mesoamerica map shows Marco Gonzalez (the trowel icon) along with pins of where particular artifacts from Marco Gonzalez originate from; each pin has information about what artifact comes from that area, with photos where available. The Marco Gonzalez map has a georectified map of Marco Gonzalez over a Leaflet map. Each pin signifies a structure that has been previously excavated – these pins lead to a new page with more information about all of the artifacts found. As each structure has several artifacts associated with it, having a new page is necessary to disseminate the amount of information available to the public. Lastly, there is a contact page, which emails me directly when people fill out the form.

I am still adding in information from previous excavations – some of this information is published, and I will be coming through that information in the upcoming days/weeks to get the website up-to-date (however, there have been several years of field work, so this will take a bit more time). Once this is finished, future work will include the results of future excavations. I plan to contribute new information to the site each year after the season ends, and as new information is published throughout the years.

While I am very proud of my website now, it was a rocky road to get to this point. I had a lot of productive failures. For the first attempt(s) at this website, I used Bootstrap. I tried to make the Bootstraps work but to no avail. I finally accepted my fate during spring break and started from scratch. So, I started this version of the project during spring break and have had several strings of good luck throughout the process. I had a bit of a hard time with making the Leaflet map do what I wanted, but once it worked, it looked better than I first imagined. One of the more frustrating moments regarding the maps was the georeferenced Marco Gonzalez map; I could not get the map to align just right at first.

I want to say thank you again to the CHI Fellowship for providing me the education and guidance for creating this project. I hope you all enjoy the website!