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Archaeology and Community Development at Copan, Honduras
Archaeology and Community Development at Copan, Honduras
Penn Museum - Philadelphia
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October 18
Thursday, 12:30 pm
Afternoon Lecture
Archaeology and Community Development at Copan, Honduras
Honduran archaeologist Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle, Executive Director of the Copan Association, presents this talk, focusing on the preservation and management of archaeological resources and their rational use for tourism and the economic development of local communities. The PDRVC project (which began in 2003 and was financed by the World Bank) at Copan, Honduras is presented as a case study. Brown bag lecture - bring a lunch. Free admission!

Speaker Bio: Ricardo Agurcia has invested more than thirty years of work at the monumental site of Copan in Western Honduras, which is one of the Maya civilization’s pre-eminent cities and—in terms of its architecture, arts, and hieroglyphic inscriptions—certainly one of its most spectacular. His work at Copan has taken him in two different but related directions, one of them crucial to the recovery and understanding of the past and the other paramount to guaranteeing that the past remains present.  The first is archaeological exploration of the site, in which he first engaged in 1978.  Since then, he has served many rolls including that of the Honduran government’s Coordinator of Archaeological Projects in the Copan region, co-director of the Copan Acropolis Archaeological Project and director of the Oropendola Project as well as the CIAVAC (acropolis conservation) Project. As part of his research on the Acropolis, he discovered “Rosalila”, the only known Copan temple to have survived complete, down to the magnificent painted stucco ornamentation of its façade. The second direction in which his career has carried him is toward preservation and management of archaeological resources, and the rational use of those resources for tourism and economic development.  In 2003, the World Bank made a $ 12 million dollar soft loan to encourage sustainable development at Copan and four other archaeological parks in Honduras.  In his view, “Archaeology at Copan is not just about dead people. It is about the growth and development of contemporary populations.  It is about feeding poor people, giving them jobs, and making them proud of their heritage”.  To implement some of these goals, he founded and now directs the Copan Association (, a non-profit organization that promotes research and protection of Honduras’s patrimony, both cultural and natural. He was appointed Research Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections (Trustees for Harvard University) for the 1996-1997 Academic Year and returned there as a Visiting Scholar in 2011. He has participated in many events sponsored by the U.N. and he has published both articles and books. He has been a Consulting Scholar with the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology since 2008.


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