Richard Hansen: The Lords of El Mirador
The Mirador Basin Project is the largest multi-disciplinary research program in the history of Guatemala, with studies being conducted in archaeology, geology, geo-morphology, hydrology, and the biological disciplines concerning the flora and fauna of the basin.
As the last large tract of rainforest remaining in Central America, it is crucial to conserve the Mirador-Calakmul Basin to the fullest extent possible, and in a manner that is sustainable, economically viable and inclusive to the local communities. Unfortunately, the Maya Biosphere Reserve has been severely threatened by roads (logging and petroleum), massive deforestation, poaching, and looting of priceless archaeological artifacts. Drug trafficking, large scale burning, and wholesale deforestation have also brought a myriad of problems to the region, devastating the ecosystem, fragmenting the tropical forest, and negatively affecting the lives of the people of Petén.
Richard Hansen is a specialist on the ancient Maya civilization and directs the Mirador Basin Project, which investigates a circumscribed geological and cultural area known as the Mirador Basin in the northern Petén, Guatemala. He has previously held positions at the University of California, Los Angeles and Idaho State University. He is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES). His work has been featured in 36 film documentaries and was the principal consultant for the movie Apocalypto (Mel Gibson) (Hansen 2012a), CBS Survivor Guatemala, and National Geographic’s The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.
He was also awarded the Orden de la Monja Blanca by the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense in 2019. He was named as “one of the 24 individuals that changed Latin America and his work has been an important contribution to the understanding of the development of Maya civilization.