The ancient city of Tikal and its restoration (Part II)


Together with his father, Enrique Monterroso Rosado also worked on the restoration of Temple 1 or Grand Jaguar and on other pre-hispanic constructions in Guatemala. According to his estimations, the works to show a part of what was Temple IV could take 6 years. The work has an advance of about 20% but as indicated by Monterroso only about 25% will be restored instead of the entire building as future maintenance costs would be unaffordable.

“We currently have 30 people contracted, one assistant archaeologist and myself as restorers, we will only work on the northeast corner up to the seventh body and part of the ceremonial staircase access. We’re talking about a total of 80 meters by 40 meters high and we will take around 6 years with the quality of personal that we have” he said.

The previous archaeological investigation work, he added, allowed the team of restorers to practically run into the walls of the building but for other segments excavation was necessary to reveal the walls. “We’re taking as a reference all the original stones and we’re restoring the blocks, where we don’t find them what is left is in sight”.

“It is a very expensive work and in the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Guatemala the funds are adjusted to basic needs; the dimension of the work is impressive and requires a lot of staff and material” emphasised Oswaldo Gomez.

Only 20% of the monumental zone of Tikal has been mapped out and restored estimates archaeologist Oswaldo Gomez. “The city is very large, 16 kilometers is mapped but since the central Plaza is mapped we know that it is a lot bigger. Restoration isn’t even 10% of the city; only temple I and II are almost restored 100%. Temple IV now they are doing the restoration of one sector of its stepped base and the same for Temple V that is 52meters high. The quantity of buildings that there are in Tikal we are maybe talking about 20% of the monumental zone and maybe 10% of the total restored area.”

The archaeological zone of Tikal (declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 1979) is found inside the Tikal National Park that comprises 576 kilometers squared. According to Gomez in this perimeter there isn’t only the city of Tikal but at least 13 small cities that are currently being studied and recognised by the Archaeological Atlas of Guatemala.

The specialist estimates that it’s been more than 50 years since the American academic institution first worked on the investigation which means it’s important to perform a revision of the current state of conservation of the Great Acropolis. This last zone, where the funeral temples of the ancient rulers are located, will start to be restored thanks to a project by the University of Kanazawa, Japan.

The city of Tikal reached its peak between 200 and 900 A.D. Its influence and interaction even reached cities like Teotihuacan, very near the Valley of Mexico.


“Revelan Tikal, emerge mayor templo maya”,, 2014-07-21