Richard D. Hansen

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Hansen in 2017

Richard D. Hansen is an American archaeologist who is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Utah


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.[1][2] He has previously held positions at the University of California, Los Angeles and Idaho State University.[citation needed] 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[3] and his work has been an important contribution to the understanding of the development of Maya civilization.[4]


Hansen has been working with Republican U.S. Congressman Jim Inhofe to pass a bill in the House of Representatives which would create the provisions for U.S taxpayers to fund a project to turn large areas of the Mirador Basin into a privately-managed park with hotels, restaurants, and a miniature train.[5] Hansen's plans have drawn criticism from local indigenous communities with many questioning the intentions of the project.[6] Those opposed to the project, including several archaeologists and many of the indigenous inhabitants of the area who would undoubtedly be affected by the proposals, believe it would interfere with The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the center's sustainability efforts within the Maya Biosphere. [7]


  1. ^ Archeological Research in the Petén, Guatemala - NASA
  2. ^ Mirador Basin National Monument: The Cradle of Maya Civilization
  3. ^ Latin Trade Magazine, Dec. 2013, p. 72,
  4. ^ Prensa Libre, 10 Marzo 2017: 12,35 Global Heritage Fund Archived 2007-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Mayan Ruins in Guatemala Could Become a U.S.-Funded-Tourist Attraction". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  6. ^ "U.S. Archeologist Seeks to Privatize Maya Historic Sites in the Name of Conservation". NACLA. Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  7. ^ Stoian, D.; Rodas, A.; Butler, M.; Monterroso, I.; Hodgdon, B. (2018-12-15). "Forest concessions in Petén, Guatemala: A systematic analysis of the socioeconomic performance of community enterprises in the Maya Biosphere Reserve". CIFOR. Retrieved 2021-03-08.

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