George Bey—2013 Best Practices in Site Preservation Award
The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present its 2013 Award for Best Practices in Site Preservation to George Bey, professor of Anthropology at Millsaps College and codirector of the project at Kaxil Kiuic, for his exemplary work at this Maya site in Mexico.
Bey’s comprehensive conservation efforts at Kaxil Kiuic demonstrate that archaeology can be used not only to preserve cultural resources but also to protect endangered environments. In 1999, Bey spearheaded efforts to purchase and develop 4,500 acres of land, which included the archaeological remains at Kaxil Kiuic, into a biocultural reserve. While maintaining the integrity of the natural environment around the site, Bey has developed a method of archaeological conservation that focuses on preserving standing architecture. Any damage that occurs to buildings through natural processes is monitored and mitigated. In keeping with the conservation ethos of the project, all archaeological materials uncovered at the reserve are processed in an environmentally friendly laboratory facility. By keeping archaeological development as low impact as possible, Bey and his colleagues are ensuring the long-term preservation of the pre-Columbian resources at the site.
In addition to his impressive direct conservation efforts, Bey has organized and implemented numerous educational and outreach activities for the benefit of the local communities around Kaxil Kiuic. He encourages site visits, supports a scholarship program that allows local students to continue their education, and works with local communities and landowners to inform them of the importance of conserving archaeological resources.
The Archaeological Institute of America honors George Bey with the 2013 Award for Best Practices in Site Preservation and hopes that Bey’s colleagues will strive to emulate this dedication to preservation.