World Mixed Heritage Tikal Overall Project
World Mixed Heritage Sites, Tikal National Park, is located in the northern part of the Republic of Guatemala in Central America. Tikal as cultural heritage is an ancient city site representing the Mayan civilization’s classic period (during the 3rd and 10th centuries), with over 3,000 remains of buildings discovered in the only surveyed central area of 16 square kilometers.
At the request of the Guatemalan government, the surveys aimed at diagnosing the present condition of Tikal National Park and exploring the possibilities of cooperation had been carried out for four years from the 2005 fiscal year, as a cultural cooperation project sponsored by Japan Foundation. As a result of that, under the leadership of Seiichi Nakamura, a professor at the Center, the establishment of “the Preservation and Research Center for the Cultural Heritage in Tikal National Park” was agreed between Guatemala and Japan in the 2010 fiscal year, in the scheme of Cultural Grant Aid, one of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). The construction of this preservation and research center is a core project in the extensive cooperation plan for the preservation and utilization of cultural heritage in Central American countries where the ruins of the Mayan civilization exist, supported together by Foreign Ministry, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Foundation, and Japanese universities and research institutes. In order for Center for Cultural Resource Studies of Kanazawa University to join this plan as a representative of Japanese universities and research institutes, Kanazawa University concluded “exchange agreements” with the Guatemalan Vice-Ministry of Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports in June, 2011. In addition, on the same day, “a memorandum” aimed at forming a project whose main objectives are to investigate, restore, preserve, and utilize Tikal ruins was signed between Institute of Human and Social Sciences and the Vice-Ministry of Cultural and Natural Heritage. From now on, preparations will be made on both sides, based on this memorandum. The investigation of “North Acropolis” in Tikal National Park is scheduled to be conducted as a project candidate site in the 2012 fiscal year.
Because Tikal is also a Natural World Heritage site, this project, in the future, is expected to develop into “Tikal Overall Project,” including research and studies in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine, like environmental studies, conservation of tropical rainforests, research on special flora and fauna, and research on tropical microorganisms which may lead to the research and development of new medicines.