Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Currusté Archaeological Park Abandoned?

Earlier this month La Prensa published a story indicating that the Archaeological Park of Currusté, officially opened to the public in December, 2008, is reportedly abandoned by both the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia (IHAH), and the city government of San Pedro Sula.

Currusté, an archaeological site within the city limits of San Pedro Sula, became the country's fifth archaeological park when it opened on December 12, 2008. Prior to that it had been protected by IHAH, but closed to the public. Archaeologists first investigated the site in 1972 when archaeologist George Hasemann mapped the site and excavated in and around some of the largest structures at Currusté.

Under Dario Euraque's leadership, the IHAH formed a partnership with the city of San Pedro and the US Embassy to develop the park. Under IHAH guidance, the park was cleared, archaeological testing of the area destined to be a visitor's center, and of several of the structures was carried out, interpretive trails were built, signs were installed, and it was opened to the public. The city was supposed to pave the road leading to the site entrance, and build a visitor's center/museum on site.

Currusté was a popular location for field trips for school groups from the neighboring cities.

The coup in 2009 disrupted the plans for Currusté.

First, in July of that year, the de facto government removed the Mayor of San Pedro, Rodolfo Padilla Sunseri, who had been a party to the overall agreement for developing the park and replaced him with Micheletti's nephew, William Franklin Micheletti. Padilla Sunseri later fled to the US.

Then the de facto government removed Dario Euraque as head of IHAH that September. After the November, 2009 elections, when a new Mayor took office, he found the city badly underfunded and in debt. The funds for the visitor's center at Currusté were silently diverted to other projects.

La Prensa reports that today the park is closed to the public, and overgrown. The guard, they report, quit because he wasn't being paid.

Only the sign out on the main road remains; that and the mosquitoes.

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