Rafael A. Guerra
was born in San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize. After completing his Junior College
degree he worked as a tour guide with several operators in the Cayo District
(1996 – 2004). Rafael joined the Belize Valley Archaeological project in 1999
to enhance his guiding skills by augmenting his background in archaeological
methods and theory. After completing the field course he returned to the project
as volunteer and Junior Staff member (1999 – 2002). During this time Rafael worked
at several sites with BVAR/WBRCP including Baking Pot, Cahal Pech, Caracol, Xunantunich,
Pook’s Hill, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Actun Uayazba Kab, Actun Nak Beh, Actun Yaxteel Ahau,
Chechem Ha Cave, Cueva Migdalia and Actun Chapat, where he learned numerous skills including
excavating, reconnaissance and surveying. He was later hired to work as part of the Tourism
Development Project (2001 – 2003) at Caracol where he served as the Camp Manager for three
In 2004 he supervised salvage excavations
and conducted settlement surveys in the Chalillo area of the Upper Macal Valley (northeast of Caracol)
in preparation for hydroelectric development in the area.
In 2009 he received his B.A in Anthropology from the University of Indianapolis (program offered in Belize
at Galen University).
Currently Rafael is in employment with the Belize Institute of Archaeology as an Archaeologist. His responsibilities
include the development of a multivariate database, for all known archaeological sites in Belize, spanning from the Archaic
to Historic Periods (8,000 BC – AD 1900), and conducting reconnaissance and mapping of newly discovered sites. This database
will eventually be part of a nation-wide GIS Project.
At present Mr. Guerra is one of the surveyors and a field director for the BVAR project, focusing on monumental and settlement
survey and excavations at the Maya sit of Lower Dover (2010 – 2012) in the Cayo District. His interests include settlement
pattern and site development processes in ancient Maya communities, as well as the socio-political complexity and changes in
the Belize River Valley.
Recent Projects have included: the BRASS/EL Pilar Project (2004), working
with John Whittaker and Kathryn Kamp (Grinnell University) where he learned the basics of flint knapping and lithic technology, as
well as serving on the Northern Vaca Plateau speleoarchaeological project with Dr. Philip Reeder (University of South Florida),
learning vertical caving techniques. In 2009 he worked with the UCLA Maya Archaeology Project (UMAP) surveying and supervising
archaeological excavations at the site of El Agaucate, in the Cayo District. In 2010 he joined the Las Cuevas Archaeological Project
(LCAR) as the field surveyor at the Las Cuevas Archaeological site in the Chiquibul National Park.
Rafael received his MA in cultural resource management and is a doctoral candidate at the University of New Mexico.