When the Archaeologists Leave

The Hacienda El Progreso.

Fernando Astudillo, Edy Becerra, Florencio Delgado, Ross Jamieson and Peter W. Stahl.


The Hacienda El Progreso functioned as an important Ecuadorian agro-industrial enterprise in the late nineteenth century. Operating out of San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos archipelago, the plantation exported refined sugar, coffee, cattle products, and other goods to national and international markets. From its beginnings in the 1860s, the plantation established the first permanent human settlement on the island, and long after its demise in the 1930s, it continues to exert an important influence in local culture. Contemporary communities of San Cristóbal are shaping their identities based on the historical importance of the hacienda. The summer of 2018 was our last field season. From its start, the Historical Ecology of the Galápagos Islands project involved close participation with communal authorities and town leaders to investigate the island’s human past. In this article, we discuss legacy and services of our project in the contemporary setting of Galápagos. We examine the relevance and contributions of our project to education, heritage policies, and the local economy. We discuss lessons learned from interactions and collaborations between archaeologists and the local community, and we evaluate the consequences of implementing an archaeological project on a remote environmental sanctuary where interest in human history can collide with the agendas of nature conservation and a lucrative ecotourism industry.

Read the article in the link: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-archaeological-practice/article/when-the-archaeologists-leave/7C6EBFC58DFE50A1CA5930B5AD6F400B#article 

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In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!