Located near Lake Atitlán, University of the Valley of Guatemala (UVG)’s San Andres Semetebaj site is an extension for the UVG-Altiplano campus and serves as a living laboratory for archaeology, ecology, and community development. Among many notable features, it contains a significant Mayan archaeological site confirmed by UVG and Stanford University’s Departments of Archaeology to be one of the oldest Mayan sites in the highlands of Guatemala. An excavation in the 1970s led by Dr. Edwin M. Shook (the well known field director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Tikal Project) and UVG’s Dr. Marion Popenoe Hatch confirmed that the site dated to as early as the middle Pre-Classic period (900 BC–600 BC).
The land was donated to UVG in 2007 from the Mack Family, an American family based in California with long-standing ties to Guatemala. The community development initiatives in San Andres Semetebaj continue the Mack family’s legacy of empowering the people of San Andres Semetebaj.