Below follows, in reverse chronological order, a timeline of some of the notable happenings in the history of UVG’s recent acquisition and development of the UVG-San Andrés Semetabaj site. Consider a visit to UVG-SAS in person! We would love to show you around.


On November 12, 2007 the Mack family signs a formal document in the office of UVG Rector Roberto Moreno to transfer the lands in El Convento, Plaza Maya and El Labor, near the Village, to the University of the Valley of Guatemala.

An archeological survey of the proposed site for a possible Cultural Center in Plaza Maya is completed.  The Guatemalan Government approves the concept for future construction.

San Andrés Semetabaj


UVG requests an expansion of the donated parcel of land to include El Convento and El Labor.  Their intended use would be for forestry, agriculture, and ecology research projects.


The Mack family approaches UVG about donating Plaza Maya as an archeological area to be preserved, owned and administered by the University of the Valley of Guatemala.

Stanford Professors Rob Dunbar and Julie Kennedy of the Earth Systems Program, along with a graduate student from Argentina, examine the possibility of helping the village of San Andrés Semetabaj solve their water and waste disposal problems.

Plaza Maya Map
Marion Hatch

2004 and 2005

UVG’s Dr. Marion Hatch and Stanford’s Professor John Rick head up a joint team of graduate students from both schools to investigate the mounds. The results of these studies have been published and reported to the Government of Guatemala and indicate intermittent occupation of the Plaza Maya site from the Middle Pre-Classic through the Classic Period. The site has been confirmed as one of the oldest Mayan sites in the highlands of Guatemala.


UVG and Stanford University begin discussions about a collaborative investigative archeological project at the San Andrés Semetabaj site.

Town and Church


Lands are donated to the village of San Andrés Semetabaj for enlargement of its cemetery, for a new school addition, for a water system holding tank and for a basketball court. Support is provided for health facilities at the fire station. Several thousand trees are planted on the Mack land.


Mesoamerican scholar and archeologist Dr. Edwin M. Shook (d. March 9 2000), best known for his extensive field work and publications on pre-Columbian Mayan civilization sites, together with archeologist Dr. Marion Popenoe Hatch (current Professor in and former Director of UVG’s Department of Archeology), investigate the Mayan Mounds in Plaza Maya and publish the results through the University of California, Berkeley press, “Ruins of San Andrés Semetabaj”. At the same time a tomb is intersected during the construction work adjacent to Plaza Maya and pottery found inside the tomb is confirmed to be of a Pre-Classic to early Classic age as established by Shook and Hatch.

For more information about the Licenciatura degree program in Archeology at UVG:


Berkeley: University of California, Department of Anthropology, Archaeological Research Facility California: Ruins of San Andrés Semetabaj (1979 Reprint and 1994 edition)




An additional area surrounding Mayan Mounds, Plaza Maya, is created. Contiguous additional lands of El Convento to the north and El Labor to the south are purchased and annexed to the original land.


The farm Santa Marta bordering the village of San Andrés Semetabaj in the Province of Sololá in the highlands above Lake Atitlan is purchased by “Hawley Hermanos”, a family corporation managed by John Mack which owned and operated a coffee finca, “ONA y Anexos”, between San Marcos and Coatepeque. The purpose of the purchase is to preserve and develop the lands as tourism opportunities increased in the vicinity of Lake Atitlan.

Lake Atitlan

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