Preserving the Past for the Future

Institute of Archaeology

The Institute of Archaeology (IA-NICH) is dedicated to the research, protection, preservation, and sustainable management of Belize’s cultural and archaeological resources.


Motto: Preserving the Past for the Future

Mission: The Institute of Archaeology (IA) is dedicated to the research, protection, preservation, and sustainable management of Belize’s cultural and archaeological resources. 

Legal mandate: National Institute of Culture and History Act, Chapter 331 of the subsidiary Laws of Belize 2000, Revised Edition 2020.  


Institute of Archeology Units

Parks Unit:

The Park Management program focuses on the sustainable development and effective management of all public archaeological parks.

What do they do: 

  1.  Develop and implement strategies that will ensure sustainable management of Belize’s archaeological parks. 
  2. Improve capacity building and Institutional strengthening, emphasizing park policies, standards and human resources development 
  3. Optimize opportunities for communities to economically benefit from archaeological parks. 
  4. Promote sustainable management of archaeological parks by integrating a balance between tourism development, conservation and archaeological research. 

Enforcement Unit:

The Enforcement Unit is concerned with the protection of our archeological resources by enforcing the established policies that promote archaeologically sustainable development through monitoring and facilitating impact assessments. 

What do they Do:  

  1. Monitor all large development or mining operations to ensure that no archaeological features are at risk of destruction and enforce laws to protect features if necessary. 
  2. Facilitate the process of archaeological impact assessments conducted by licensed professionals permitted to work in Belize. 
  3. Identify, register and catalog archaeological sites with the national database.

Research Unit:

The Research Unit focuses on the enhancement and development of Belize’s cultural and archaeological resources through; excavations, exploration, research, public education, and the development of visitor’s centers and museum exhibits. 

What do they do: 

  1. Evaluation of research application requests and granting of research permits, 
  2. Management of the national collection of antiquities 
  3. Develop and implement management strategies that will ensure that research, education, cultural awareness and history is integrated into the IA activities. 


Virtual Tour of Lamanai

Descend into the jungle of Lamanai Archaeological Reserve to experience the impressive High Temple in northern Belize Meaning "Submerged Crocodile" in Maya, Lamanai has been continuously occupied and cared for since the ancient Maya times. In this experience, you will learn from conservators, tour guides and community members who uphold the site through conservation and cultural practices. This Tapestry experience was created by the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize working with CyArk as part of the Cultural Heritage Exchange Initiative supported by U.S. Embassy Belize and Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. Experience the Lamanai High Temple in English and Spanish on your computer or mobile device


News Feed

Belize's Archaeological Reserves

Corozal District

Orange Walk District

Belize District

Cayo District

Stann Creek District

Toledo District

Contact Us

Contact Form IA