La Milpa was rediscovered by a chiclero who took the famous Mayanist Sir Eric Thompson there in March 1938. The site was then ignored (and indeed lost again for a while) until the 1970’s, when it was comprehensively looted. The deep trenches in all the structures date from that time and the pickings are reputed to have been good.
Several trenches dug uncovered tombs of which at least two were coated with a red iron pigment that represented the Mayan equivalent of gold leaf. The theft was suppressed in the 1980’s and the ruins left undisturbed. It is now the subject of a long-term archeological survey being undertaken by Boston University.
La Milpa is only one of the 60 Maya sites so far located on PfB land. The University of Texasdoes archaeological surveys on all other sites. Through such work we expect to learn much more of how the ancient Mayan civilization evolved, was organized and sustained, and why most of its centers eventually collapsed throughout the region.