From 1960 - 1996 Guatemala experienced an"internal conflict, in which more than 200,000 people were murdered and 50,000 people were "disappeared"1. 83% of those killed were Mayan and largely lived in rural communities. A UN commission revealed that "[e]ntire villages had been destroyed and all their inhabitants killed. The policy had been total destruction, not only ‘scorched earth,’ but, in some cases, every human being had been killed, including women, children, babies and elderly people. Pregnant women and babies had been victimized with particular brutality"2.

In the Fall of 2016, Riley Dolan (PLU ‘19), took “Hispanic Voices for Social Change” with Dr. Emily Davidson (Hispanic Studies). This course focused on examining 20th century conflicts in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Guatemala. As part of his coursework, Riley developed a project on Guatemala with the goal of studying the internal conflict and focused on investigating which monuments were erected to memorialize the victims. He realized that there are barely any image sources available for these monuments and scant scholarly sources in English. After applying and receiving an intern position with the State Department in Guatemala, Riley and Dr. Carmiña Palerm (Hispanic Studies) applied for and received a Kelmer-Roe Faculty-Student Fellowship and a Wang Center for Global Education Research Grant so that Riley could use part of his time in Guatemala to travel around Guatemala City and parts of the countryside to identify and document these monuments.

Upon his return from Guatemala, having identified over 45 items , and with the support of the Digital Humanities Lab at PLU, Riley and Josh Smith (PLU I&TS) have worked on creating this free and public collection of material. Together they have uploaded these photos, written descriptions, and identified GPS locations of the monuments.

Mapping Monuments is the result of this ongoing collaboration. Our goal with this project is to raise awareness for the conflict that has occurred and to allow the world to think critically about how these varying monuments portray and represent the conflict. Images are available for public use provided that credit is given to Riley Dolan and that the website is appropriately cited. All images have been classified following Dublin Core standards.

Riley would like to thank Dr. Carmiña Palerm for her expertise and guidance; the Office of the Provost and the Wang Center for Global Education for their generous funding; and Dr. Adela Ramos and Dr. Scott Rogers for their support at the Lab.

The work of the PLU Digital Humanities Lab is made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation.


  1. Fitzpatrick-Behrens, Susan. “Angels in Guatemala: Confronting a Legacy of Official Terror.” Angels in Guatemala. North American Congress on Latin America, 6 Jan. 2010. Web. 10 Aug. 2019
  2. UNOPS United Nations Office for Project Services “Guatemala: Memory of Silence.” United Nations. Junio 1999.