2007 Field Season Updates: Week 3

February 19, 2007

Last week went quickly. Elyse and I were in camp only Monday through Wednesday. Thursday morning, right after breakfast, Arlen, Aubrey, Elyse and I left for San Ignacio. We made the usual stops for business, supplies, and food (the market, Celina’s Store, Running W meats, and Caribbean Chicken, and post office) in Cayo and then headed towards Belize City. Adrian was the real winner at the Post Office, with 3 letters! It is hard to explain to friends and family back home just how important those letters can be (and how long it takes us to get them since we are not living in town).

After the supply run, we drove directly to the airport. Elyse and I flew to Florida, arriving in Orlando Thursday evening. We had only carry-on luggage and expected to move through customs and baggage claim quickly. However, in “duty free” at the airport, I bought a bottle of coconut rum for the friends that were picking us up in Orlando and then taking us to dinner. What I forgot about was that in Miami we would be going outside of the security area and wouldn’t be able to carry fluids on board the plane. In an effort to “save the rum” (I felt a bit like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean), we put the bottle in a small carry-on bag and checked it through to Orlando. Back home we did UCF business and supply shopping for camp. Saturday was Seminole County Science Fair. Elyse won first place in the junior Animal Sciences division for her project on squirrel feeding behavior. She now gets to go on to the State Science Fair in April. Way to go, Elyse! She owes a lot to her mentor, Dr. Jane Waterman at UCF, who helped her refine her project and her board.

Excavations have been slowed a bit this week due to rain, but are starting to pick up the pace and take shape now. In the I Group, architecture and or humus level stones are still being exposed. Structure I1 (C177B) has a well preserved bench, door and interior. There is burning on the floor level, but not much artifactual debris. Alisson is drawing an elevation of the bench wall, while Carlos continues clearing.

In Structure I2, the looter’s trench revealed a partial burial remaining in the western wall of the cut at the summit (C177F). The individual was nicknamed “Legolas” as most of the bones left in place are legs; however, these are from more than one person. Also with the burial were two unusual bar ornament pendants – one is a Tlaloc mouth made of shell and the other is a bone tube. I am really curious about what the rest of this burial would have looked like in an unlooted state, especially as a host of reconstructible vessels are associated with the burial, including 2 partial incensarios. The only other architecture currently visible at the summit is part of a step to the north of the looter’s trench. At the base of Structure I2 (C177C), Nelissa and Asterio have uncovered traces of what appear to be two different sets of steps with burning on the earlier set of stairs. We have collected a substantial amount of carbon to eventually run for C14 dating. In this front excavation, we also dug through the floor surface into dry core fill that is set directly above bedrock (approximately 1 m down).

Structure I5 (C177D) excavations have proved to be a bit unusual. There are as yet no caches or burials in front of the building. Jaime, Gustavo, and Andy are working on exposing the stairs. Work is difficult here because of all the wet soil. Arlen has reconstructed the face cache encountered last week. There is another special deposit in the summit near the location of the face cache encountered earlier. Large stones apparently cover a burial. Several long bones and 2 partial vessels are apparent even before moving the stones. Yet another partial and disturbed burial was found at the Eastern end of the trench below tree roots and barely below the surface; only two long bones remained.

Excavations in Structure I7 (C177E) have begun removing humus, but only the back wall is currently visible.

Amy is supervising excavations in Structures D2, B1, and A16 with Julio and Saul and running the lab. Investigations in Structure D2 (C178B and C178C) are likewise just beginning to remove the humus.

Investigations in Structures B1 and A16 have encountered the lower step and possibly a balustrade for Structure A16. We are having difficulty identifying the stairs and facings of Structure B1.


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