February 25, 2007
This was a busy week, and, in spite of rain and visitors, it was also a productive one.
A GRB Productions crew came in this week for discussions and two days of filming. They will be back again next week. They are doing an archaeology series that will include an as yet untitled piece on Caracol. It rained just before filming started at the excavations, causing a change in schedule (as we moved to the lab). It is quite a different experience for us to have all 17 of them around the excavations as we work!
We had two ant “invasions”last week. Army ants came through camp first. Unlike in the past, they stayed in camp rather than just passing through. This was an issue, especially since they bite; we were also concerned that they might cause some damage to artifact bags and tags. We had only one can of Baygon insecticide and didn’t want to spray that everywhere in camp. There are various “home remedies” for dealing with them; we tried water and laundry soap, water and bleach, water and kerosene, as well as ash. Probably any of these remedies would have worked better as a preventative measure; however, the ants were already in the buildings and on beams, floors, shelves, and hammocks. It took several days for them to move out completely. We had only one real day of respite from them – and, then, biting black ants came above ground between labs one and two. We used kerosene here and the ants have now subsided, but the smell (of victory??? [apologies to Apocalypse Now]) still lingers.
Che got ill this week. We wonder if she managed to eat some of the ants invading camp. She was lethargic on Friday, but thankfully popped back by Saturday afternoon.
Most of the excavations in the I Group are moving along rapidly and beginning to make a lot more sense. Structure I1 has been cleared to reveal a room with bench and a sherd smash on its floor.
Structure I2 work produced an articulated set of legs for “Legolas”, along with some spare parts. The various lots over the lower frontal stair have produced carbon and a smashed face cache that must have fallen from behind one of the front steps.
Structure I5 has proved to fit the typical eastern mortuary building pattern. Its architecture is also becoming substantially clearer as we go deeper. In addition to the cache at the summit, there is a single individual buried with three ceramic vessels and three broken obsidian blades. There are two other crypts from within the stair; one had a small cache with lid at its top. We don’t know yet if either crypt contains bone. Just to the front of the lowest step, there is a cache (as yet unexposed). Well below and west of the front step we have a mandible and maxilla. Obviously, there is much excavation to be done in this locus next week.
Structure I7 investigations have focused on detailing the stones below humus. There is a back wall at the summit along with rock fall suggesting the building may have had a vaulted masonry roof. At the base, there is a broken plaster floor, but as yet no steps.
Excavations in Structures A16 and B1 were temporarily halted to deploy excavators elsewhere. We have not yet located the Structure B1 stairs or basal building platform in the collapsed rock fall, suggesting – but not yet proving – that the building was in the process of being renovated when the site was abandoned. We will return to dig here once things have moved further forward in the I Group.
Work in Structure D2 succeeded in recovering several lines of stones – the remains of the summit building – and smashed pottery within the construction core at the summit. There is Terminal Classic pottery and a floor at the base of this pyramid. However, in the front plaza area, we have not yet followed the floor west toward the structure.
It is hard to believe that we only have 3 weeks to go!