The 2012 Caracol Archaeological Project started on January 19, when the first 6 men were brought back to the site to do camp repair and to begin to bush the various groups that have been selected for excavation. On January 24, the kitchen was formally opened when the four cooks arrived in camp. On January 27, A. Chase went into camp and on January 29, all seven of the senior staff arrived in Belize and proceeded to camp. January 31 saw the arrival of 5 more Belizeans to help with the excavations. The six junior staff arrived in Belize on February 1 and were driven directly into camp, bringing the project almost up to its complete size.
The weather has not been very cooperative. There were heavy rains each day from January 25 through February 3 and the Caracol road is not in good shape. Slipper’s Hill, just before the paved last section of the site road, is a muddy mess. The white van barely made it up the hill, threatening to come to a complete halt in the mud and ruts.
The 2012 field season constitutes the first year of a three year project that is designed to examine a Maya neighborhood. To do this, we have selected a series of contiguous groups that are located north, east, and south of the causeway terminus called “Machete” that is located ca. 500 m east of the site epicenter. The goal is to determine how these groups interacted with each other over time. Five groups have been selected for initial excavation. Excavation began February 1 in Dos Aguadas, which had three initial investigations staked – and then later 2 more. On February 2, three excavations were laid out in Zumba and excavations began in this group the next day. Another excavation was laid out in a third group, Terraza, on February 3. By February 4, stone architecture from walls and door jambs was becoming visible in all three of the Dos Aguadas investigations, making this a very unusual group. Zumba does not evince this kind of architecture.
All-in-all, the 28th field season is up and running and already promises to be successful in terms of understanding more about Caracol’s housemound groups and their ancient interactions.