We have been slowed down by the weather this week. We lost part of the week to rain. We badly needed water to fill the tanks for drinking and bathing – as well as time to wash artifacts, but digging and field drawings were held up and there was not enough sun to dry the pottery sherds, stucco, or our muddy clothes. For half of the week, every time we saw a patch of blue sky and got ready to put sherds out into the sun or to go back into the field, we were disappointed by another rain drizzle or downpour. Our bath showers have been cold and unpleasant – and we are going through our supply of tea and coffee at a must faster rate. At least it was not raining at shower time today. Nevertheless, the week has still led to interesting finds.
Excavations in Palmitas suggest that the small northwestern structure in the group (Operation C180E) is a sweat bath. The doorway is small and there are areas of burning in the interior. We will continue excavation here next week and should have a better idea.
The work in the western building (C180D) has exposed part of an earlier platform and the burial of a young child. We are still trenching the last construction before going into the earlier one.
No excavations took place on the central excavation (C180C).
Excavation and recording of the crypt in front of the eastern shrine (C180B) have been slow – not only because of rain but also because of the size of the chamber (small but deep) and the fact that bone and ceramics are laid on top of each other and intermixed, making it difficult to determine which piece should be moved first. A number of individuals and a lot of pottery vessels were buried here – just how many is not yet clear. We also are not sure how far down we need to dig to reach the floor level and the bottom of the deposit.
All excavations in Culebras were worked this week, with the exception of the alley between the two eastern buildings.
The C179G excavations in the northern building in the plaza have yet to find the eastern doorjamb for the frontal shrine. We probably will be digging more here next week.
The central excavations in C179E located a plaster plaza floor running below the small platform. We have not had dry enough weather to excavate the flexed remains of the single individual in the NW of the excavation.
Excavations in the western structure (C179F) are finished (we think). There was a human patella in the eastern edge of the excavation below the area where a tibia was found last week, but no other skeletal remains. This building shows the optimal use of bedrock in terms of Maya construction practice. However, photos will need to wait until the update next week, as we could not clean the area up for a photo because of the rain.
Excavations in the southern east building (C179D) located a special deposit in a cut in the plaster floor behind the front steps. We had barely discovered it when the rain halted fieldwork on Friday. Details will need to follow.
We continue to locate additional crypts in the northernmost east building (C179B) in Culebras. There is 1 crypt and probably 1 burial in front (west) of the building and three crypts have been discovered within the building core so far. The westernmost interior crypt forms an extremely small rectangle just big enough to hold what must have been a bundled body; the bones were oriented properly in terms of their proximal and distal ends, but were not necessarily located in appropriate position next to adjoining bones. Two broken but reconstructable ceramic vessels and a single jadeite earflare were placed with the human remains. The crypt immediately in front of the stairs produced one articulated individual and what appear to be the disarticulated bones of a second individual. A stunning polychrome vessel was located at the feet of the individual. Unfortunately only the decoration located above the soil level is well-preserved; the back of the vessel was almost completely decomposed.
Hopefully, weather permitting, the artifacts will dry and fieldwork will progress rapidly this coming week.