This week constituted the second real week of excavation and it was fairly power-packed. Camp life has settled into a rhythm and all of the excavations are starting to yield significant finds.
Excavations in the residential group called Ultimo (C49D) have produced two burials in front of the structure steps, one in a small crypt or tomb and the other in a cist. Additionally, it appears that there is an infilled tomb immediately behind the front stairway. The excavation has also produced a series of finger caches, including at least three sets that contain both fingers and obsidian blades. Carlos, Omar, Rachael, and Angela have all been working on this excavation. Interestingly, a concentrated deposit of old tattered plastic bags (obviously from our archaeological efforts at the site) was recovered from within the burial in front of the steps, probably having been dragged there by an animal to make a comfortable nest.
In the plaza excavation in the Central Acropolis (C206B), Mark, Lily, Rob, and Nelson came down on two floors at a depth of approximately half a meter. They stripped off the first floor, which had scribe lines incised on it, and went down to the second floor, upon which most of the pits through the first floor ended. However, in the southwest corner, a single pit continued down and had a concentration of large slab stones along the edge of the excavation. Removing one of the smaller stones above the slabs revealed a large space that ran to the south, out of the excavation. The large slab stones were covering an entryway into a large tomb that had been built into the middle of the Central Acropolis plaza. The IOA (including John Morris and George Thompson) visited the site on Wednesday and were able to see the tomb (and all the other excavations). We have covered up the small hole through the entryway and will probably dig the chamber when Diane returns in another week.
In the Structure A37 platform, Eric has been working with Saul and Minel (and later Lily) to finish the excavation of our initial 2 m by 6 m probe (C207B). They found a floor at a depth of 1.6 m below the plaza surface and eventually a fairly well preserved corner of a building that rested on this floor in the western part of this excavation. The building includes a projecting vertical facing and plinth with a southern talud-tablero extension; floorings cap these surfaces and are within 0.5 m of the plaza surface. This structure has to date to prior to the early Early Classic based on the burials found during an earlier season in the fill that covers the construction. Mo called us by Tigo phone to tell us about this structure while we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico (see below) – a good news phone call from the site.
The first 2 m by 11.5 m unit (C208B) over the eastern side of Structure B36 was finished and the second unit of the same size (set 3 m to the north; C208C) was started this week. The architecture is of fine cut stone, but so far we have no steps or confirmed doorways. The building was constructed on the latest plaza floor. This excavation has been carried out by Nick, Sam, Sarah, and Max, and Javier.
The Northeast Acropolis has also had its plaza trench largely excavated down to the 2 m deep earlier plaza floor that we have been trying to reach (C205B). This has been a massive undertaking because of the amount of trash that is included in the dirt fill over this floor (and we are screening all of this dirt). By week’s end, it was clear that there were a number of pits through the upper floor and that they should finish the task or upper fill removal by early next week, meaning that we would then be able to start investigating the earlier floors. Mo has been supervising Shane and George at this excavation with Jaime and Asterio carrying out the heavy lifting; additionally, other men and staff have been rotated into this excavation to help with both the excavation and the screening.
On Thursday morning, I left Caracol to go to Belmopan and then on to the Belize airport. In late afternoon, I flew to Dallas where I met Diane, who flew in from Orlando. On Friday morning we flew from Dallas to Santa Fe to attend a conference with a multitude of colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute called “The Maya Materialization of Time.” We all convened on Friday night for conversation and dinner, had a full day of papers and discussion on Saturday with another fine evening repast, and then a half day concluding session on Sunday with lunch at the Santa Fe Institute. This meeting was well worth the time and effort and kudos need to be proffered to David Freidel, Jerry Sabloff, and Jerry Murdock for organizing and hosting all of us. On late Sunday afternoon, Diane and I flew back to Dallas, each with about an hour between flights. She went on to Orlando and I went to Miami, both arriving at mid-night. After a brief stay at the Miami International Hotel, I caught the morning flight back to Belize.