Prep Week: You Can’t Can This Type Of Heat

There is no more important point of a field project (except, perhaps, the actual digging, lab work, and reporting) than the beginning. We arrived in Belize late on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, after repeated delays and way too much airport coffee. Temperatures in Belize have been soaring at over 100 F, a sharp contrast to the still snowy conditions where we had just been (Calgary and Flagstaff).

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Arriving in Belize to +100F weather

It has become our habit to arrive in Belize at least one week before fieldwork is set to commence, in order to take care of all the minutia—purchasing supplies, printing paperwork, renting vehicles, and picking up our permit (you may have seen an earlier post involving a “happy dance”). When things go smoothly, this leaves us with ample time to take care of other essentials to a successful field season—socializing, reconnecting with friends and family, taking in the sights, and acclimatizing. While things rarely go as smoothly as is ideal for the former, we always have ample time for the latter, and this year was no exception. Thank you to Ms. Erva and Mr. Landy, Nigel, Yvette, Karim, and all the rest of the Espat clan, to Raf Guerra, Kay Loague, and everyone else that we had the pleasure to reconnect with this week. We’ll see you at the Belize Archaeology Symposium in 5 weeks’ time!

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Hanging out on Burns Avenue in San Ignacio, Cayo

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Cooling off at the lovely Rio On Pools in the Pine Ridge

We met our other project members, Jill, Niki, and Frank (more members to follow next week), and headed out for Stann Creek District on Sunday, spending the day setting up our lab and going through items left in storage. We are ready and raring to go for our first week of the season!

Next week’s blog will introduce the goals of this season and outline our first week’s progress.

Best,
Meaghan, Shawn, and the SCRAP team.

SCRAP & International Women’s Day 2019

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, we’d like to recognize (via photo collage) the amazing women who have supported—through a variety of ways—the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project. These women have explored, taught, studied, surveyed, excavated, analyzed, innovated, illustrated, written, presented, cooked, cleaned, toured, chauffeured, trailblazed, constructed, mentored, shared, organized, advocated, fundraised, cared, and so much more. SCRAP would not exist without you—Thank You! #scraparky #WomensDay #sisterhood #archaeology #bettabelizeit @unwomen

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Congratulations & some press

Congratulations to SCRAP member, Megan Williams, who completed her BA Anthropology @athabascau this month and has now been accepted into the MA archaeology @ucalgary! Megan is finishing up work on obsidian sourcing at the Alabama site (to be submitted for publication later this year) and will go on to experience field work in Mexico this summer.

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Also, check out this recent press item in the Athabasca University Hub re: SCRAP and Dr. Peuramaki-Brown.

 

 

 

SCRAP outreach feedback

Do you follow our website, Facebook Page, Instagram feed, YouTube Channel, or Twitter feed? Let the SCRAP directors know why and what type of materials/posts you would like to see through these media in the coming year(s). Comment below or write to scrap.arky@gmail.com #archaeologyoutreach #scraparky #stanncreekdistrict #bettabelizeit
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Goodbye, SCRAP 2018. Hello, SCRAP 2019!

The SCRAP team is ending 2018 and starting 2019 with a bang.

December Belize Trip

From Dec. 8-23, we (SCRAP Co-Directors, Dr. Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown and Dr. Shawn Morton) travelled to Belize for meetings and a short lab session.

During our first week, we visited the Institute of Archaeology to pick up the letter acknowledging our presence in the country to conduct lab work under our 2018 permit. We also had an encouraging and productive series of meetings with the director and various associate directors of the Institute about upcoming projects.

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A stormy sky over the NICH/Institute of Archaeology in Belmopan. Luckily, it was sunny skies during our meetings 🙂

We visited with colleagues and friends in Maya Mopan village to keep them posted on project happenings, to consult regarding plans for our upcoming season, to keep up on village happenings, and to wish everyone happy holidays. The remainder of our first week was spent getting to better know the people and places of Hopkins—including our new favourite hangout, Ella’s Cool Spot.

 

During our second week, we moved to our field camp for a week of lab work—ongoing analysis of materials recovered during last summer’s excavations in the monumental core and settlement zone of Alabama. This work included

  • Analysis of pottery forms, pastes, and surface treatments/decoration to determine temporal designations and function.
  • Analysis of lithic debitage and tools to determine raw material type, manufacturing techniques, and overall functions, along with some possible temporal designations.
  • Closer analysis of small and/or special finds, including grinding stones, worked pottery sherds, fishing tools, projectiles and axes, etc.
  • Illustration of pottery rim profiles for the purpose of communicating vessel shape and for comparison with vessels from elsewhere.
  • Artifact photography for the purpose of communicating artifact appearance, comparisons, and for future illustration and 3D modelling purposes.
  • Archaeological testing and experimental studies to determine the actual material of our mysterious ‘amber’ pieces encountered during excavations in the settlement zone.

 

 

Exciting Times in 2019

2019 is shaping up to be an exciting and busy time for the SCRAP team. In May, we will begin the second season of our SSHRC Insight Grant field research, focused on the reasons behind the rather sudden appearance of more complex development at Alabama and how it was sustained; our field season will last from mid May to early August. Should all go as planned (which, you never know in archaeology), we will be involved in a lidar survey of the Pearce Ruins (10 km away from Alabama) in the spring, thanks to funding from various sources including a SSHRC Explore Grant (via Athabasca University). In March, we will also begin the consultation process for our new education/heritage-conservation Augmented Reality (AR) project, funded by a National Geographic Explore Grant. We’ll also complete our 2018 Final Report about our summer excavations in time for our March trip, and will be releasing a series of social media posts that explain the content of the report in a somewhat more entertaining fashion than is the norm for technical reports in archaeology.

 

From our team to you/yours, we wish you a very joyous New Year 2019 full of wondrous adventure!

Cheers,

The SCRAP Team