Archaeology Field School at Alabama, 2018

Info Session: Maya Archaeology in Belize Field Program

Date & Time: November 28, 2017 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: ES 614, University of Calgary (available online as well, see below)
Learn more about this Group Study Program (GSP) by attending this info session and visiting the following link — http://www.ucalgary.ca/uci/abroad/gsp/belizearky
The Maya Archaeology in Belize Field Program represents an excellent opportunity for archaeology and anthropology students to develop or extend their field experience through practice in archaeological field techniques within a working archaeological site.

If you cannot make it to our info sessions in person, please join us via Adobe Connect: To join the visual portion of the meeting, use the following link and enter as a guest: https://athabascau.adobeconnect.com/au-anth/

To join the audio portion of the meeting: Dial from your phone: CAN: +1-(866)811-9555; Conference/Participant Code: 5016621923

If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before: Test your connection: https://athabascau.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Get a quick overview: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html

Mr. Gonzalo Choc

It is with deep saddness that we share with you the news of the recent passing of SCRAP team member, Mr. Gonzalo Choc of Maya Mopan Village, Belize. Mr. Gonzalo worked with us from the first day of our project back in 2014 up to the last day of our most recent field season in 2016. He was an integral part of multiple elements of our research , including assisting with the creation of our new site map, settlement survey, local resources studies, and test excavations at Alabama, Stann Creek District. Mr. Gonzalo greeted us everyday with a smile, taught many of the foreign crew to speak words of Mopan (e.g. botik, ‘thank you’), and always treated us to his heart warming chuckle (particularly when Dr. Peuramaki-Brown did something stupid or silly). Members of the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project will miss their colleague and friend tremendously. Our condolences to his family and community.

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Summer update from SCRAP

Despite not having an actual field season in Belize this summer, it has still been a busy time for SCRAP.

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    Our 2016 report

    We submitted our 2016 field report to the Belize Institute of Archaeology at the end of June. You can find a copy of our report under the “Publications” tab of the website.

  2. Our permit area has been extended to include the site of Pearce to the north of Alabama.
  3. We have permission to conduct an archaeological field school in spring/summer 2018. Email us for more information (scrap.arky@gmail.com).
  4. We spent time at the IA Archives and the National Archives of Belize to acquire additional information regarding other sites/projects in Stann Creek District, as well as colonial land use documentation from the Alabama area.
  5. SCRAP research is included in the recently released (June 2017) volume of Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. You can find a copy of our article under the “Publications” tab of the website.
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    Presenting at BAS 2017

    Dr. Peuramaki-Brown presented on behalf of the entire SCRAP team at the Belize Archaeology Symposium in San Ignacio at the end of June, discussing the various “lessons learned” from previous seasons of research at Alabama.

  7. Drs. Peuramaki-Brown and Morton met with Mr. Josh Arana of the Stann Creek House of Culture in Dangriga to discuss future collaborations, and conducted in-class presentations about archaeology at the Gulisi Community Primary School.
  8. An article about our research at Alabama is published in the recent/upcoming issue of the journal Mexicon. If you do not have access to this journal, email us for a copy (scrap.arky@gmail.com).

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    At the Gulisi Community Primary School

This fall will be spent preparing for and promoting the 2018 field school; submitting an application for a SSHRC Insight Grant and National Geographic funding for ongoing research at Alabama and Pearce; and continuing to submit manuscripts for publication.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

The SCRAP Team

Upcoming SCRAP presentations

SCRAP has a number of upcoming presentations at various conferences this spring and summer.

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Dr. Howie (HD Analytical Solutions)

Next week (Friday, March 31), Drs. Meaghan Peuramäki-Brown and Linda Howie will be presenting results of their recent ceramic petrography research at Alabama at the 82nd Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver. Their talk is titled “Pre-Columbian Pottery and Building Materials of the East-Central Belize Maya: A Petrographic Characterization Study.” Preliminary conference program can be accessed here.

For the April talk of the monthly Archaeological Society of Alberta – Calgary Centre lecture series, Dr. Peuramäki-Brown will be discussing “Ancient Maya Settlement and Resource Development in East-Central Belize.” This will take place on Wednesday, April 19th at 7:30pm at the University of Calgary. Visit the ASA website for more details.

Dr. Peuramäki-Brown has also recently been added to the program for this year’s Maya at the Lago conference in North Carolina at the end of April. She will be talking about “The Ancient Maya of East-Central Belize,” with a particular focus on the early work of Dr. Elizabeth Graham in the Stann Creek District, and SCRAP research over the past 3 years. Dr. Graham’s career is being honoured at this year’s conference. Check the conference website regularly for updates.

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Dr. Paris (University of Calgary)

At the 50th Annual Meetings of the Canadian Archaeological Association in Ottawa this May, Megan Williams (Athabasca University undergraduate student) and Drs. Elizabeth Paris, Tristan Carter, and Meaghan Peuramäki-Brown, will be presenting results of two years of obsidian sourcing research at Alabama. This paper represents a multi-institutional collaboration and is titled “The Implications of Obsidian Source Analysis to Occupation Chronology and Economic Relations at Alabama, Belize”. It is part of a session that celebrates Canadians in Belizean archaeology, titledCelebrating Canadian Participation in Belizean Archaeology: 50 Years and Still Going Strong!” Also part of this session is a paper by Drs. Peuramäki-Brown and Graham, titled “The Archaeology of Industry in Stann Creek: ancient and recent past, present and future prospects.”

At the end of June, our 2016 field crew  (Drs. Peuramäki-Brown & Shawn Morton, Cristina Oliveira, Kelsey Pennanen, Virginia Chiac, Teaghan Koster and Megan Williams) will be presenting in San Ignacio, Belize at the Belize Archaeology Symposium. “‘Some lessons can’t be taught, they simply have to be learned’: Experiences from archaeological survey and testing at Alabama, Stann Creek District” is the title of their talk.

Finally, we promise that our 2016 Field Report will be available on our website at the end of June. We will not be returning to the field until 2018, as project members are busy writing up various publications about results of our Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded research from the past two years. We will, however, be meeting in June with organizers of the Stann Creek House of Culture in Dangriga to discuss future collaborations with their team.

That’s it for now. We wish everyone a wonderful spring!

Team SCRAP

Fall Activities for SCRAP

Well, it is now November, and I think most of us have fully recovered from our long field season. We have still been busy over the past couple months. Here’s what has been happening:

20160917_103617_001Megan Williams has been finishing up her independent research on the obsidian collected from Alabama during the 2015 settlement survey. She presented preliminary results at a conference in September and will be working toward preparing a formal publication in the coming year, while also applying for graduate school. We’ll also soon be sourcing the obsidian collected from our test excavations this summer. This information can tell us about some of the Alabama Maya’s involvement in long-distance exchange networks over time.

A new project member, Aysha Braun of Athabasca University, is joining us to help with our usewear study of granite metates recovered from our test excavations this summer. She will be working alongside Dr. Peuramaki-Brown and University of Calgary graduate student Matt Abtosway to conduct her independent research using the resulting data. We are hoping this data, along with our sourcing study directed by Dr. Tibbits, will allow us to better understand the workability of the Cockscomb granites and use-life of resulting metates, as well as possibly identifying diverse activities being conducted among the households of Alabama. Watch for results in the near future!

We have completed our preliminary petrographic analysis of ceramic and clay samples collected during the 2015 settlement survey. We are working with Dr. Linda Howie of HD Analytical Solutions and will present these preliminary findings at the 2017 Society for American Archaeology Annual Meetings in Vancouver, B.C. this spring.

Dr. Morton has also completed the final map of the epicentre, and along with Dr. Peuramaki-Brown, is now beginning some spatial and volumetric analyses, which will be featured in upcoming publications currently in preparation.

Additionally, we are sending off many carbon samples to Beta Analytic for AMS dating (as soon as Meaghan completes the sample prep), so we can hopefully get some helpful, absolute dates for the residential sites we tested this summer. This will help with further solidifying the occupation chronology of Alabama.

Finally, all project members are working hard to get the final reports done from the summer season. This includes reviewing all the journal entries, paperwork, photos, and mapping done over the summer, inputting data into our project database, and writing up the detailed report of our investigations. We will have this report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology in 2017, and posted alongside our 2014 and 2015 reports on our website.

We hope you are all enjoying a lovely fall!

The SCRAP Team.