Week 2, Session 2, SCRAP 2016

Last week, which was Week 2 of the SCRAP 2016 Session 2, is complete!

To their delight (Cristina being the most vocal), Cristina and Virginia finally completed their complex excavations from the first session! On Tuesday they moved to the ALA-043 site, which is a solitary mound and the last settlement site we are testing in 2016. With Mr. Gonzalo and Mr. Zoilo’s help, they set up a 2m X 1m unit on the backside of the mound. The next day they replaced Teaghan, Mr. Gonzalo, and Mr. Zoilo at Mound C of site ALA-045. Their goal was to continue digging and reach sterile to close the unit. They were still digging on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully this week they will finish!

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Confusing pile of granite blocks, metates (?), and other boulders

On Wednesday, Teaghan, Mr. Gonzalo, and Mr. Zoilo, who had yet to find any architecture in their area, commenced digging at the ALA-043 mound and struck granite blocks immediately. Further digging exposed a grouping of curved granite boulders and other rocks without a clear purposeful orientation. They continued to dig and found many artifacts. On Thursday, Teaghan mapped the rock cluster allowing the team to remove some of the rocks and dig beneath them. Meaghan hoped they would find intact architecture or the face of the building, but they did not. [Editor’s note: t least, nothing that was clearly architecture… looks like a pile of granite… which is really cool!] This led Meaghan to set up a 1m X 1m extension directly north, allowing them to expose and investigate the rest of the rock cluster and hopefully find the building face. By the end of Friday they had removed the humus/plough zone of this new subop and exposed a few more rocks. We are all hopeful that the face of the building or an answer to what this rock pile/cluster is will be answered this week with some more digging!

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Kelsey exposing possible platform face.

Kelsey and Higinio finally got to investigate the granite they exposed on Friday. (Kelsey was excited about it all weekend!) This led to finding more granite blocks on Tuesday, which was very exciting. On Wednesday because of this discovery they extended the unit another meter to the south to make sure that they would catch the front of the building and run into the face. They continued this investigation on Thursday and Friday. By the end of Friday they had still not found a distinct face and the unit is still another perplexing pile of rocks.

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Sylvestro setting up the compaction test

Meanwhile over at Kelsey’s old unit, Shawn and Sylvestro finally exposed rock and found the potential building Kelsey tirelessly dug to find last session. The lowest face of the platform is VERY deep, far deeper and lower on the mound than expected. Along with Meaghan, they also developed a “compaction test” in order to try to trace the platform in the rest of our trench, as the surface of the clay platform could not be distinguished from overburden during excavations. [Editor’s note: This unexpectedness and uncertainty, and the resulting new methods, is part of the excitement of doing household archaeology in a new area.]

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Crew at Mayflower Bocawina National Park.

On Friday we only worked in the morning. In the afternoon, the whole crew packed into our vehicles to drive to Mayflower Bocawina National Park (http://www.bocawina.com/). There we toured the Mayflower and Maintzunun (which means “hummingbird”) sites. Following this, Kelsey, Cristina, Teaghan, Virginia, and Higinio hiked to a pair of waterfalls, while Meaghan, Shawn, Mr. Gonzalo, Mr. Zoilo, and Sylvestro relaxed and enjoyed some delicious fruit juices at the restaurant. This trip fulfilled Kelsey’s deepest desire of going on a hike to waterfalls while in Belize!

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Benque Fiesta

Happily, we accomplished a lot of what we hoped we would at the culmination of last week. The excavations of Mound A at site ALA-045 and the mound at site ALA-043 both uncovered much granite material and possible architecture; Shawn and Sylvestro are investigating architecture at Subop 2A; and Cristina and Virginia finally found the end of their feature and have moved on! Next week we hope to solve the mystery of the granite cluster/pile at ALA-043; continue to uncover the platform face in Subop 2A; reach sterile at ALA-045C; and, have Kelsey finally find intact architecture to make her field season!

On the weekend, Meaghan, Shawn, Kelsey, Cristina, and Teaghan drove to Cayo to enjoy the Benque Fiesta on Saturday night. We returned on Sunday to complete some lab work in the afternoon and get set for Week 3 Session 2 at SCRAP.

See you next week!

Teaghan, Cristina, and Kelsey