SCRAP 2018 Week 0: The Unofficial Beginning

Hello everybody out there in the blogosphere (that’s how bloggers address their readers, right?),

We are approaching the end of our first unofficial week of the 2018 season of the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project (SCRAP). Here’s the tally:

New sites found: 0
Units excavated: 0
Artifacts recovered: 0
Hours spent at site: 0
Sunburns: Yes
Bug bites: Yes

Admittedly, the numbers at this point aren’t too impressive, however, this is the reality of getting a project going each season. We do a lot of running around in the first week so that when students and other staff/researchers arrive, they can hit the ground running. We haven’t been idle, and we thought we’d give you a sense of what we’ve been up to.

5 May 2018 (Saturday): After a long day (or two) of travel, we finally arrived in Belize (late). After clearing customs, we were met at the exit to the terminal by a representative from the car rental agency—he looked very familiar to us. It turns out that he is the brother of a good friend of ours and we spent the next couple of hours happily chatting with him on our way back to Cayo to finish the paperwork for the rental. We then ventured out for dinner with our friend, before settling into our home for the upcoming week.


Along Burns Ave. in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize

6 May 2018 (Sunday): Everybody needs a break, and we spent the day visiting with friends and getting caught up on the local gossip. BBQ and adult beverages all around!

7 May 2018 (Monday): Breakfast, then on the road to Belmopan to meet with a representative of the Institute of Archaeology (IA) to pick up the season’s permit. We spent some time chatting with members of the IA and Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR), both part of NICH (National Institute of Culture and History), about our plans for the season and beyond, before driving south down the Hummingbird to pick up most of our stored field equipment. We spent the rest of the day sorting through the field equipment to identify any items that needed to be purchased/replaced (for an idea of the type of equipment archaeologists use, take a peek at our blog post on the subject from back in 2016). Stewed chicken, rice and beans, and potato salad for dinner!


Along the Hummingbird Highway

8 May 2018 (Tuesday): Communication is important, and we spent a couple of hours waiting to have our cell phones reactivated from the past season. Luckily, this gave us time to grab a bite to eat before we drove to Spanish Lookout for a morning of shopping. On the list: pigtail buckets, tarps, and assorted hand tools. We also had ice cream as reward for our hard work. Conch ceviche and tequila for dinner.


Communication, makes it happen. Communication, talkin’ together  🙂

9 May 2018 (Wednesday): The day was spent going through the remaining equipment, sorting it into categories (drawing, survey and photography, artifact analysis, and various other odds and ends), and again determining what items needed to be purchased/replaced. Conch fritters and fish sere for dinner. Perhaps a beer or two.


10 May 2018 (Thursday): We went shopping for the last of the necessary equipment, repaired broken/worn items, and tackled the scary task of tallying expenses to date. It was our good friend’s birthday, so we made him cook dinner for us at his restaurant (Erva’s) before celebrating with him until the wee hours.

11 May 2018 (Friday): We spent most of the morning tackling edits on a paper and catching up on email and university responsibilities. The afternoon was spent prepping–including a trip to the market–for our annual pizza cookout with friends (a raucous event filled with food, family and friends, and a gaggle of hyperactive kids… and their children).

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Market stall selling many different spices, herbs, etc. This shot is of cinnamon sticks, lemongrass, and copal

12 May 2018 (Saturday): Finally, we buttoned up the last of our preparation prior to our departure for Stann Creek on Sunday. Electronics were charged. Computers were backed up. Our new database system from Codifi was installed on our field tablets, and we designed a new logo to go with it all (see below). Ms. Erva’s famous escabeche for dinner… can it get any better?

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Our new mobile digital database system, courtesy of our friends and colleagues at Codifi

13 May 2018 (Sunday): With help from our special movers, we packed up the vehicles and drove out to our field camp in Stann Creek District. We got all set up, then took our helpers for a wonderful fish lunch in Hopkins. Perfection!


Fish lunch on the beach in Hopkins, Stann Creek District, Belize.

That’s it for Week 0 (the unofficial beginning of SCRAP 2018)—you’ll hear from us again next weekend after our first full week in the field, and when students arrive!

Cheers from Belize,
Shawn and Meaghan