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.
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!
The SCRAP Team