The past three weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. We shut down excavations at the Coconut Mound, having recovered both construction and occupation dates, as well as some tantalizing additional finds that possibly suggest settlement occupation prior to a significant flooding event early in Alabama’s history and a long period of abandonment following the event (you’ll have to wait for our final report for more details). We’ll be conducting more extensive excavations at this site next season.
We then opened up excavations at Trumpet Tree Mound in the same settlement group. Helping us with these excavations were members of a UNESCO Mission Group who have been on a Belize exchange focused on tangible and intangible heritage across the country. We were very thrilled to have Irene, Stephen, and Paul working with us for three days, during which we started uncovering the beautiful granite steps of Trumpet Tree Mound.
Up in the monumental core, we completed our investigations at Str. 1/2 for the season (to be reopened in the future), having recovered additional, fascinating information regarding construction methods at the site and earlier phases of construction (yet to be dated—we’ll be running many AMS dates this year).
We took a long weekend break in Hopkins after week 3, and enjoyed some fun times during Mango Fest—including a sweet round of mini golf (we are all pretty amazing).
Niki left us at the end of Week 4 (but we made sure to take a 2019 crew photo first) and we were then joined by Gillian Taylor—who was also one of our field school students last season.
Shawn and I were invited to make a presentation about the project at the Fajina meeting in Maya Mopan, and we were accompanied by a representative from the Institute of Archaeology; the meeting went very well and we are looking forward to our next event at the end of July. We all paid a quick visit to our colleagues down in Big Fall, Toledo District to look at pottery from the neighbouring district, and were treated to a tour of Nim Li Punit by Dr. Geoff Braswell, who highlighted many of the recent, amazing finds from the site.
Over the last two weeks of our first session, we also took part in a “dehaunting” ceremony at a home in Maya Centre, as well as a healing ceremony; we were very happy to have been part of these events—which are often limited to close family—alongside our friends at Nuuk Cheil and our colleagues from the Institute for Social and Cultural Research. Dave left us at the end of Week 5 just before we headed to Cayo.
Finally, we just finished a week in Cayo where we all attended and presented at the 17th annual Belize Archaeology Symposium. This is an event that brings together archaeologists from across the country to present on their recent research/activities; in particular, the conference aims to inform tour guides, teachers, students, and the general public about the impressive array of archaeological studies happening in the country. We attended three days of talks—presenting our own on the final day—and celebrated the end of the conference with a big party with much dancing (again, we are all pretty amazing).
We are now back in Stann Creek District for the second half of our field season. We have some new excavations and a couple community events coming up over this month, so stay tuned!
Meaghan, Shawn, Matt, and Jill