Our second full week in the field was hot hot hot! Sunday was a lazy day spent at our home base in Maya Centre – a delicious breakfast with fresh fruit from the garden, followed by time to catch up on work (or sleep), or hang out with the dogs. Jill and Frank also spent some time firing pottery with our hostess, Miss Aurora Saqui.
Monday morning, Frank left us to return to San Antonio (Cayo District, Belize) and his studies in tourism. The rest of the crew headed out to set up excavation units for structures ALA-002A and ALA-002C, two of three structures in a settlement group organized around a large courtyard, to the southwest of the monumental core. Our goal is to determine what these structures were used for, who used them, and how they relate temporally to the monumental core. We spent the morning clearing, erecting shelters, and setting up excavation units. It wasn’t all work – we stopped for orange breaks (we are in an orchard after all!) and some refreshing coconut water (thanks Higinio Jr!) to keep us hydrated. We called it a day by about 1pm and headed off to Dangriga for supplies and an excursion to Red Bank and Roseville on the way back. We finished the day with a fabulous 3-course meal that included Rigo’s amazing chicken cheese dip – delicious!!
Tuesday we got back at the hard work of excavating! Shawn’s crew continued to work on exposing blocks of an underlying structure at Structure 1/2, while Meaghan’s and Dave’s crews opened up their new units. The soil made for easy digging in Meaghan’s unit, while it was an entirely different story for Dave and crew in the packed earth under the orange trees. We wrapped up early in order to pick up Matt, fresh off a bus from another excavation in Campeche, Mexico and suffering the after-effects of jungle snail ceviche. Thankfully he was feeling better by the time he reached us!
Wednesday was a busy day as Matt started prepping for his shovel test pits in the ALA-002 courtyard, while Shawn’s crew started to pull some of the large architectural stones in an effort to understand their building’s construction. Meaghan and Dave continued to expose architectural stone in their units. We ended the day with a trip to Ella’s Cool Spot in Hopkins, and Jill made a new friend!
On Thursday Shawn stayed in Maya Centre to attend to some business, while his crew was deployed to help Matt dig shovel test pits. Matt’s crew not only uncovered the cobble ballast of the plaza surface but also a variety of artifacts. 9 holes down, only 150 to go!
We were all glad when Friday rolled around. Matt and crew continued to work on test pits, Meghan and crew made progress on the extension to their unit, Dave and crew continued to expose an architectural alignment, and Shawn and crew continued their work on Structure 1/2.
Saturday we were up early and off to Belmopan to attend a Maya Glyphs workshop put on by Mayas for Ancient Mayan (MAM) and our host M. Ernesto Saqui. Seven of our crew members from Maya Mopan–both young and old–also attended, and a good time was had by all. Mr. Idelfonso Cal put it best when he said how pleased he was to learn something new about his ancestors that he had never been exposed to before–it made him feel young (he’s 71). After the return trip to Maya Mopan to drop off our colleagues, we headed into Hopkins for some celebratory pizza!
Stay tuned for our next Sunday to Saturday installment…..a trip to Placencia in the Vomit Comet is involved!
Cheers from Stann Creek District, Belize!
The SCRAP Team