Week 3, the project finally reached “full force” with the addition of 3 more men on Tuesday (Jose, Gerardo, and Edwin). We now have 12 men engaged in excavations with the students and staff. Adrian has his own group that he transports back and forth to “West Puchituk” and Arlen transports the remainder to “Monterey.”
By week’s end, all of the planned excavations had been laid out in Monterey. Through most of the week, Mayra and Mo continued excavation on the large east pyramid (C219B) with Teo, Julio, and Jaime, and eventually Gerardo. Even though almost 4 meters in height, by week’s end it was possible to establish that this pyramid was a single phase construction on bedrock with no earlier building activity at this locus. Given this surprising situation, we laid out a trench over the other east building in this group (C219D) and will now open up the north building (C219C), as well.
Pyramid and ballcourt
Eric continued work on MPA (“Monterey Public Architecture”) with Jorge, Edwin, and Flavio. He initially focused on locating the stairway for the east pyramid and then moved to the summit of the pyramid where a two-room building with stone base-walls and a plaster floor was located by week’s end (C220B). We also laid a long narrow excavation down the length of the playing alley in the ballcourt and will begin excavation in search of monuments there probably next week.
Also at Monterey, the men cleared the western residential group and we laid out a trench over the east building (C221B). By week’s end, Melissa, Jose, and Teo had cleared the humus off of much of the structure.
Ceramics at “Snapper” and caches at “Tuna”
At Puchituk West, Brooke started excavations in the small easternmost building (C218C) in “Snapper” with Abner. This group is the lowest group on the hill that supports the three groups being excavated. If there was architecture in the east building, it was very crude and is difficult to discern. Although ceramics were being recovered, no deposits had been located by week’s end.
In the next group going up the hill, nicknamed “Tuna” (C217B), Adrian and Haley have found a series of caches, both face and finger, located around the stela. One face cache was placed right at the base of the stela. With Saul, they have excavated the front of the building to bedrock. During this activity, they recovered some fallen pieces of the stela – and putting them back in place resulted in an erect stone monument that was 1.27 m in height (and probably taller, but the top of the stela is missing). Their excavations here have also recovered capstones in the rear of the building and another set in the middle of the building that were disturbed by a tree; Adrian excavated this burial during the week. There is yet another set of capstone waiting for them and Saul found bone directly on bedrock on Saturday, meaning that they probably have yet another interment.
“Barracuda” excavation reveals collapsed tomb
At the top of the hill is the third group in Puchituk West that is being excavated. “Barracuda” has several open excavations. Angelo and Gustavo have been working on the axial trench in the north building (C216C) and have recovered a series of steps that they drew. Excavations in the east building have been focused in the plaza and in the rear of the building; all of the steps and the front of the building are still in place. Lauren, Gustavo, and Carlos cleared the plaza in front of the steps to bedrock, recovering 5 caches (3 of which are face caches). In the rear of the structure were capstones that rested above a very crude and partially collapsed tomb. Roxayn and Carlos excavated the chamber this week; it contained a single individual, head to the south, accompanied by what appear to be 3 ceramic vessels dating to the early Late Classic.
All-in-all, Week 3 was fairly power-packed in terms of excavation and recovering deposits – at least in Puchituk West. We will see what Week 4 brings to Monterey.