This was supposed to be the week that we transitioned from the field to laboratory work, but at the end of the week we still have three excavations open. Lab work, however, was started with a vengeance.
By weeks end, three groups were completely finished and ready for backfilling. The last excavation in Alegre, Operation C199E in the east building, was closed this week after the final discovery of a Belize Red “brandy snifter” at the northern end of S.D. C199B-3. Lisa drew all four sections in Alegre (Operation C199) and then moved on to Dormir (Operation 200), where she drew the three sections there. Operation C202B in the west building in Tonto saw final excavation on Tuesday and also had its section drawn by Lisa.
Sonrisa still had two excavations open at the beginning of the week, the reservoir (C201E) and the east building (C201B). At week’s end, only the chultun in C201B remained unfinished, in spite of a full day’s excavation on Saturday. However, the chultun saw the completed excavation of chamber 1, including the investigation of a niche that produced a complete Belize Red plate (minus feet). Chamber 2 continued to produce both bodies and vessels, including some fairly spectacular Late Classic material. On Saturday a Copador jar was recovered from the chultun and brought into the lab; it is a tradeware from the southeast Maya area (it is typical for Quirigua and Copan, but not Caracol). Diane drew 3 sections in Sonrisa and Lucas drew the east section (minus the chultun). Once the chultun excavation is finished, all that is left will be the chultun cross-sections and final plans (in Mo’s capable hands).
Vergonsoso (C204B) almost saw the completion of the excavation of its eastern building on Saturday. All week a crew had labored to get the building defined to bedrock and to excavate a burial located behind the front step. The burial, S.D. C204B-4, contained at least two individuals and five vessels. By Saturday, the area beneath the burial had been scraped to bedrock on the north side, but the south side produced a built-up feature that was plastered over a lower area of bedrock; this still remains to be excavated. Erin and Maura finished the burial at the same time that Diane drew the section for C204B.
The east building in Renegon refuses to be finished. For most of the week, Erin labored on finishing S.D. C203B-10 (front crypt burial), Rachael labored on completing S.D. C203B-14 (crypt under stairs in building core), and Lucas worked on S.D. C203B-16 (the Early Classic tomb in the rear of the building). By week’s end, all three had finished their deposits. However, a new crypt (S.D. C203B-20) was found beneath the lowest front step and intermediate to the two front crypts. Above the northernmost capstone for this new crypt were a series of nested Late Classic vessels (S.D. C203B-19). This crypt itself had been re-entered in the Late Classic, as indicated by a built up stone box (S.D. C203B-1) that was attached to the front step; this box must have served as a psychoduct for a bundled burial that had been placed directly below it into the crypt in an area with disturbed captstones. While much of this crypt was excavated during the week, but there is still more to do on this deposit. Lucas spent much of his time finishing the Early Classic tomb. Once excavation of the chamber was completed, a hidden niche was noted behind the east wall; this niche rested on a lower floor than the tomb and had to have been built during the construction of the tomb. After the stone that hid it was removed from the tomb wall, it was excavated and revealed an Early Classic cache (S.D. C203B-18). A lidded bowl held a miniature lidded barrel; within the miniature barrel were two Charlie Chaplin figures (1 shell and 1 stone, but both variants from our usual form) and a series of smaller beads and bones. The combination of a hidden cache behind a tomb wall is a first for Caracol. Lucas also finished the C203B section (with the exception of the S.D. C203B-20 deposit) and Lisa began drawing the south building section (C203C).
With luck we will finish excavations on Monday and begin backfilling.