February 12, 2007
Amy and Andy arrived on Saturday the 3rd of February. They had adjusted to the field by the end of Sunday. Excavations were laid out on Monday the 5th of February and started the next day. Allison, Nelisa, and Sean arrived on Tuesday the 6th. After their initial site tour and orientation, they are now used to camp life and being in the field.
Excavations are well underway. We found our first Special Deposit of the season, after less than one full day of digging; it was a face cache in Structure I5 that was associated with 8 eccentric flints arranged around large green-colored piece of quartzite. In the middle of excavations, we have seen the BDF (Belize Defense Force) on a daily basis; they are patrolling the area around Caracol in search of illegal occupants within the Archaeological Reserve.
There are two locales that are seeing excavation at this point in time: the first is in front of Structures B1 and A16 (in the epicenter); the second is in the I Group (immediately northwest of Caana). Our research design calls for us to find the latest occupation remains in the epicenter. Thus, we are looking for a monument and refuse in front of B1/A16 and for any Terminal Classic Period (ca. AD 800) refuse in the I Group that would help to inform us about what happened at Caracol at the time of the Classic Maya Collapse.
Structures B1 and A16 are very similar in form to the previously excavated Structures B5 and B6 located on the south side of the main B Plaza in front of Caana. It is hoped that there will be Terminal Classic debris in association with Structure A16 and a carved monument in association with Structure B1. A giant Ahau altar was found to the east side of Structure B1 by Linton Satterthwaite in the 1950’s; it is still there. As there are several Terminal Classic monuments in front of Strs. B4-B6, it is likely that other monuments are also located in front of Structure B1. Thus far, humus has been removed in two large areal clearings. We have exposed collapsed stone from the building, but as yet have not found building walls or stairs. We should be reaching architecture here later on this week (unless Structure B1 does not follow the Structure B5 pattern).
The I Group is located just outside of the epicenter. Our excavations in this group are designed to ascertain how far outside the epicenter the Terminal Classic “Palace ceramic assemblage” extends. In terms of surface remains, the I2 group appears to be an elite residential group. The north building (Structure I2) has Terminal Classic ceramics over its frontal stairs and is about 6 meters in height; a substantial amount of cut stone is evident on its surface. A building consisting of well defined walls and facings of cut stone constitutes the western flank structure (I1) for the northern pyramid. The eastern building, Structure I5, has very poorly preserved architecture, but did produced a ceramic face cache with eccentric obsidians during the first full day of excavation. Excavations on the south building (Structure I7) have only scratched the surface. While there was an intent to excavated the western building (Structure I8), a huge tree on this edifice will preclude research. Camp is functioning well, although the normal mode of internet connection is still not up and running. While this is a blessing in disguise, it does make communication more difficult.