Update 4

It has been a fast-paced week. We are continuing to clear and cut into all of the excavations and are beginning to find burials and caches in many of them.  Most of the structures in Culebras only have cut stones in the lower first step, summit, and back facing. The northern structure in Culebras (C179G) is starting to make a bit more sense; there is a small bench visible at the top of the building and at least 3 different building phases in the front.  The majority of the Culebras substructures are made up of large pieces of uncut hard limestone, called “firestone” in Belize. In contrast to Culebras, the western and northernmost excavations in Palmitas both have well preserved architecture with finely cut stone.

The first find of the week was the eccentric chert and obsidian cache from Culebras Op C179D.  This cache is very impressive, especially given the small and unimposing structure it came from. While the drawings are done, we still have more recording on this deposit.  And, we have yet to open up the spondylus shells…

There are human remains in four of the buildings at Culebras (two eastern structures, one central structure, and one western structure).  A single skull was centrally located in Culebras C179B; it is unclear precisely when the skull was removed from the body, although it was only accompanied by one cervical vertebra, suggesting that the skull was removed prior to the complete decomposition of the body.  There are other capstones visible in this excavation, indicating that additional interments will be recovered in this structure; we are currently excavating a crypt burial that was located half a meter below where the isolated skull was found.

Excavations in the central low-lying stone platform excavation in Culebras (C179E) have also revealed a burial.  This burial is prompting much discussion given that it was not well covered –

  it is barely below the surface.

 We are finally ready to start drawing the crypt in front of the east structure in Palmitas (C180B).  There are several individuals and over 14 vessels inside this very, very narrow crypt.  There is a lot left to do in the field and in the lab!  We are curious as to what this week will bring…



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