Update 6

We had our traditional Baron Bliss Day barbeque today.  We had grilled chicken cooked over a zapote wood fire with tortillas, potato salad, our special spicy barbeque sauce, and brownies for desert.  It was a nice break from our usual routine.

This week started off with contrasts in the weather.  We had two days of dry weather – Monday was hot and humid – but the rest of the week has been cloudy with rain on and off.  On Tuesday the generator failed.  There was not enough light for lab work in the evenings, so the students had the evenings “free.”  Without the hum of the generator it was quiet in camp and meant that most turned in early.  Arlen and I did computer work and satellite uplinks using a combination of car battery power and kerosene lamp light.  Luckily, we received a “loaner” generator on Thursday evening before dinner and were able to get back on schedule Thursday night with washing artifacts.

In spite of the weather and generator, we have accomplished most of our targeted tasks for the week.  All but one of the excavations has been completed and closed for the season.  All field drawings have been checked and lot diagrams have been done.  Only field work in the “never-ending burial” in the Palmitas group continues.  Thus far this small chamber has encountered over 30 reconstructable ceramic vessels and the remains of at least 10 people.

As of Sunday morning, all of the artifacts in from the field have been washed.  However, we still have much of the basic processing left to do – numbering, cataloguing, photographing, reconstructing, and analyzing.  Some interesting discoveries will still be made during this phase of laboratory work.   For instance, today we discovered that the C179E burial contained the postcranial remains of one individual and the skull and teeth of another.

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