Week 2 (Feb 8-14, 2010)

Week 2 was incredibly busy at the site. Excavations continued in the Northeast Acropolis with an augmented workforce of additional men that came in this week. The 2 m by 2 m test in the center of the Northeast Acropolis plaza is now over 2 m down and on the surface of the next plaza floor. The remaining unexcavated section of the front room of the palace on the summit of Str. B33 is in the process of being cleared and the dirt is being used to backfill last year’s axial trench. Thus far, one new cylinder (complete) and pieces of another cylinder (found last year) and burner (found last year) have been found on the floor in this section of the room. The alley between Str. B32 and B33 is also in the process of being cleared and Maureen has started two excavations that are defining this platform base, working towards the central stair for Str. B33. In Vista, multiple special deposits were recovered. In Str. F39 (eastern building in Vista Bajo), the axial trench exposed a circular burial pit in the rear of the building. The single individual in this crypt was accompanied by a chert eccentric (measuring 21 cm by 14.5 cm), by a large incurved redware bowl, and by 128 oliva shells (at last count – with more still to come). The areal excavation of Structure F41 and its western alley was completed and will be drawn next week. Excavations in Structure F36 are exposing a very well preserved stone building with a frontal balk. Digging through the plaza floor in front of this balk revealed a lip-to-lip “finger” cache (no fingers, however) and a largely complete pyrite mirror on a ceramic backing that was sitting on a dry core boulder (sealed below the latest floor). Most of the special deposits from Vista, however, came from the excavations into Structure F33 (eastern building in Vista Alto). At the beginning of the week, we finished excavating the burial that was intruded into the earlier summit floor for Structure F33. The censerware that was recovered from within the fill over this interment are still being worked on; pieces to some half dozen Late Classic flanged censers (all with open bases) are represented; most are missing what would have been their front faces. To the west of this burial – and sealed beneath the floor into which the burial was intruded – was a lidded barrel cache that contained a few unworked shells, several “charlie chaplains,” jadeite and shell beads, carved shell pieces, and a pearl; the lid was decorated with an animal (head missing) functioning as its handle; it is similar to a cache found in Str. D1 a few seasons ago and dated to the Early Classic Period. At the base of Str. F33, a total of 3 new caches were found this week; two of them are face caches (one directly on bedrock in the western end of the excavation and the other in front of a step) and the third appears to have been a decorated lid over a bowl (a tree root ran through this deposit). Needless to say, we are already behind in processing materials in the lab, but this is a good position to be in at this point in the season.

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