Week 3 (February 14-20)

            This was a full-week of excavation with no rain or interruptions. 

             In Baja Vista, Operation C184G, the excavation through the smaller eastern building was completed.  Bedrock was exposed for the entire length of the trench.  Although some architectural facings and floors were encountered, no formal deposits were recovered. 

            In Alta Vista, the southern building, Structure F34, saw the excavation of the north-south crypt that was located within the summit fill.  This crypt had been dug through an earlier floor.  Three vessels and at least one body with head to the south were recovered from this interment; however, other teeth were located at the north end of crypt, possibly indicating at least the partial remains of another individual.  By week’s end, the floor on which the crypt was bedded, was dug through, revealing fill sherds dating to the early part of the Early Classic Period.  An earlier plaza floor was also followed into the core of the structure to a point where it abutted a deeply buried facing.  In Structure F35, the western building, the summit was penetrated to a depth of some 1.7 meters below ground surface, revealing a plaster floor which ran the length of the trench, but which appeared to abut fill stones on its western side.  Twenty centimeters below this floor, another very hard plaster floor was encountered; its southwest and southeast edges appear to end in cuts that were sealed by the upper floor.  We will penetrate this floor next week. 

            In Chalpat, continued excavation in Structure F9, the northern building, removed a floor that ran throughout the building summit and revealed a host of architectural features, including 2 parallel lines of stone running north-south.  The easternmost line was bedded on a lower floor and appears to have been a construction wall.  The westernmost line was made of nicely cut limestone blocks that were meant to be seen from the east.  On its south side, this facing overlay an earlier step running east-west.  In Structure F11, the eastern building, the summit was lowered, leading to the discovery of a series of capstones (very long and narrow) that seal an open-air crypt toward the front of the building.  In the northwest corner of the excavation, the burial encountered last week was excavated; by the end of this week, it had yielded 3 skulls.  On Saturday, excavation was begun in the western building in Chalpat, Structure F14, and immediately yielded a Terminal Classic whistle in the shape of a human body but with a missing head. 

            In Ramon, the trench through the eastern building, Structure F24, continued.  At the beginning of the week, cleaning the sides of the looter’s trench yielded a cache of two pairs of lip-to-lip vessel set directly on bedrock; both pairs of vessels held the remains of one or more human fingers.  Encountering this cache led to continued excavation in the plaza in front of the structure.  By week’s end, this frontal excavation was down to bedrock and had encountered two more special deposits.  The first was a large flaring-lip bowl set directly on bedrock and capped with a purposefully rounded piece of limestone.  The bowl appears to be eroded Iguana Creek White, which would make this a Preclassic cache.  The second deposit consisted of a burial seated with legs extended in a bedrock pit; the upper portions of this burial appear to have been disturbed and pieces of at least 1 vessel were encountered in the immediate vicinity of the burial.  Finally, at week’s end, excavation at the summit of the building also recovered what appeared to be a bundled disarticulated burial that had been placed directly into fill. 

            In Structure A1, excavation continued – down.  The entire trench was lowered some 2.5 meters to the depth of the deeper floor that was encountered last week.  The northern end of the trench was also extended when the lower floor was followed out the front of the building.  This floor did not articulate with any steps.  On Saturday, we excavated through the lower floor, finding that the fills both above and below the floor were quite similar; both consisted of essentially dry-core fill with large boulders piled one-on-top-of-the-other with a little orange marl thrown in for good measure.  It is not clear whether or not it will be possible to go much deeper into this structure. 

            Immediately at noon on Saturday, when our week’s excavations were done, it began raining and a new weather front was clearly coming into the Caracol area. 

Structure A1: looking north in Operation C187B

Structure F9: looking south in Operation C186C

Structure F11: northwest burial

Structure F11: central capstones

Structure F24: finger caches on bedrock

Structure F24: Preclassic cache and cover stone

Structure F34: Crypt looking south

Structure F35: fourth floor beneath ground surface

Reviewing the drawings of Operation C184G

Structure F38: bedrock on centerline


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