The week is not yet over, but we are out in San Ignacio to take Diane to the airport tomorrow and to pick up meat and some supplies. Since the satellite dish has not yet been connected at Caracol, this is a good opportunity to post a shortened blog.
The trip into Caracol from the Belize City airport with Diane, Mayra, and Shei on Saturday afternoon was eventful. About half an hour out of Caracol camp, the Mahindra stalled out; when restarted, it started knocking slightly and then grew a bit louder until we turned the vehicle off and coasted to the side of the road. Luckily, Diane had brought the Garman with her and was able to text to Belmopan that we were stuck in Pine Ridge north of the Guacamallo Bridge and also to Elyse in California, asking her to double-check with Belmopan. We received an affirmative answer from Elyse that help was on the way. Indeed, about an hour later, the red Toyota truck from Caracol rounded the curve. We transferred everything into the truck, locked up the Mahindra, and drove back to Caracol where we had a late dinner. Brian and Dave arrived at Caracol just after 10 PM, ate, and then went to deal with the Mahindra. On Sunday, they loaded the Mahindra onto a flatbed and took it to Belmopan for repair.
On Monday, we began the excavations in earnest in three groups. These were nick-named King, Queen, and Jack. Mayra started in King, Shei in Queen, and Gabriella in Jack; Melissa and Mo rotated among the excavations depending on where they were needed. The red truck did double runs bringing the team back and forth between camp and our path into the jungle (since the groups are 3 km distant from camp) until Tuesday when we got a rental replacement Mahindra to drive until the other one is fixed. Tuesday also revealed an unusual find in Queen – a single glyph from a slate monument that would have originally been in the site core; this slate fragment was in the summit fill of the east structure. The glyph is a clear 9 Lamat, which is a day-sign date that appears on Stela 3 associated with A.D. 584. It seems to be the second reference to an event witnessed by Batz Ek at the site. This is the second slate stela fragment from the site core found within a residential group at Caracol, indicating that, even though broken, these monument fragments were still ritually important. Wednesday saw a morning review of the excavations and then a trip out to pick up needed items in Spanish Lookout and Santa Elena, as well as to make advance orders for the protein contents of the coolers to be filled in on the way to the airport in the early morning on Thursday. The satellite dish connection at Caracol is supposed to be up and running at the site in the afternoon. Hopefully, the trip back to the site from the airport also will be in time to help pick up the excavation crew just before 4 PM.