Week 4 (February 15 – February 21, 2015)

In general, the weather at Caracol has been cloudy and overcast for most of the week and the nights have been “cold,” but nowhere near the cold weather that the U.S. east coast – and even Orlando, Florida where it was 30 degrees – has been experiencing.

At Caracol, moral is high and the excavations are all going well.

In Ultimo (C49D), Rachael and Angelica finished excavating the human remains that had been placed on bedrock at the base of the finely built stone crypt in the front of the excavation; they spent most of this week working on the interment directly in front of the step that has now produced several vessels, including an Early Classic basal flange bowl. Carlos and Nelson have continued the excavation of the building summit and interior. On the summit, what appeared to be an infilled tomb turned into naught; however, a large cavity was detected in the core stones in the middle of the building that translated into a tomb with excellent interior stonework. The floor of this chamber had been dug into bedrock and then the stone sides tapered slightly inward to where there was a course of large stones serving as a small vault with massive capstones across the top. A formal entryway with steps is evident in the north side of this chamber and another huge slab blocks this entryway and leans against the northernmost capstone. A formal floor was constructed immediately above this chamber. We are ready to begin excavating this chamber next week.

In the Northeast Acropolis (C205B), Maureen and her crew of George, Shane, Jaime, and Asterio continue to find cache deposit after cache deposit placed through the first, and now second, floor. They are almost up to a dozen of these special deposits and some of them are replete with “cache dirt” consisting of jadeite/malachite chips combined with spondylus chips and occasional pieces of pyrite. Obsidian eccentrics have also been recovered in association with finger bowl caches. One larger cache vessel had more than 15 human finger digits within it.

The long western building on the side of Caana (C208) continues to be excavated with a third excavation unit following the eastern wall. This is the purview of Max, Nick, Sarah, Sam, Minel, and Javier. They are likely excavating in the area of the structure entryway and the wall that they were following is missing for a 3 m long stretch of this excavation.

In the A37 Platform (C207), a second 6 m long trench was excavated 1.6 m down to the earlier floor this week by Eric, Lily, Saul, and Keny. The western end of this second excavation encountered the same buried structure that was found in the first trench, meaning that this building is over 11 m in length. With luck, we will locate the southern front corner of this building next week. A 3 m long western extension on the original trench was also dug this week and succeeded in finding a plastered floor associated with the summit of the earlier building.

In the Central Acropolis (C206), Mark and Rob opened up a second 2 m by 2 m excavation unit south of the Structure A37 stairway and found a buried plaza floor a little over a meter down. Also this week, we removed the lajas that were blocking access to the tomb discovered in the southwest corner of the original excavation into the plaza. This is truly a huge chamber which has an entry stairway on its northern side and a huge bench occupying its eastern side. The excavation of this chamber will begin next week.

All-in-all, a very busy week that has produced the kinds of archaeological remains that we had hoped to find.

Rachael in the front crypt of Ultimo looking at the second burial in front of the structure step

Rachael in the front crypt of Ultimo looking at the second burial in front of the structure step

The new Ultimo tomb looking north at its blocked doorway

The new Ultimo tomb looking north at its blocked doorway

Maureen in the Northeast Acropolis deep trench with the pitted floors (looking east)

Maureen in the Northeast Acropolis deep trench with the pitted floors (looking east)

Carved bone pin from fill above buried Notheast Acropolis fill

Carved bone pin from fill above buried Notheast Acropolis fill

Obsidian eccentric in the shape of a scorpion from one of the caches intruded into the Northeast Acropolis floors

Obsidian eccentric in the shape of a scorpion from one of the caches intruded into the Northeast Acropolis floors

Excavation of front half of the western building to the side of Caana

Excavation of front half of the western building to the side of Caana

The second trench into the A37 Platform showing the buried earlier building at its western end

The second trench into the A37 Platform showing the buried earlier building at its western end

Mark and Rob looking at Maureen, who is sitting in the entryway to the new tomb in the Central Acropolis

Mark and Rob looking at Maureen, who is sitting in the entryway to the new tomb in the Central Acropolis

 

2 Responses to “Week 4 (February 15 – February 21, 2015)

  • I’m just amazed at the work being completed. These are deep and long digs and I was wondering if there is ever a concern about the side walls crumbling. The artifacts you’ve found are quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Glad to see Maureen Carpenter digging.
    Please ask her to call her husband when she emerges from her hole.

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