Week 5 (February 19 – 25)

The week started out rainy and damp because of a heavy rainfall on Sunday, but then each day was bright and sunny. The end of the week saw the full moon light up our camp in the middle of the night.

On Tuesday and Thursday, we had approximately 150 tour guides back here (split between the two days) for training on Caracol archaeology. Because of how bright it was, we had difficulty in darkening the kitchen so that slides could be seen, but eventually bracketed a viewing area with wall-to-wall tarps so that the images could be discerned on the screen. Arlen used these slides to provide an illustrated talk on the archaeology of Caracol and answered any questions that were raised. After lunch, Adrian walked each group down the Conchita Causeway to see our current excavations and to answer other questions. We thank Jorge De Leon, the president of the Cayo Tourist Association, for organizing these two days and for providing us with seasoned chicken for an excellent barbeque on Tuesday.

Apart from the influx of tour guides, excavations continued each day in the field. Maple and Vanilla saw excavation almost to their conclusion this week. Each group still has burials to be drawn and finished. In Vanilla, excavation on the north building ceased, but were continued in the eastern building. The central crypt burial in the Vanilla eastern building was almost finished; it has produced some shell artifacts as well as inlaid teeth (minus the inlays, but one hematite one was recovered). Another deeply buried and disturbed interment was recovered in the eastern extent of this trench and also needs to be finished. In Maple, the plaza trench was completely excavated to bedrock, producing three interments directly on the bedrock; one of these interments was associated with a jadeite and a hematite bead in addition to the shell beads found last week. The crypt in the front of the eastern building at Maple was also excavated, revealing multiple individuals, one of whom had upper incisors that were inlaid with jadeite. A plan was also made of the northern building in Maple.

The Coffee residential group north of Maple at a lower elevation in the valley was also opened (in terms of excavations) this week. Each of the three buildings in this group will be axially trenched. By week’s end, the humus was cleared within the trenches into all three buildings. Three distinct deposits of face caches were uncovered west of the front step for the eastern building; all were buried within the latest floor and were in very broken condition. Stylistically, they are later than those recovered in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Maple. One face cache was accompanied by a finger bowl cache that contained a human digit.

AF Chase making presentation to Cayo Tour Guide Association
Cayo Tour Guide Association visiting excavations in Coffee residential group
Carlos excavating the front crypt in Vanilla residential group
Gabriela working in rear of east trench in Vanilla residential group
Plaza trench in Maple residential group looking east over exposed bedrock (Sonia and Edwin in background)
Sonia excavating interment in front of east structure in Maple residential group
General view of Coffee residential group looking east with Declan, Jorge, and Reynaldo in the foreground (Rumari, Gina, and Adrian in background)
Adrian, Gina, Jerry, and Saul at eastern building in Coffee residential group
Face caches still in the ground west of the front step of the eastern building in the Coffee residential group
Rumari on the summit of the north building in the Coffee residential group (Abner and Jorge in the background)

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