We are over the hump in terms of the field season and some of the excavations are beginning to be closed. Excavation has been completed in both the Astro and Nasa residential groups and there is only some drawing left to do.
In Houston, Mo, Jordan, Reynaldo, and Carlos continued excavating in the two chambers under the building, drawing all the bone in place. Besides copious bone, in the easternmost chamber they recovered 22 flamingo-tongue shells, a spindle whorl, half of a small ceramic drum, and a small footed red bowl; in the westernmost chamber, there was a polychrome cylinder on the south end and what appears to be a black cylinder on the north end. One of the individuals in the eastern chamber had a jadeite inlay in one of the incisors (also notched). At the end of the week, they finally finished with the plan of the double, side-by-side chambers.
Apollo was also largely finished by the end of the week with bedrock being exposed in the front, the back and the center crypt. Shelby and Sander, with Flavio and Jorge, excavated the westernmost burial found last week and recovered a series of carved shell pieces immediately above the bedrock, including one that has a pisote incised on it. They also lifted the capstones for the front burial and excavated the chamber, recovering what appear to be two individuals associated with five ceramic vessels; both heads were to the south and the eastern individual was associated with a pair of carved shell earrings and another earring that has a star at the center; two jadeite beads, both with a single hematite inlay, were also recovered in the crypt. In the rear of eastern Apollo structure they recovered yet one more lip-to-lip cache deposit just south of the centerline.
Jupiter, a group approximately 100 m south of Nasa in the valley terraces, also had an areal excavation placed over its double eastern buildings. Areal clearing went on for most of the week with Luca and Edwin.
The final group investigated for the 2023 field season was Mars, which Adrian was digging with Jaime and Jorge. The eastern building in Mars had been looted in the rear and excavation showed that it penetrated the rear wall of an east-west tomb, but did not go any further (probably because they were looking for a north-south chamber). The tomb in the eastern building was excavated down to its crude floor, but only limited materials were recovered – some bone fragments, an obsidian lancet, and a human tooth with an inlay hole. There are two steps into the axial chamber on the building’s western side and the upper step is almost at the height of the humus (the western capstone would have been this high), so it may be that this tomb was open in antiquity for use by the group’s inhabitants. Excavation in the plaza in front of the eastern structure revealed a face cache on axis to the building and a complete skull set on axis in front of the building’s steps. One of the teeth in the skull had a hematite inlay. The skull also appears to rest on lajas. North of the east building in Mars is a smaller east building that is dominated by an open chamber running north-south; a potential stela was set on this building to the west of the chamber; excavation was started here, but not finished this week.
Both Diane and Adrian were present at Caracol this week for a filming event that took place on Wednesday with Jeff Glor of CBS Saturday Morning; they filmed us all day Wednesday for a production that may air as early as March 18, 2023. We were also visited by cousins from Ohio (Kevin and Holly Czachura) on Arlen’s side on Friday. Arlen took Diane out Friday night to the San Ignacio Hotel and then did shopping on Saturday morning on the way to taking Diane to the airport; after dropping her off for her flight to Houston, it was back to Caracol with supplies.