Week 6 (March 5 – March 11)

This was a very complicated week in terms of comings and goings. Excavation continued all week, but was interrupted by a national municipal election in Belize, which meant that 7 men went out to vote on Tuesday evening and were gone for almost all of Wednesday. Besides the election, I drove to the airport and back on Tuesday to collect Adrian (who had been at a wedding in Half Moon Bay in California), Matthew Lachniet (UNLV geoscientist), and Elgin Litke (visitor). On Friday I also drove from Caracol to the airport and back to collect Diane, who had taken a red-eye from Las Vegas to Miami in order to get to Belize. On Sunday, I drove Matt and Elgin out to the Blue Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom so that Brian Woodye could get them to the airport that Monday; Monday is also the traditional Baron Bliss Holiday in Belize (although the whole weekend is taken as a holiday). The Sunday trip was a true driving experience, especially as all of us had to change a punctured tire on the Mountain Pine Ridge road and get it fixed in Roaring Creek before we could continue to Burrell Boom. Besides all this driving, I also transported people back and forth to both the Puchituk and Monterey walking paths all week so that work could be carried out.

In terms of excavations, on Monday we closed down excavations in the Cheech Residential Group. Amy drew the section and Roxayn finished pulling bone from a bedrock cist burial.

In Sage, excavation continued for most of the week on the south building so that Amy could draw the plan of the building. She finished most of the axial section and the summit building plan this week. Chan also had the section for the eastern building drawn by Amy mid-week and is now formally closed.

Excavation in the east building in Chak was closed from Monday through Wednesday because Adrian was not here and because of the municipal elections. However, excavation of this eastern building was completed on Friday with the removal of a crypt burial from behind the front balk; Adrian also drew the front part of the section for this building. The excavation of the chultun beneath a western building in Chak continued on Monday and was completed on Tuesday; the majority of a JGU hourglass censer was recovered from the innermost chamber of this chultun; one piece of human bone and partial vessels of late Early Classic date were also recovered. At week’s end, only Sage and Chak are still open, largely because of drawings that need to be done.

Matthew Lachniet came into the site on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he hiked into the Puchituk Plaza and systematically took matrix samples from this open and well-cleaned space (we had men cleaning the plaza again on Monday and Tuesday); his team on Wednesday consisted of Carlos, Irwin, Faydt, Roxayn, Gabriella, and Adrian. The sampling went well and he was finished by 2 PM. On Thursday, I took him to Monterey to sample that plaza; his team was Erwin, Gustavo, Faydt, and Gabriella; he was done in early afternoon. For the rest of his time at Caracol he toured the epicentral structures and pitched in by washing bone and helping in the lab. We also received a good lead on a potential cave to visit next year in the quest for a perfect speleothem.

On Saturday, everyone stayed in camp, doing various tasks (like numbering and starting a fire) that needed to be done in the morning. At noon the project celebrated Baron Bliss day with our traditional barbeque. On Sunday, we had no rest as it was a day of driving….


Amy drawing South Building in Sage



Carlos and Irvin inside the chultun inner chamber


Roxayn and Irvin in chultun entryway in Chak


Matthew Lachniet preparing to take matrix samples of Puchituk Plaza


Faydt, Roxayn, Gabriella, and Adrian laying out the grid for matrix samples in Puchituk Plaza


Carlos and Adrian with SD C214B-6 in the eastern building in Chak


Amy and Elgin working in lab at night

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