The early explorers, adventurers and archeologist believed that the ancient Maya were quiet people that lived in the forests, in harmony with their surroundings. Slowly, over time, they realized that these ancient people were actually people. They slashed and burned jungles to plant their corn. They hunted and domesticated wild animals like the wild turkey, great curassow and collared picary to be used as meat. They mined large open quarries and burned limestone for lime production so that they could later make mortar and plaster. Another trait they had was that they waged wars with each other.
There were many interesting presentations at the BAAS 2015 and, for me, the most captivating was the one delivered by Dr. Jason Yeger and their discovery of a shell goret at Buena Vista del Cayo. Made from marine shell, the species is still undetermined because of it was so heavily modified. It was likely worn and suspended from the neck, as indicated by two drilled holes. It also has a concave shape and is 13cm by 9cm, likely dating to AD 450. The disk has hieroglyphic text across the top half and an ancestral head profile looking downwards. The glyphs name the bearer of the goret as being Naah Uti’ K’ab and it was likely found within his grave.
The Belize Archeology and Anthropology Symposium gets under way at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel for the next four days. The special topic for Archeology is ‘Ancient Maya Domestic Economy, subsistence commerce and industry. If you can remember, last year’s topic was ‘The Common Household’, therefore this year’s topic follows as a parte dos or part two to last year. It is organized by NICH (National Institute of Culture and History) and by ISCR (Institute for Social and Cultural Research). As of last year, anthropology presentations have been evenly embedded throughout the four days.
For the past few weeks I have observed that excavations had started at the site of Cahal Pech, so today I had a chance to go and do Some investigations of my own. Cahal Pech has been heavily excavated for the past 60 years or so, but since 2011 excavations have unearthed large portions of the site that were covered with soil and trees, particularly the triadic winged temple located on the eastern side B1, B2 and B3. In 2011, we saw the restoration of B1 temple and it’s north wing, B2. In 2012 we then saw the restorations of B3 and the rear of B1, exposing the rear stairway, which was a surprise. In 2013, there were several investigations on plaza A. This project is being done under the BVAR flag. I marked areas that are currently being investigated click HERE FOR MAP.
The incident at the site at Nohmul is a disaster and must never occur again, but all has not been lost. The structure itself is far from being reparable or restored but can give us an insight of how the building was made. Archeologist can still research the profile, look for earlier buildings within and even study the foundation perform an autopsy so to speak. There are several medical museums in the U.S. where you can see the human anatomy, some people are cut entirely in half so that you can see the layers within the body. Maybe the site can be used to teach young archeology students. Many times we have the notion that buildings have an area of compacted soil but this building says otherwise Excuse my crude drawing ^_^ if you look closely you can see the building has bricks throughout.
TERRA 541: Ceiba: Nature and the Maya Creation
This is the narrative of the Maya creation story and it follows the descent of the hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque to the underworld. Taken from the Popol Vuh, “Book of the People” found in the 18th century by friar Francisco Ximénez in the Guatemalan highlands. This documentary features archeological destinations like Caracol, Lamanai, Xunantunich a wide variety of wild animals and jungle scenes. It is narrated by Elfego Panti and special appearances by Dr. Jaime Awe.