Saturday, December 4, 2010


My work here is winding down just as the excavations are getting ready to get bigger. I have about a week’s worth of analysis left to do and about 2 weeks in which to complete it, so things are looking good for my getting finished before I am scheduled to leave. Excavations here in Oconahua started on a small scale a few weeks ago, with four men excavating. Hopefully sometime soon the money for the project arrives from the government so that excavations can expand to include many more workers and some more archaeologists.

The site here is known as the Palacio de Ocomo (Ocomo Palace) and consists of four huge platforms arranged in a square with an open area (known as a plaza) inside the square. There are also smaller platforms and foundations found underneath the modern town and in the areas surrounding the town. This site is believed to be more recent than the sites in the area like Los Guachimontones, which used circular arrangements for their big important architecture instead of a square arrangement.
I am not really here to work on this site, but to do the ceramic analysis that I need for my dissertation. Since the house I am living and working in is built on one of the huge platforms, though, I get a chance to visit the excavations several times a day and to help out a bit when needed.

This week’s photos are of the work being done at the Palacio. One is of the workers excavating. They are working on the outer wall of one of the huge platforms. The part in the foreground was excavated and restored last year. It shows three levels of walls, which are thought to be three different versions of the platform. After some time of using the platform, a new outer wall would be built and the platform would be made a bit bigger. The distance from the base of the wall (which is underground) to the top of the dirt pile is about 25 feet, so it is a pretty big platform! The other photo is of a team that came this week to take some readings using a ground penetrating radar. This device sends a signal into the ground and records how it bounces back. Once the results are processed, they can show things like rock walls hidden under the dirt. The orange box is the part that sends (and I think also receives) the signals. The other part has a monitor on it and is connected to the orange box by cables. The operator can see the results that are coming from the radar while the readings are being taken.

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