|Andres, touching-up a cal application on the monumental staircase|
|Kirk Straight mixing cal with Alfonso, the project stone mason|
In retrospect, this was the first time I'd been on board from the outset of a new excavation, and out of all the invaluable lessons learned (including the fun stuff, like building screens from scratch and having first pick of sleeping quarters, to the not so fun stuff, like the ever mercurial permit process), undeniably the most important, from a personal point-of-view, was adaptation. For an anthropologist, this might seem like a given. After all, Darwin's elegant but simple theory is what continues to give a great deal of our discipline meaning. But for the non-biological, intra-generational realm, otherwise known as the day-to-day, it's equally fundamental. Moving from Middle Eastern to Mesoamerican archaeology requires a willingness to adapt, to let go of previous held notions or ideas of how things work or should work, and, along with the physical landscape, to change one's mental geography. I'm fortunate to have experienced this now rather than later. And if I'm certain about anything, it's that anthropology, like no other discipline, breaks down barriers, jolts the proverbial Weltanschauung, and bestows a profound degree of open-mindedness in our professional and personal lives.
|Eduardo and Andres, sectioning the felled tree|
From an archaeological perspective, the apt lesson, stated by Kirk French, was that the first and most important goal of excavation is not learning what something means, but how it works. All that ideational jazz will follow. Fortunately, outlining basic mechanics is exactly what these past months accomplished. Having discovered a number of drains that connected the pool to the aqueduct, we can now begin to understand its function, both independently of, as well as in relation to, other hydrological features in the Picota Group. And because of the alignment and interconnection of those drains, we can also say, without hesitation, that the pool's construction was contemporaneous to that of the aqueduct's, and was also likely to have occurred early in the site's developmental sequence.
|Cal getting carried by tumpline to the site|