Thursday, June 28, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

Hey guys, my dig is over but the memories live on. How about a site tour of Nojol Nah, the site that I've been working away at for the last two weeks?

Here is the jungle road, back of pickup truck view. We go through a pasture each day on a dirt road in the back of a 4 wheel drive pickup (yes, Top Gear fans, it's a toyota hilux). We have to make two trips on the last leg of the trip because only one of the trucks can make the journey without getting mired in the mud.

Then, it's a twenty minute trek through the jungle, with howler monkeys screaming at us and mosquitos taking their blood sacrifice. If you have never heard a howler monkey scream, it's terrifying, like a T Rex. They actually used recordings of howlers for sound effects in Jurassic Park.

Here is the large hole in the ground that I helped excavate for part of my first week. There is a lot of work to be done on this building, which will mostly be done next summer. It didn't help that we discovered a wall that keeps on going into the uncleared jungle...yikes. We think this building is residential, most likely the residence of someone with status as it is so large.

But man, look how beautiful that curved wall is.
Rain protection!
Here is the big find of my session, a termination deposit with broken pottery (clustered together so it looked like entire pots had been broken), obsidian blades, and beautiful intact bifaces (flintknapped knives that have been worked on both sides, or faces).

Here is some Nojol Nah pottery, all cleaned up. The crew chief feels it is unlikely that these sherds piece together to form whole pots, based on finds elsewhere.
Here is pottery cleaning in action. We also got to clean bones, but personal photos would have been disrespectful.

Here is a very unsexy photo of me helping to map the termination deposit.
And here is a very sexy photo of my roommate using a machete.

We affectionately started calling Nojol Nah by a new name when a couple of crew members quit the program (through no fault of our crew chief) and others started getting sick. My chief suggested "Nojol? Nah." But we ended up going with "No. Hell no."

And, although I will never be one of those kool-aid drinkers who claims that this dig was the best thing that ever happened to her, I will say that it was a great experience, and that I learned a lot about the operations of a real archaeological dig and how to shovel dirt and love it. For reals.



  1. Those pictures kind of made me drool a little bit with envy. Maybe I'm just deluded with the romanticism of it all, but archaeology seems really fucking nifty.

  2. this is amazing! i adore archaeology and really wish i pursued this while in school! i envy you as well and will live vicariously through you on your adventure-can't wait to hear more about it! thanks for sharing :)



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