20 July 2008

"Watchtower" excavations

This past week, my team and I worked at a site that I helped find last year that we tentatively labeled an Inka watchtower. It had a couple associated walls of Inka construction and a platform at the top. So Monday morning we hiked on up there with our tools and laid out 3 units, each 1x2 meters, arranged in a checker pattern. This allowed us to see a 6-meter-long profile and a 2-meter-wide profile with half the work. Yeah, I know, we're brilliant.

The thing is, in the entire week we found 4 artifacts. Two fairly nice pieces of obsidian, and two most likely modern bones near the top. That was it. Obviously that says something about the nature of the site, but for students itching to dig up amazing Inka artifacts like bright golden llamas or battle gear it was a bit of a disappointment. After our frustration with the site mounted each day, a survey team from the project working the valley below came up and found a complimentary wall on the other side of the ravine on which our site sits. The mountain used to be a huge source of water for the folks below, with water careening down its face during rainy times. One possibility of what this structure was could be a water control device to control that potentially destructive force. The way the walls below the platform where we were excavating are set up could have been a small canal, too, which would mean that the structure not only partially dammed the rushing water, but also channeled it to somewhere more desireable. The other possibility is that we just didn't go down far enough... but whatever. If they want to investigate further, they can recruit another team for it.

I guess what all that means is that we were at what is likely a valuable site, but it was disappointing for students on their first dig to find nothing totally awesome to keep them motivated. But that's okay, we finished our work by Friday and now get to go somewhere better.

Otherwise, I spent this week living at the Hacienda, where our lab is and our tools and all that. It's super swanky, and there are hot showers with water pressure and dear lord is that amazing. These showers are better than mine back home! It's ridiculous! The staff is taking week-long shifts down here, and mine is up tonight so it's back to Cangahua, the casa comunal, and showers of ice. But that's okay, I like it better up there in general. I like being in a town around Ecuadorian as opposed to an isolated hotel with other groups of gringos and Europeans.

This keyboard is sticky, and very tiring to type on. I guess that's most of the news I have at this point, so I'll cut this off here and return when I have more to say.

Keep me updated with any recent news from back home... McCain and Romney? Did I hear correctly?


Leta said...

Found any interesting artifacts yet?

Also, I hope you're still alive. Are you still alive?

adayag said...

fuckkk mccain. and dare i say it? fuck obamaaaaa. when do you come home? i wait with baited breath.

Comrade Kat said...

I second both comments!