14 September 2009

Still alive

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. I'm still here, alive and well. We haven't been doing too much of interest lately. We finished our work on the part of Campana PucarĂ¡ owned by Pambamarca, completing our shovel test pits and opening two units. Matt's unit had nearly 100 pieces of ceramics, along with some carbon remains. Mine had many more artifacts. Turned up somewhere around 370 pieces of ceramic, with two and a half spindle whorls (used in thread-making) and what seems to be a ceramic mold for making... something. Pottery? Who knows. I also had an obsidian core (used to break off pieces of obsidian for tools) and almost 140 sling stones, which were used as weapons. I haven't heard of many (if any) concentrations of sling stones that large before, and I was extremely excited. These finds point to the area where I placed my unit being a place of production of various kinds, or at the very least an area for refuse. Some of the sling stones were perfect, entirely or nearly entirely spherical and smooth and aerodynamic, while others were more rough and blocky. I'm thinking that maybe this was an area where they refined the stones to make them better for fighting, but I'm not completely sure yet. Anyway, very successful unit. I have good luck with these things.

Other than that, Tina came in last week. She just graduated from UIC and is a friend of Matt's and is here to help us out for a month or so. She's also an archaeologist and she seems excited to be in the Andes. It's nice to have a fresh face around here.

Other than that, I really don't think there's much to report. I'm getting these awesome rubber boots from the shoe store down the block to prepare myself for the approaching rainy season, and they'll also be great for the snow when I get back to Chicago. The locals have been warning us about the rainy season for the past month or so, they say it should start any day now. The way they initially described it made me think that it would basically be constant monsoons for a month or two, but further questions showed that it tends to rain more in the afternoon and evening than the morning, so we should still be able to get a good amount of work done. Speaking of weather, last weekend was one of the windiest I've ever experienced. The problem here, though, is that when it's extremely windy the power goes out. From last Friday at 11 am until that Sunday evening around 6:30 or 7, we had 14 hours of electricity. We ate a lot of meat that weekend.

Oh, that's right! Last weekend I went with Ave to Otavalo for their Fiesta de Yamor. Yamor is this delicious chicha (fermented corn drink) they make specially for that festival. We stayed at Sr. Males' house, he's the pater familias of the folks who rent us our apartment in Cangahua. They're from Otavalo, the market town up north, so they also have a comfortable house there. There was a parade with really cool floats and dancers from all different parts of the country (the ladies from the Amazon had some great looking outfits, though they must have been freezing), including some groups from Bolivia, Colombia and PerĂº, and it was really neat. I ate possibly dangerous street food (dangerous in terms of health for those not used to local fare, e.g. gringos) and emerged victorious, satisfied and healthy. Matt and I are claiming Ecuadorianness because of our newfound iron stomachs and my improving negotiation skills with market shopping.

Well, I think that's about all I have to say. It's comfortable here, but I'm definitely starting to miss home. But 3 months from tomorrow I'll be back there in the freezing ass Chicago winter, so I guess I'd better appreciate what I have here before it's over! Anyway, I hope all's well where you are and to hear from you soon. Keep me posted on important news happening over there.