Monday, 23 January 2012

The Maya Arise again on Preclassic Burns Avenue

So, pretty wild right? Finding cultural remains under Burns Avenue on a Sunday? Well, Sunday was just the appetizer, a trailer if you will, to the utter delight and amazement of more great finds today. It was not only a day of linking to the past, but a day where the community came together, to learn of the history of their town, to band together to help those in the hole, or to view with eager curiosity the spectacle that as exploded on the busiest street in town.

At 7am I was on the scene with Josue Ramos and Fernando Cruz. The guys from the ongoing tourism project were there with excavator in tow, to help us go down a some more to reach to the cultural level, making our jobs just so much easier. And after clearing back about 3 more meters of road, about 1.5 meters down, Josue's ever careful eyes spotted archaeology paydirt, which for us is human remains. Well, a part of it anyway. LOVE FM were on the scene early to interview and document the days events, which promised to be quite exciting. 
As this was Monday, the busiest street in town indeed grew quite busy, with spectators lining up the see the
events unfold, to gasp in awe and comment on the skeletal remains that were being uncovered, to speculate how long they thought they were there, and how this individual had met his end. And yes I say his, as Dr. Awe nicely pointed out, the robustness of the leg bones suggest the oddly positioned remains to be that of a man. And this individual did not travel alone into Xibalba, at least the heads of a deer and a peccary joined him in that voyage, as peccary teeth and an antler were found, much to our own excitement and amazement, and that of the lookers on. Eventually our very own bone expert Sherry Gibbs was on the site, in time to see the bones still in situ.

As the day progressed, everyone came out in force to help, from small children helping to screen backdirt, to Mr. Juan and the staff from Mayawalk helping with lights, sweeping the general area to help us with debris and even providing delicious food to fuel our working bodies. Flayvas was on the scene with rich caffeine filled beverages and even jumping in to pull buckets and screen dirt, and even Serendib Restaurant joining the assisting crew by providing much needed dinners to further workers after quite a long day. Did I mention that Nazim Juan and his son Aaron saw my red neck as a sign of sun exposure and quickly came to my aid with a tarp over us? People downtown today were just brimming with good ideas and good old fashioned neighborly help. Even Taylon Angelino, a tourist passing through, made sure to drop by and be our line level dude once more.

All in all, 3 simultaneous units were bring worked on, the previous unit being dug deeper by the students from Galen who were eager to jump in for this once in a lifetime change, the crew in the bone pit comprising of myself, Josue Ramos, Kim Ringland and Luisa Carillo, and April and Gonzo in one smaller unit, where by just scraping the surface they uncovered a beautiful obsidian blade fragment. All in all, today yielded human remains in a baffling position, an antler, long peccary tooth, obsidian fragments, conch shell fragment, and a beautiful partial Joventud red vessel with etches on it, which according to our very own Dr. Awe, possible dates the burial to as early as the Middle PreClassic. But as this partial vessel was associated with the burial, its possible this was a token for the dear departed. All we can certainly tell, is the no Classic vessel fragments were found, so this downtown site is definitely as early as the Late Preclassic. 

There was a lot going on today. There is not enough space on this blog to contain it all. I might forget a few things, but today we were very thankful to anyone who helped in anyway. This project is soon over, and the road will get back to normal. There is a bit more work to be done. But we can all agree that this is one of the most exciting moments in our town's history, and those of us there will always be glad we were part of it. And worry not, as they work progresses and new finds are found, I shall be here to keep everyone informed, about the wonder being uncovered in our little town. Right about now, some chamomile tea and some ibuprofen will help me sink into beautiful slumber, as tomorrow promises to be another glorious day. 


  1. Nice Job you guys and thumbs up to all those that fed and gave all the support for a job well done by the Institute of Archaeology

  2. Any updates on this? I'm from Cayo, and I walked on Burns Avenue all my life growing up in Cayo. I now live in Houston, Texas, which is why I burn for any and all information from Belize and especially from Cayo. Thanks, and good hunting.