Tuesday, July 03, 2007


That’s right, believe it or not, but field work on the Xtobo project will officially begin this coming Monday morning. Its been a long time coming, but it will definitely be worth it.

This evening I attended the official town meeting in Ucu. It started off really well. When I arrived there were about 10 or so people waiting at the building where the meeting was to be held. This was far better than last week when there were only about 3 people there. So I greeted the Comesario Ejidal (the individual who oversees the use of town lands). He is someone who worked with me back in 2002 during the Costayuc project. Having a preexisting relationship with the current town official has helped a lot. I sat down with him and the other people who had gathered. I proceeded to explain to them what it was I wanted to do at Xtobo, and answered a few of their questions.

All was going really well, but they seemed to be waiting for something. It turns out this was just the warm up meeting. In all about 50 or 60 people showed up, at which point I was asked to speak to the whole group and explain what it was I wanted to do. Impromptu speeches in Spanish are always fun, but I had pretty well thought through what I wanted to say. For the sake of those more comfortable talking in Yucatec Maya, my speech was regiven in that language by one of the officials. After that everyone seemed to break off into individual discussion groups, pretty much all of which were going on in Yucatec as well. Most of the discussions seemed to be revolving around the issue of worker rotation. I have agreed to change work crews every two weeks. It will mean a little more work on my end, but it will distribute the work among all those in town that need it.

After individual discussion had worked its way through I faced some questioning from the people gathered. One gentleman was particularly concerned about my legal status, so I read my official government permission letter out loud. And another very fierce looking woman asked about what would happen to any valuable objects recovered. Despite my efforts to reassure her, she maintained her fierce expression.

Eventually a vote was called for and the yea’s carried the day. As I thanked them and prepared to leave, my fierce faced lady cracked a joke about the site maybe being famous one day, and her face broke into a smile more beautiful than I could have imagined her capable of given her earlier expression.

It was a night I will not soon forget.


Blogger ahtzib said...

Glad to see you will start working.

I've linked your blog on my archaeology blog (not the UFO one). I don't update it enough, though that might change as I've finally figured out what I should do with it.


2:56 AM  

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