Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Do Bite My Thumb at Thee

Another week has come and gone at Xtobo. This week was disrupted by the aforementioned Hurricane Dean. The inhabitants of Mérida collectively bit their thumbs at Dean, or other wise told him just what they thought of him. The result was a day of gusty winds, with virtually no rain. I would like to thank all of you for your well wishes during the storm, but we were lucky enough to have no real problems. The site of Xtobo faired equally well, with just a few tree limbs broken off here and there. Unfortunately other areas of the peninsula did not fair so well. Please send your best wishes to the inhabitants of southern Quintana Roo.

A further thumb in the eye of Mean Dean was the progress that was made at the site this week. Despite missing a day of field work, more grid squares were cleared and mapped this week than any previous (That’s right Scott and Dan, you knew it would happen). To be fair though, the speed of progress has more to do with the fact that we are now starting to move into the peripheral regions of the site. Thus there are fewer structures in general, and those that are there tend to be smaller. In essence we have moved away from the ritzy homes of the political elite, and out to the neighborhoods of the less influential. These structures, however, are if anything more important to developing a full understanding of how the site functioned as a living community.

Archaeology has long struggled with an excessive focus on the rich and powerful inhabitants of humanity’s past. When I tell people just what it is I do, the more informed conversationalist will frequently ask questions about pyramids, palaces, and royal tombs, the some what less informed person just asks about gold. But no society is made up of solely the rich and powerful, and no society could truly survive and function without the lower classes. The goal of my study at Xtobo is to understand how the people who once called the site home functioned as a society. This means an understanding of population at all levels. Thus, from now on we will not be pyramid hunters, but hunters of the humble abode.


Blogger Cloro said...

The lowly inhabitants, blah, blah. Hoi polloi, hoi-hum. Non-elite, blah, blah.

How about center trenching that triadic group? THAT I'd get fired up about!

Before you get all up in arms, look carefully at the size of the structures I excavated at Trinidad. Sad what you can afford on a grad student salary...

2:18 PM  

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