Saturday, August 04, 2007

Is That a Structure?

So an executive decision was made this week. The system of trails was still not quite done come Monday morning, but we were quickly running out of mapping work to do, and frankly mapping in the trails was getting a little tedious. So we’ve jumped ahead and started with the clearing of the architecture. The way this will proceed is that each of the 100 meter by 100 meter squares created by the trail system will be checked systematically for architecture, any structures found will then be cleared, and finally mapped in.

This new phase of work has brought about the new latest craze in game shows called, “Is That a Structure?” As some of you already know, Yucatan is a very, very, flat place. Back in the good old Costayuc days, when we were looking for new sites, it was almost guaranteed that any little bump we saw when looking out the truck window must be a structure. But now that I’m going over a smaller area with a much finer toothed comb, it’s not quite as easy as all that. Across the landscape of Xtobo one routinely finds outcroppings of bedrock, which from 15 meters away, looking through dense vegetation, take on the appearance of a constructed building. Sometimes, when you get up close and personal with the phantom outline of a structure it becomes quickly obvious that you were fooled. Then there are those times when you look at it, look at it again, and then look at it yet again, and you still don’t know what it is. Dan and Scott coined the phrase “Potential Of Structure” for these regions, also known as P.O.S. And yes there is a second meaning for that acronym, but I’m not about to spell it out since my Mother reads this.

Despite these occasional difficulties with the “Is That a Structure?” game, it has been a very exciting week. During Costayuc we made a very basic map of the central buildings of Xtobo. Two years ago, I duplicated that map, but in a much more detailed fashion. A few new buildings and features came out during that season, but in large part the map of the site did not look very different. Now, for the first time in 5 years, we are really truly adding new buildings on to the map. The results so far are more than interesting. We shall see what it all looks like, but a strong pattern is emerging of each major building being oriented towards the central plaza. This may sound relatively obvious, but it is not a common form of organization for Maya sites. I’ll restrain myself from wild speculation for the time being, but it’s definitely enough to peak my interest!


Blogger Crorey said...

POS! I love it! That serves so much better than the "X-Files" we created for sites that we weren't sure were anything other than uprooted tree detritus...

Glad you are augmenting the site map. I'll look forward to seeing the results.


12:18 PM  

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