Wednesday, March 28, 2007

34 bags of sherds

34 bags of potsherds. 87.2 kilos, 10,373 individual sherds. These ceramics came out of a single excavated level behind the house in unit 307. Although we haven’t calculated the density yet, this batch surely sets a new record for my fieldwork in Mexico for the amount and density of artifacts from a single deposit. This was an especially rich midden contained in a pit excavated into the sterile clay that underlay the house and the terrace it sat on. Unit 307 was excavated by Jeff Sahagun (ASU) and Marieke Joel of Berlin. In the photo Marieke shows 31 of the 34 ceramic bags.

This deposit is one of the most important we have excavated so far, not only because of its artifact density. The pit contains a stratified deposit with an apparent Middle Postclassic layer at the base, then a Late Postclassic layer (the 34 bags plus a couple of other levels), and finally a layer with Spanish colonial artifacts at the top. The development of a Postclassic chronology is one of the major goals of the excavation, and this deposit has our best stratigraphic sequence to date. We have many deposits with Late Postclassic ceramics, but very few with clear Middle Postclassic materials. The colonial levels at the top are interesting—they contain almost exclusively Late Postclassic ceramics (plus only a couple of sherds of glazed earthenware), with several ceramic figurines that depict Spaniards. This house was apparently occupied from Postclassic times into the Spanish colonial period, but the occupants only added a few colonial objects.

The remains of this house, like the structure excavated as unit 309, were very close to the ground surface, and recent plowing of the field had disturbed the walls and floors. But we were able to map a number of the walls and we recovered nice domestic artifacts around the structure. Although from a scientific perspective it’s great to have such heavy artifact deposits, from a logistical perspective it’s a pain in the neck right now. We have just about outgrown our field lab capacity, and we will soon have to start carting sherd bags off to our permanent lab at the Colegio Mexiquense. We are heavily backed up in sherd washing (we recently hired more washers) and we are way behind in artifact processing. At Yautepec in the 1990s we excavated more than one million sherds in a 6-month season, and we seem to be on a similar track here at Calixtlahuaca.

2 comments:

jose said...

Hi fiesa

jose said...

Excuse me friends,

I'm a citizen from Toluca city that loves his city, I've red about the new toponimic of the flying turkey & I don't agree with you. Totoltepec means "mountain of turkeys" maybe it is Totalapan that actually means place of turkeys. I would like to colaborate with you because I love my city and I love the magic place of calixtlahuaca. in adition the flying turkey doesn't looks like a toponimic, it is more like a dinasty symbol or something like that. my phone number is 044722 3069679 (toluca city, unefon)