Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Calixtlahuaca Project is Back

Well, the Calixtlahuaca Archaeological Project didn’t leave, so how can we come back? It is the blog that is back, after months of little activity. During the 2007-08 academic year the project moved forward in a number of areas, mostly research by students and faculty at Arizona State University. Now we are back in Mexico, working on the artifacts in our nice new lab facility at the Colegio Mexiquense in Zinacantepec (outside of Toluca, State of Mexico). I’ll try to post more often to describe what we are doing and what we are leaning.

In this post and perhaps one or more to follow, I’ll outline what we have been up to since fieldwork ended in July, 2007. Activities included the following:

  • I had to move my office and lab at ASU upon returning from Mexico. This caused all sorts of chaos and delays.
  • We ran twenty radiocarbon dates at the University of Arizona AMS dating lab. This is a first set of dates; more will follow if and when I get a grant for analysis. Nearly all of the dates fall into a Middle to Late Postclassic time span (ca AD 1100-1520). A couple of them could extend into Early Postclassic times (AD 900-1100) and a couple could extend into the early colonial period (AD 1520 -1650). We need to run more dates and do comparative ceramic and stratigraphic analysis to refine the chronology, but basically the dates confirm my impression that all or nearly all of the occupation of Calixtlahuaca was during the Middle to Late Postclassic period (in other words, the Aztec period).
  • We worked on field notes, drawings, databases, photo catalogs, and other exciting stuff.
  • We worked on technical reports, also an exciting development.
  • We began making plans for a series of technical analyses of artifacts and data, to be included in a new grant proposal to the National Science Foundation.
  • A number of students gave papers and posters at the 2008 SAA meetings in Vancouver. The project had a very good presence at the meetings:
    • Brown, Timothy and Mellissa Ruiz (2008) Calixtlahuaca, Mexico,2007 Field Season: Preliminary Excavation Results. Poster presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology.
    • Guthrie, Caitlin (2008) The Censers of Calixtlahuaca. Poster presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology.
    • Huster, Angela (2008) Scraping and Spinning: Maguey Fiber Production at Calixtlahuaca, Mexico. Paper presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology.
    • Novic, Juliana (2008) Reaching the City Limits: Identifying Settlement Boundaries at Calixtlahuaca, Toluca, Mexico. Poster presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology.
  • I gave lectures on the project at various places, including the University of Colorado, and University of Connecticut, the Colegio Mexiquense, and ASU.
  • Emily Umberger continued work on the sculptures, documenting a new regional political art style in the reliefs that José García Payón excavated at Calixtlahuaca. Some of her preliminary findings are presented in:
    • Umberger, Emily (2007) Historia del arte e Imperio Azteca: la evidencia de las esculturas. Revista Española de Antropología Americana 37:165-202.
  • I completed the proofing and indexing for my new book, which has some limited information from the Calixtlahuaca Archaeological Project:

Now it’s back to potsherds and burnt daub. Stay tuned for more results.

But first, the question everybody wants answered: NO, we did NOT find any crystal skulls at Calixtlahuaca.

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