Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anthropological Archaeology and Saying Goodbye

Hello Calixtlahuaca Blog Readers!

This Juliana Novic here. I am the graduate student working with the Calixtlahuaca survey materials from the 2006-2007 field seasons. Mike has been after me for awhile to post something on the blog about the results of our survey analysis. While I plan to get to that post eventually, this time around I am going to post about something near and dear to my heart. That is the importance and relevance of anthropological archaeology as an approach to field research. Putting aside the theoretical and epistemological issues straining relations between archaeology and anthropology as disciplines, the experience of the archaeologist as anthropologist can be a rewarding one both personally and intellectually. For the last few years Mike has been posting about the great work that the women from Calixtlahuaca have been doing for the project as tepelcateras (sherd classifiers). They also have been wonderful cultural informants, mentors, teachers, and friends to project staff and visiting students.

One of our visiting students, Beth Taylor, took advantage of the opportunity to have both a cultural and archaeological experience while here. Judith, Julia, Janeth, Delfina, Asusena, and Beth developed a close friendship and cultural exchange. This despite the fact that Beth spoke very little Spanish and the women spoke no English!

Before Beth returned home, the women wanted to surprise her with a good-bye party at Calixtlahuaca. It was a

wonderful, if bittersweet, experience for us all.

1 comment:

Michael E. Smith said...

Julie - you forgot to mention how tasty the food was! The beef and nopals shown on the grill in the photo were fantastic. And we get to eat VERY tasty meals, prepared by our Calixtlahuaca workers, every day at the lab.

I have always argued that is is important for archaeologists to do experimental research on traditional Mexican culinary practices. Unless we know the taste of hand-made torillas and tamales, and mole and pipian, etc., how can we claim to understand the people who lived in the sites we study? Yes, this can be difficult work, but someone has to do it.