Sunday, July 14, 2013

Home in Santa Ana

June 27, 2013

It's been raining every day since we got to Santa Ana, which means the road is too bad to get to the site. However, there is plenty of lab work to keep us busy. Washing, cataloguing, and photographing ceramics from previous years. I enjoy getting to work with the ceramics in the lab (I may be alone in the world on my love of ceramics though), especially before we go out and dig, so I have an idea of what to expect. But today, finally! we saw the sun. Hopefully it dried out the road enough that we can get into the field tomorrow! --RK

Saturday, July 13, 2013

On the Bus

June 23, 2013

Today we made the trip from La Paz to Santa Ana. We took a plane to Trinidad, I think, and then we were going to take a truck for the 6+ hour ride to Santa Ana. Just before we left though a guy in a bus drove up and said he'd take us. So we took his offer and had probably the most comfortable ride of anyone with the project to date. The bus had a horn that sounded somewhat like an ambulance, and the driver used it to scare  quite a few people, it was pretty hilarious. We arrived in Santa Ana earlier than expected and were greeted by our awesome host family.--RK

Monday, July 8, 2013

Plaza Murillo


 June 21, 2013

Today is the winter solstice here in the Southern Hemisphere. We went to try and find an open museum but had no luck as the whole city was pretty much shut down. We came upon this square, filled with pigeons and people. It seems like every day we explore a new part of the city, and every day we find a new place that could be considered a 'center' of town. We found out that this square was in front of the president's house and other important governmental buildings. In the quiet city, this square was bustling with families eating ice cream and feeding pigeons. We also noted the 'rainbow flag' that we saw always flying next to the Bolivian flag. We assumed it was the indigenous flag, and some research confirmed this. It is very interesting to see a country that is so tied to its indigenous heritage (mostly because the president is indigenous and mandated the flags fly together, and that the city be shut down in honor of an Aymara holiday that falls on the solstice).--RK

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Parking Stickers

June 18, 2013

Saw this gem on the prado today. The UCF parking stickers registered as normal in my head, but anything registering as normal requires a second thought here. I can't believe, of all the places in the world, we found a car in La Paz with recent UCF parking stickers (one was from 2012). While the car was probably shipped here, it was fun to think about what the drive from Central Florida to La Paz would be like. Based on a quick glance at a map, you would have to go through 8 countries to get here: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Brazil. Although, according to Mapquest, there is no actual route to do so. --RK

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Into the Woods

We have now excavated shovel tests like this one in two lines, cutting across the forest island from north to south and from east to west. We dig a test every fifteen meters, which is about fifty feet. All of the tests from inside the ring ditch have fragments of ceramics in them, and very few of the tests from outside the ring ditch have ceramics in them, which tells us that people were making and using pottery inside the circle. Sometimes the shovel tests are more than a meter deep, with fragments still coming out in the screen. On the left is Mary Luz Choque, Alex Rivas in the middle, and Juan Pablo Avaroma is on the right. That blue tarpaulin help us put all the soil back in the hole, which is important because we don't want any cows to hurt themselves. --JW

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

National Museum of Art

[We have a pleasantly large backlog of blog posts to get through, so we will be moving back and forth chronologically for a few days--JW]
June 22, 2013--We went to the National Museum of Art today and I was blown away. From the curation – organized to take the visitor through the history of Bolivia's art from the 16th century, through to modern art, – to the security guards making sure we didn't get too close to the art, to the vinyl lettering on the walls, something which is a big ticket item in the US and I was very surprised to see, this museum is top-notch. As a former intern at a fine arts museum and part of a museum installation crew, I was very impressed with the attention to detail and the scale and skill that went into creating this museum. The pride Bolivia has in its heritage came through here, as with most places in La Paz, and there was a notable emphasis on cultural revival.--RK

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rachael Kangas

I am a second year graduate student at UCF, studying Maya archaeology. I am focusing with my master's thesis on Maya ceramic analysis. I've lived in Florida for nine years now, and re-discovered archaeology as an undergraduate at Rollins College in Winter Park. I have done cultural fieldwork in Guatemala and spent a short season (1 month) in Alabama for historical archaeological fieldwork. I spend my precious free time usually playing soccer with other students or rock climbing. I look forward to this field season working with Dr. Walker and learning about Amazonian and Bolivian archaeology as these subjects are fairly new to me.--RK