Perspectives on Community Engagement

Posted on 22. Mar, 2013 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Perspectives on Community Engagement

Increasingly archaeologists are finding themselves at the center of intensive local debates involving issues of access and ownership, looting, patrimony, local, regional, and national politics, and the nature of community engagement and collaboration.

Our table and crowd at the community event

Rodrigo Solinís-Casparius, University of Washington, addressing the crowd

Issues ranging from how community-based research initiatives can be constructed to the actual financial inputs and contributions of archaeological projects to local economies have become a focus of scholarly interest within the archaeological community.

Another view of the crowd at our table

Most major archaeological projects have some element of community outreach built into their research design – with many doing substantially more.

Our table

For those that know me – unsurprisingly probably – community outreach is not my forte.  Though I realize the imperative of such programs I’m honestly not very good at talking to a non-academic audience.

Luckily for the project the LORE-LPB team is comprised of several talented graduate students and researchers who devoted considerable time and effort this season at better engaging the local community who own and use the land that Angamuco occupies.  These students deserve major kudos for the work they have done in this regard for the 2013 field season.

The next generation of archaeologists?

Yesterday we were able to discuss some of our findings, talk about the nature of archaeology, and the role our research can play in better understanding the prehistory of Michoacán at a community event honoring Benito Juarez.  I hope it is the first of many such activities.

Chris

Cynthia's new student

The importance of Lunch

Posted on 22. Mar, 2013 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

The importance of Lunch

It has been said more then once that a field crew runs on it’s stomach – the LORE-LPB 2013 field season is no exception.  The theme this year seems to be hot food and animals!!

The LORE-LPB 2013 crew refueling mid-day

The best vantage point to see the excavation

Flor's new friend

Chris Fisher takes advantage of lunch for some quick shuteye

Cynthia takes a quick ride

Excavating a Purépecha Community Building – Casa 5128

Posted on 22. Mar, 2013 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, LiDAR, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology, archaeology

Excavating a Purépecha Community Building – Casa 5128

Casa 5128 – a Purépecha public building

Casa 5128 prior to clearing and excavation

Excavation is proceeding well at Casa 5128 – one of two areas currently under excavation.  5128 represents a large building that dominates a small neighborhood of residential and public architecture near one of the largest pyramid complexes at the ancient city.

Casa 5128 during initial clearing

Casa 5128 is constructed on a large platform of stone and rubble that served to flatten a small hill that forms one end of the complex.  On top of this platform walls were constructed of uncut stacked stone with simple clay mortar.  We started excavation by systematically clearing rubble and debris to expose the original exterior and interior.  This also fully exposed the interior areas of the house so that they could be excavated.  At the close of the excavation season the walls and platform of the house will be stabilized and reburied.

Excavating through rubble and wallfall at Casa 5128

Exposing the first floor, Casa 5128

Excavation within the house interior shows a clear sequence of debris on top of a Late Postclassic floor (A.D. 1350-1520), with a second possible floor below containing a mixed Early-Middle Postclassic assemblage (A.D. 1000-1350).  This is followed by fill and debris that form the platform itself.

Clearing debris to expose the first floor, casa 5128

Excavating floor 1, casa 5128

Excavating floor 1, casa 5128

As of today (03/21/2013) we have fully excavated the interior of the house and exposed the platform at the base of the floor-area.  Now the hard part, mapping, drawing profiles, and making sure everything is fully documented prior to consolidation and reburial.

Exposing the platform at the base of casa 5128

Platform at the base of casa 5128 after excavation

Second view of the platform after excavation, casa 5128

Excavation has begun

Posted on 02. Mar, 2013 by Christopher Fisher in LORE-LPB, LiDAR, Michoacán, Pátzcuaro Archaeology

Excavation has begun

We have begun excavation at two locations within some of the Late and Middle Postclassic areas of occupation at Angamuco.  Here is a video of some of the first days of excavation at Casa 5128 – a large public building that dominates one cluster of residential and other architecture below the largest platform and associated pyramid at the site.  Music  – Chucho Valdez

One Day of Excavation at Angamuco