Deep Cave Subproject Exploration – Video

In my last blog post, Colossal Cave Excavation, I shared a short video of my supervisory visit to the cave subproject, the Raxruja Viejo project, in collaboration with, and under the direction of, my co-director Chloe Andrieu (CNRS) and assistant co-director, Julien Sion (Sorbonne).

Are you ready for more? Below you can see Julien Sion and I entering the cave to give a tour at the bottom of the main entrance. Listen closely as we share updates about our ongoing progress.

In the next video, Don Amilcar takes us deep into the cave subproject to show off the grand, natural wonders as I discuss Mayan rituals practiced in this very location. As you can see, even with many flashlights, it’s difficult to find your way to the underground river below. Can you imagine the ancient Maya doing this journey in almost complete darkness? 

This cave acted not only as a ritual space, but also as a gigantic tomb and cathedral. For more, follow along below. 

 

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The Vilmita de Demarest Strategy

In my latest blog post, I hinted at my new research design strategy and my fateful discovery of Mayan artifacts (including a beautifully carved and polished hardstone mortar in the shape of a turtle with an anthropomorphized head and face, perforated large banner stones, figurines, and grinding tools) in the backyards of friends and relatives in the San Andres Semetabaj town area. After talking to their other relatives it became clear that their houses were all sitting on a 2,600 year old Middle PreClassic cemetery!

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Ritual Dancing, Dinner, and Digs

It seems like at any moment another ritual might “breakout.” Just a couple of days ago, I found a rare moment of peace to write up some of our findings.  Those plans were truncated by a sudden cacophony of drums, flutes, and marimba, punctuated by deafening explosions of plastic bottle bombs.  My “San Andresana” wife, Vilmita, casually said that it was the “rito de San Juan y los toritos” (the ritual of San Juan and the little bulls” also called “Los Negritos”) and she ordered that we had to go to it immediately!  We were then swept away into the Kaqchiquel universe. 

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