Sunday, April 26, 2009

Atlanta, GA

I just spent the last few days at the Society for American Archaeology's annual conference in Atlanta, GA. It was a great time visiting with old friends, meeting with new collegues, and listening to other people's cool research. It's definitely pumped me up even more for the field work, which is now just a little over a month away! It's coming so fast and there's still a lot to be done, like write the permit proposal, buy supplies, and put all of our worldly belongings in storage. I guess I better get cracking!

I've gotten some more great news in the last few days, and the best at this point is the fact that my youngest cousin, a college freshman, is going to come down with us for at least a few weeks and help out on the dig. I can't wait to introduce her (not to mention my husband and daughter) to the country that I've fallen in love with!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yay for fewer complications!

So apparently there is a new process for receiving an Ecuadorian visa for Intercultural Exchange that no longer includes proof of HIV-negative status. I was not looking forward to poking the munchkin and it means fewer doctors appointments for us. We'll have the munchkin's passport by the end of the week and can then apply for the Ecuadorian visa as soon as I get the letters from my affiliated university in Ecuador. Happy days!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Destination Dos Mangas

The field site is located on that lands of the Comuna of Dos Mangas, located in a river valley in Guayas Province. The elevation is low, and the vegetation is lush. Fresh seafood, fruits and veggies every day...Heaven!

The Comuna has about 1000 residents who farm, raise animals, make tourist handicrafts, or work in the larger towns nearby. The Comuna gets a steady stream of eco-tourists and are looking to expand their tourism offerings.

The site dates to the Manteno phase (AD 800-1532). They were contemporaries of the Inca but maintained their autonomy even while neighboring regions were conquered. There are other remains, visible in eroded areas, that testify to human habitation of the valley since the Valdivia phase (3500-1400 BC).

The site is located within a frontier region between two Manteno political/ethnic groups. I won't bore you with the details, but the project will look at political organization and social identity in the ancient community at the site, and the ways in which the people there negotiated their participation in either or both political/ethnic groups.

Diggin' It

I've set up this blog to chronicle the adventures, trials, and tribulations that I encounter in the course of a year of archaeological field work in Ecuador. It'll be a good way of keeping in touch with family when we're out of the country too!

I've just received word that I'll actually have the money to do this, and the feelings of joy and relief are quickly being replaced by an understanding of all the things that need to be done before my family and I can actually depart for Ecuador (at a date still to be determined).

Today the adventure is passport renewal, in person, in Chicago, because we need things to move fast. Joy.