Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beginnings are hard

Our arrival back in Dos Mangas was more than I could have hoped for, in many ways. It was wonderful to walk down the street and greet old friends. I could not have had a warmer welcome. Despite that the arrival is still a bit of an adjustment, and difficult mentally at times. Hello culture shock. The village is quite different from our landing pads in Quito and Guayaquil, and adapting to the rhythm and paces of village life take some time. Throw in that I'm traveling with an infant, and it feels just a tad more difficult.

Also, it's really wet here, meaning everything is muddy and dreary. It's also causing me anxiety about the project. We're already getting a bit of a late start (losing about a week of field time because of a delayed permit and some other issues) and the heavy rains will put a further damper on things. And because of the rains we're also impacted by excessive vegetation.
The river valley in May 2006.
Same valley, June 2017. Yeah, it's wet here.

On Father's Day we took a hike out to look at the site. First, I have to give my husband major props for coming willingly on this adventure. And also for tromping through mud instead of doing whatever else you're "supposed" to be doing on Father's Day.
This photo just makes my heart melt.

The land where the site is located has been farmed in the past, but has been left untouched for about two years. There's lots of vegetation and it's hard to see much of anything. My plan of "here, look at the site" turned into a much shorter visit of "well, it's under there somewhere". So, first order of business will be getting some guys out with machetes to clear things enough to map and place some excavation units.

I'm hopeful to get the clearing started on Thursday or Friday, and then to be underway with excavations on Monday. That means the season will be six weeks long instead of seven, but hopefully we can still get a lot done.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I'm Baaaaack

On the ground, in Ecuador. Thanks to a Fulbright Scholar award I'm able to return to my dissertation site and carry out another season of field work. My university did a nice little write-up on the award:

So here I am, with my husband and infant son, hoping to identify ancient households and excited to revive my collaboration with the comuna of Dos Mangas. The blog will once again become half travelogue, half critical engagement with archaeological themes. As internet access can be hard to come by, this will also be my primary mechanism to let friends and family know what we're up to, and that we're still alive and well. I'll also add more details about the project goals once the initial craziness of settling in is over. More soon!