Wednesday, February 13, 2013

OMG This Is So Cool! Santa Rita Ruins-an active archaeological dig!

Santa Rita Ruins December 15, 2012
Before Excavation
Rumor had it that the Santa Rita Ruins in Corozal were to be excavated and rebuilt with the ultimate plan to create a "wedding garden" complete with flower gardens and an area for parking.

February 6, 2013

Curious, we stopped by. Sure enough, men, wheelbarrows, picks, shovels and trials abounded. We approached and were welcomed to the dig site by the excavation foreman, Andreas Novello. Andreas, we came to find out, had worked his way from caretaker to manager of several of the Belizean Mayan sites. He was extremely knowledgeable in the excavation process and the history of the Maya in Belize. He took the time to explain to us what they were doing currently and what they planned to do over the next couple of months.

Left Side of Staircase Excavation
February 6, 2013
Left Side of Staircase from Base Corner
February 6, 2012

Plaza Level From Left Base Corner
February 6, 2013
Andreas Novello

Getting back to the dig, he turned us over to the restoration manager Jorge Can.  Jorge continued the lecture, showing us a had drawn sketch of what he expects to find as the temple is excavated, and explaining to us that they had just unearthed a tomb--literally 2 feet from where we were standing at the base of the temple steps! This tomb contained 2 skeletons, some broken pottery, a pelican bowl and jade. All the artifacts had been sent to "the lab" for cataloging and identification and possibly reconstructing the pottery.

Shadows Peering Into the Tomb
As we stood with Jorge,  Andreas had begun to use a trial on an area about 20cm down from the surface of the plaza floor and began to find pottery pieces, feet of pots, some chards of engraved pottery and a piece of green obsidian! Jorge explained to us that the obsidian piece was indicative of trade as it is not found in Belize but in Pachuca, Mexico. This particular piece, chisled down to what appeared to be a knife, could have been used in a blood-letting ceremony at the temple and had been intentionally broken to "release" the spirit of the obsidian--everything created for Mayan use had a spirit and it was to be released at the end of the use of the object. I was thrilled to be the 2nd person, in modern times, to touch some of the artifacts and place them into the site bag!

Obsidian Knife Blade
We intend to return to the site on a weekly basis and see the progress they make.

February 13, 2013

So this week we stopped by after hearing that Dr. Jaime Awe would be on site. OMG! As we approached the temple, displayed on 2 tables were recent clay "finds"---a pelican bowl, a large incendiary pot with most of 2 seated figures supporting the bowl, several bird heads, some feet of bowls and a black obsidian knife 
blade. Dr. Awe was in deep conversation with a representative of the US Embassy, the workers were working on the right side of the central staircase, and several of us gawkers just walking around taking pictures and looking.
Jorge Can with Pelican Bowl

Pelican Bowl

Pelican Bowl

Broken Incindiary Bowl and Cup

Clay Artifacts

February 13, 2013
Crew Working on Right Side of Staircase
February 13, 2013
Right Side Excavation


  1. If anyone can help me with Jorge's last name--thanks! If not, I'll ask him next week! - babs

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Mother Nature! I changed the post to reflect his correct name.

  3. Babs,
    Love your blog. We found your blog when trying to find way to email Las Palamos Midway Inn in Matahuala. From their website we were unable to contact them via email (seems that the security code does not show up so it will not go through).
    1) Would you remember approximate cost for the night?
    2) Do you happen to have an email address for them in your records?

    We are headed to Comala for a month (just NE of Colima, Colima, MX.

    Thanks Paul and Anna Roisen

    1. Thanks for finding us Paul and Anna! We did not make reservations at Las Palmas Midway - we just stopped in! Our king suite was $66USD for the night. We don't have any contact information other than their website, sorry! The have about 100 rooms-I cannot imagine they would ever be sold out.....Have a great trip, be safe! -babs