Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trip Report

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Managua. Tomorrow morning I fly home. I've only been here about three weeks, but it was a good trip. I accomplished everything I hoped to and more. I spent the first day or so in Managua at the National Museum, and then went to Chinandega to study our collection and learn the new types we had defined. Then we took the bus from Managua to Tegucigalpa--long ride. Tegucigalpa looks like a nice city, surprisingly prosperous, but incredibly dangerous. Gangs rule the streets and the citizens are prisoners in their homes. The folks at IHAH were extremely gracious and allowed us extraordinary access to their collections. The first day, we studied the whole vessels in Tegucigalpa. We stayed at the Hotel Linda Vista: huge rooms, good A/C, nice owner, good breakfast.

The next day we drove up to Comayagua to visit the museum there, where they also have type collections from Yarumela and from the El Cajon project. Both sets of collections were very helpful, providing excellent comparative material related to our stuff. Comayagua is a dream, a lovely Colonial town nestled in a deep mountain valley, surrounded by dramatic mountains. The museum is very nice. It's in a nice Colonial building near the plaza and it has historic and ethnographic exhibits as well as archaeological ones. Here we are in the plaza next to the museum.

We stayed at the Hotel Casagrande, just around the corner from the museum. Very pretty! Even huger rooms with great A/C. Here's the exterior:

And the interior:

We next went to Los Naranjos by Lago Yojoa. The museum there is small but pretty. The site is lovely, the mounds are big, and they probably merit more study. I believe this is Mound 4:

There's a remarkable Olmec statue at the site. It was dredged from the hydroelectric canal in the 1960s. I don't know whether anyone ever found the site from which the statue came.

We returned to Tegucigalpa and took the bus to San Salvador. We picked a hotel named the Villa Florencia right next to the National Museum in the zona rosa. Rooms were a little small, but everything else was very nice and the location was perfect, not just for the museum but for restaurants and shopping. San Salvador is supposed to be very dangerous, plagued with gangs, but we could have been in Peoria. The Museum is wonderful, and everyone, starting with the Director and his staff, were wonderfully helpful and welcoming. Again, we were able to study both whole vessels and archaeological collections of sherds.

We got back on Wednesday, and I spent a day and half at the museum. Yesterday, we went out to the Cave of Cusirisna. It was a heck of a walk. Then I drove from Boaco to Chinandega, which takes exactly four hours in case you were wondering.

That's all for now. Wish me luck getting my flotation samples through Customs!


  1. Cliff, I think this new work is fascinating. We actually hear so little about this area to the east of Maya territory.

  2. Found your blog while looking for someplace reliable (archaeologically) to link for an image of the sculpture at Los Naranjos. The precise location of the statue you show is not entirely clear. But you may not know there are several other contemporary (Middle Formative) sculptures that were removed from the site after it was reported in the 1930s. They ended up in a government building in San Pedro Sula, and eventually, working with the Museo de San Pedro Sula, we were able to get them installed there. These other sculptures, of the same material (basaltic lava) and style (Olmec-related), were found in the area to one side of Structure IV, along with basalt columns.

    Your photo of the mound is Structure IV, but the smaller platforms you show (which are on the summit) are the latest features, added after 500 AD to the top of this ca. 700 BC platform.