Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kelsey finds her first site!

I hope Kelsey forgives me for blogging about her, but I woke up at 2:00 am with a fluttering in my left ear that made think an insect had crawled into it, and so blogging seemed like the natural thing to do. The alternatives were: 1) keep working on the informe, which I will probably do when I finish blogging, or 2) peer review a couple of articles that are waiting in my Inbox. I didn't think it would be fair to the authors to review their cherished work while tired and grumpy, so I'm blogging.

Last Sunday, we decided to take a drive in the countryside. I wanted Aaron, one of my students, to see a bit of Chinandega, which is very picturesque, because he has never been to Nicaragua before.

If you follow the paved road north out of El Viejo, ancient Tezoatega, keeping the volcano on your right hand, you eventually come to Tonalá and then Puerto Morazán, where the road ends at the Estero Real,  It's a beautiful new road, which replaced one that felt like one giant pothole and looked like it had last been paved when Sandino was fighting the Marines. A few kilometers north of El Viejo, there is a turn-off to an even newer paved road to the left, about 8.5 km (as the crow files) north of the plaza in El Viejo. This second, smaller road is paved with what they call "adoquines," which are concrete paving blocks set together in an interlocking pattern.

The "adoquinado" road runs north, and after about 2 km, it comes to the village of Cuatro Esquinas, where I found a site last year. That site has the distinction of being the one I found at highest velocity. By the speedometer, I was doing about 50 kph when I saw the potsherd on the side of the dirt road there.I slammed on the brakes, threw the SUV into reverse, and backed up to the site. The sherd was only 2-3 cm across, so my three passengers were suitably amazed when I pointed to it through the window.

When you get to Cuatro Esquinas, there is a dirt road going west near the southern end of town. About 2.5 km along this road is the village of Amayo. To get there, you have to turn right (north) at the T-junction, and drive about half a klick. From the town, drive west another half a click and turn north.  On Sunday, we were winding our way south along that same road, when Kelsey asked me to stop. I looked out the window and there was a stone mound on a platform in the fallow field. Kelsey dismounted and said there was pottery along the edge of the road. We whipped out the camera and GPS and took a couple of photos and a GPS point. A young teenager carrying two kittens, one in each hand, strolled up.

(Another big aftershock just rattled the house--in real time as I'm typing. It's been more than 24 hours since the quake and we've felt dozens of aftershocks.)

The youngster introduced himself as the custodian of the farm, and he allowed us to go into the field and look at the mound. He also pointed out a couple of other nearby mounds.
Here's the mound, looking east from the road. The mound appears to be sitting atop the north end of a long platform.

Aaron, standing tall on the mound, flanked by kittens.

The loose rocks are mound fill. The cobble size is typical of the mounds in the region.

Looking north from the first mound toward another one pointed out by the watchman. The low mound is slightly left of the electrical post.

Kelsey playing with the kittens on the slope of the mound.
Lovely site. Nice drive. It's always a good day when you find a mound site. I'm pretty sure this is Kelsey's first. She decided to name it Tecomatepe, an indigenous toponym we found on the local INETER topographic quadrangle map sheet (2754_2). Good name for a sweet site.

The kittens were really cute. They acted like puppies.

Back to the informe! I wonder if I can write a type description before the next aftershock hits. (There's a sentence I never expected to write.)

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