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phillyb doing archaeology and poo in peru: a running photo blog for teh huddle

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Posted

Beautiful place! Will you be travelling to ecuador during your survey trip?

 

no, although i was in ecuador about six months ago. i'll pretty much be stuck in one spot this entire summer, so it's not quite the adventure that some of my other journeys have been, but i'm not complaining. and if all goes well i should have a couple of days off to go to chile, so that'll be cool

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Posted

I see boobies over yonder!!!!!

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Posted

huge boobs

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Posted

About how far are you from the salt flats?

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Posted

About how far are you from the salt flats?

 

i'm actually a couple hundred miles north of the actual flats. i'll probably be taking a three-day sabbatical to venture into northern chile, so i will be significantly closer at that point, if not actually within the outer fringes

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Posted

This is fugin awesome

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Posted

this morning we woke up at 6am and trekked to a predetermined location in town and met up with some geologists from chicago and rode up to cerro baul, an enormous mesa in the upper moquegua valley about a half an hour north of town. we were going to use the geologists' 3D digital survey equipment to map the site and render it three-dimensionally, something that's invaluable for archaeological analysis. all of the material we're analyzing in the lab was excavated from various portions of this site about ten years ago, so it was cool to actually see these sites as something more than just a grid on a piece of paper.

 

we headed up, and as we got higher i slowly accumulated all the girls' gear... first a purse, then a jug of water, and then the sensor pylons, and by the time we got to the top i was dehydrated and drenched in sweat and out of breath. it was a bitch of a hike up the side of this damn thing, and the entire way up i had to take a poo. as soon as we reached the summit and found the temple i ditched my poo, meandered down the opposing side of the mountain, and enjoyed the spectacular view of the valley floor below while i blew up some rocks. the last time i did that i was at 15,000 feet on a snowy mountain pass about a thousand miles north, in front of salkantay peak in the andes... it brought back good memories.

 

anyway long story short we mapped the site and explored a little bit. here's some pictures without captions because i'm lazy

 

 

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I love the clash of perspectives in these shots. Looking at both close-up and far-away views of terrain. The kind of thing you'd only see from really high up.

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Posted

I love the clash of perspectives in these shots. Looking at both close-up and far-away views of terrain. The kind of thing you'd only see from really high up.

 

 

it's actually often very difficult to compose shots because everything is often the exact same shade of brown. for instance i tried to take a picture from my vantage point sitting on the edge of a sheer cliff, but there's almost no discernible difference between the edge of the outcropping under my ass and the valley floor 2k feet below

 

 

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Posted

found another projectile point today during the site survey. we've been down to the coast to map the place three separate times now and found definitive cultural material each time... today's latest discovery was another projectile point. this one was twice as large as the rest, but defined by a fluted base characteristic of coastal sites and pressure flaking; it's fairly thin which further confirms that the site is from the middle horizon (around 600-100 years ago.) this is not particularly accurate - 400 years is a lot of variability - but the main battle has been to figure out if the site is middle horizon, formative, or archaic, a span of time periods ranging from 11,000 BCE to 1200 CE.

 

searching up on an opposing slope we came across some diagnostic potsherds (a fancy archaeological term that basically means pieces of pottery that make it easily identifiable, like rims, paint, or specific decorations) that indicate a clear fit into the typological sequences of the empire we're studying. this all but proves that the area was contemporary with this empire and that it was either a coastal site inhabited by denizens of the empire (a controversial claim) or (more likely) that trade existed between local coastal groups and the empire itself.

 

this is pretty much what archaeologists do: potshot theories until evidence can be found to support or debunk a given hypothesis. in this case the evidence - relatively cursory evidence, if we're fair - suggests that our hypothesis is correct, and we'll be bringing a team out to excavate if we can get grant money. at that point we'll be able to determine a lot more about the people that lived there, including burial customs (the most interesting thing to me) and their interaction with the southern reaches of the inland empire. it's all a bit dense, and not quite as sexy as indiana jones has made archaeology out to be, but this is all the groundwork an archaeologist has to lay down to get to do the truly fun stuff.

 

 

 

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Posted

You can't tell me that you couldn't remove PhillyB from that projectile pic above and not see the exact likeness of the supposed Martian landscape...

 

Anyways, as always, thanks for the interesting read!

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Posted

time for more group pics I think!!!!!! :cool:

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Posted

 

 

 

 

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Where's the zoom?

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