IHAP Notes from the Field: Week 3

Taking starch grain samples from ground stone pieces this summer at the New World Archaeological Foundation

Me taking starch grain samples from ground stone pieces this summer at the New World Archaeological Foundation

Things are continuing well with excavations. This week in the lab we also started taking starch grain samples of some of our groundstone pieces. The process of starch grain sample extraction was taught to me this past summer by Jorge Cruz Palma, a graduate student in the Instituto de Investigaviones Antropológicas at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).  Samples were taken from artifacts from the 2012 excavations at Izapa and the nearby site of Don Hermelindo, collected as part of the Izapa Regional Settlement Project, directed by Robert Rosenswig at the University at Albany, SUNY. I spent this fall at UNAM studying the results with Jorge and his advisor, Dr. Guillermo Acosta Ochoa. We were excited to discover that starch grains do preserve- even in the moist environmental conditions of the Soconusco piedmont and on artifacts that had already been washed! In preparation for this season’s excavations, Jorge and Dr. Acosta also advised me on the best in-field collection procedures for starch grain samples.

Our press coverage also continued. This week I joined  a radio station in the nearby town of Cacahoatoan as a guest on their hour-long Thursday program. We talked about the archaeological process, the problem with looting, the goals of the Izapa Household Archaeology Project, and Izapa’s role in greater Mesoamerica.

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