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Archaeology's Interactive Dig
February-May 2003Interactive Dig at Waka'
Photo courtesy of the Proyecto Arqueológico Waka'. Click on image for larger version.

Bulletin Board

(The board is now closed to new questions, as the Interactive Dig is over. Thanks for your participation!)

Is the site registered as Waka' or El Perú?

The registered name is in fact El Perú. We hope to change it to Waka' in the future, because that was the original name.--Mary Jane Acuña

Do you have showers yet? Do you have beds? What do you eat every day?

We do have showers now in our camp. They aren't like the showers at home, because the water is always cold and must be pumped from a pond below. We don't have beds exactly; however, we do have cots and sleep inside of tents. Everyday we eat beans. We have eggs and beans in the morning, then we have rice, pasta, or salad with beans at lunch, and for dinner we have chicken or rice with beans.--Liz Baloutine

What are stela?

A stela is a free-standing stone slab, generally rectangular in shape but sometimes with a rounded or pointed top. These slabs are usually carved with pictures and text. The Maya placed these in prominent positions in their ceremonial centers.--Mark Carpenter

What stories did you find on the walls? What was the favorite drawing? What is a good book to read?

There are many stone monuments at Waka' that talk about the lives of the ancient kings and queens who lived here over a thousand years ago. The best monument from Waka' is Stela 34, now in a museum in Cleveland. It portrays a queen celebrating a festival in the year A.D. 692. There are no books on Waka' right now, but a good book on ancient Maya kings and queens is Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (Thames and Hudson, 2000).--Stanley Guenter

Is there a particular number assigned to the stela at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth (the stela that supposedly accompanied the one at the Cleveland Art Museum)? What are the activities associated with it?

The Kimbell Stela is number 33, and the Cleveland is number 34 in the numbering system devised by Ian Graham of Harvard. Stela 33 shows K'inich Balam, a powerful king of the late seventh century, and Stela 34 shows his wife lady K'ab'il.--David Freidel

Have you found any inscriptions referring to Siyah K'ak and the arrival at Waka'?

We do have one monument (Stela 15) that talks about Siyaj K'ahk' being at Waka' only eight days before his arrival at Tikal. Unfortunately, the verb on this monument is broken away, but it must have been a very important event for Waka', and likely served to cement the relationship between Waka' and Teotihuacan, which was about to have an enormous impact on Petén history.--Stanley Guenter

Is there evidence for interaction with other polities along the Usumascinta and into Chiapas?

Waka' is not mentioned at PN, Palenque, Yaxchilan, or other sites to the west. This is an interesting question, but we need further texts from Waka' and other sites in the region to further flesh out the history of the western Petén.--Stanley Guenter

I notice several project members are university students in Guatemala, do you include Maya students?

Our project is working to maintain an equal number of Guatemalan professionals and foreign professionals on our staff. We're very interested in advancing the professional training of Guatemalan archaeologists. Five Guatemalan students have committed to carrying out thesis research on data they are gathering at Waka'. In addition, I hope to recruit Guatemalan students to the Ph.d program at SMU. As to students who identify themselves as Maya, there are some promising prospects for the future, but we have yet to recruit such individuals. I must say, however, that it is my experience that the Guatemalan archaeological community is composed of highly qualified, dedicated, and patriotic individuals who are very proud to associate with their Maya ancestors who created the brilliant civilization we are all working hard to reveal and conserve for the future.--David Freidel

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© 2003 Archaeological Institute of America

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