Faculty Projects in the Yucatan

We are pleased to share a spotlight on faculty projects in the Yucatan. In partnership with InHerit and the Universidad del Oriente in Valladolid, archaeologists from UNC work collaboratively with community members in the investigation of the prehispanic to colonial transition in their communities in a program called PACOY (Proyecto Arqueológico Colaborativo del Oriente de Yucatán; Collaborative Archaeology Project of Eastern Yucatan). We hope you will enjoy!
Many thanks to Sarah Rowe from InHerit for sharing! Read more in the InHerit Newsletter August 2014
Team:
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Members of the PACOY team

The project co-directors are Dr. Patricia McAnany (UNC, InHerit) and Dr. Ivan Batun (UNO, AGEY). This summer’s team also included InHerit’s Program Director Dr. Sarah Rowe, Alf Berry (Surveyor for the Town of Wayland, MA), UNC graduate student Maia Dedrick, UNO Maya Studies students Lourdes Chan Caamal and Alex Tuz, and Ivan Batun Cante and Miriam Batun Meza. Alf coordinated the summer’s mapping efforts and was assisted by Alex and Ivan Jr. Maia hopes to base her dissertation research at Tahcabo, and was very involved in both the archaeology project and the community collaboration. Lourdes was a powerhouse of community coordination. Sarah continued her role with community collaboration and Miriam returned to the project to assist with mapping and community activities as we closed out the season.

Accomplishments:
  • Collected a total of 768 artifacts, mostly from the disused residential areas on the outskirts of town. These areas are of particular interest as potential locations for colonial period residences, which allows us to learn more about conditions of life in Tahcabo.
  • Created a topographic map of Tahcabo and continued surface collections in the town. Included are natural features, including five rejolladas, or sinkholes located above the water line that accumulate soil and can be used as orchards, and a large cenote, or sinkhole that has year-round water.
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    Creating a topographic map

  • Found artifacts dating from Preclassic to the present day and nearly everything in between. It was exciting to learn that, as at nearby Ek Balam, Tahcabo is a place where people have lived for thousands of years.
  • UNC Graduate Maia Dedrick led the creation of a photo-voice project for secondary students, which utilized photography and discussion to identify good things about living in Tahcabo and the challenges that the community faces. The PACOY team also worked with community members to develop a Heritage Committee, which will be the primary point of contact for the archaeology project.
  • Coordinated a tour of local archaeological site – Ek Balam – for secondary students. Though the site is located only a short distance from Tahcabo and welcomes thousands of visitors every year, most people in Tahcabo had never been there.
  • Increased awareness about local archaeology. Lourdes was instrumental in getting permissions for the archaeological team to investigation parcels of land.
  • Designed a Heritage Day for the local primary school and with the help of Lourdes led 50 children through games and discussion about Maya archaeology and their community’s heritage. We distributed the Yucatan version of the InHerit Soy Maya coloring book which contains information about local archaeological resources presented in both Spanish and Yucatec Maya.
Celebrations:
  • PACOY co-director Dr. Ivan Batun was appointed Director of the State Archives of the
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    Dr. Batun and Dr. McAnay sign an agreement between AGEY and the Alliance for Heritage Conservation

    Yucatán (AGEY), which is located in Merida. AGEY is home to the secular archives of the peninsula and houses a host of information about local communities over the past several centuries. On the closing day of the summer season we signed an agreement between AGEY and our nonprofit arm, The Alliance for Heritage Conservation, to work together to tell the stories of some of the earliest towns in this region. This agreement will open a number of opportunities for PACOY as the project moves forward and we continue our work in Tahcabo and the region.We congratulate the PACOY team on a successful community collaboration in Tahcabo and are excited to see what they will do next!

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