Our Go Learners expressed a lot of interest in learning about the archaeological process. When we arrived in Sepulturas, we were lucky to find ongoing excavations! Rick took this opportunity to explain the daily workings of an excavation: how sites are formed, what we can learn from stratigraphy, laying out a grid, how the sites are mapped, how everything is recorded, and the collection and analysis of artifacts.
Two of us noticed that we had shopped for our trip in the same place!
We spent the rest of the morning exploring Las Sepulturas. We visited two palace groups including one that Rick helped excavate in 1990 where he uncovered its well known Sky Band bench. The bench dates back to about 800 AD and depicts the double headed sky serpent and includes symbols for the sun, the moon, and the planet Venus. A person (man) sitting upon the bench placed himself in the center of the universe (never short on self esteem!)
We visited the actual bench in the museum later that afternoon.
We stopped for cold drinks in the lovely cool shade of a veranda near the Copan Sculpture Museum. Copan is famous as having the most beautiful sculpture in the Maya world. Copan sculptors worked in deep relief and created masterful creations. The center of the sculpture museum is the life sized reconstruction of the Rosalila temple (we saw the original temple in the tunnels yesterday). It is painted in the true colors of the original structure and helps you to imagine how colorful the site was in its time.
Highlights in the museum included original sculpture mosaics from buildings we looked at around the site including the Mat House, the Sky Band bench Rick excavated, and Death Bat from the Popol Vuh story we heard in the ball court yesterday.