[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  Field Notes From
Yucatán Cities

<< Back to Feature Page

Kenneth Garrett

View Field Notes
From Photographer

Kenneth Garrett

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

Kenneth Garrett On Assignment On Assignment
Yucatán Cities

Field Notes From Photographer
Kenneth Garrett
Best Worst Quirkiest
Every year for six years I followed archaeologist Michael Smyth’s work on site. From beginning to end I watched him develop the site and open more buildings until he was ready to close the story. It was great having the freedom to follow him until the critical mass of the story was ready to publish.

Archaeologists found ancient pottery in a water well, but getting photographs was a real physical challenge. I had to climb down a rope for about 160 feet (50 meters) into a dark hole and then crawl on my hands and knees for another 1,300 feet (400 meters). The deeper I went, the hotter it got. I was covered in black soot, which had coated the walls since the time the Mayas went in and out of there with torches. By the time I got to the water source, I thought I was going to die in the well, and my body would have to be dragged out. So I clicked off a bunch of photos and got out of there. I don’t like being that far from daylight.

The Yucatán is home to habañero peppers—the hottest chilis in the world. Every time I went there, I brought home a huge sack of them, without any hassle  from U.S. customs agents in Houston. Nothing harmful could survive in a bag full of habañeros anyway.

© 2002 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe