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  Field Notes From
Aguateca



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Aguateca On AssignmentArrows

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From Author

Takeshi Inomata



Aguateca On Assignment

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.

Photographs by Kenneth Garrett


 

Aguateca

Field Notes From Author
Takeshi Inomata
Best Worst Quirkiest
    Working with the local people, particularly the Kekchi Maya, is very rewarding. They are recent migrants to the area, and they live around the site. They're poor but generous people; they even invited us to parties. Some of them want to build a tourist business based on the site and the ecological resources of the protected forest where it's located. In the process they would protect the site and the surrounding habitat. I hope this article helps them achieve that.

    Some of the more radical indigenous people would come into the park illegally and cut down the trees. They claimed that, because they were Maya, the park and our excavation site belonged to them. They often came to our camp and demanded to know what we were doing. It was one of the more difficult things we had to deal with because at the beginning they were hostile to us.
    We wanted to work with them and support their political movement, but we realized how complex their social situation really was. Eventually we managed to establish a good relationship with them by talking to them and explaining our work. Unfortunately, the problems they suffer are rooted in a long history of oppression, and there's no easy solution.


    We usually try to excavate during the dry season, but once we had to work in the rainy season when the mosquitoes come out. They are so bad that you can't go anywhere without being surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes. And repellants don't help. The only way to get rid of them, according to the local people, is to collect small palm nuts and burn them to make a lot of smoke. By the end of the day we were still badly bitten.  But on top of that, we were all sweaty and smoky. We smelled pretty bad.



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