08 June, 2013

Where's the Justice?

So, what's the Mayan word for gravel pit? Oh, that's right... It's Noh Mul. Well known hereabouts as one of the oldest gravel pits in the Yucatan, providing hand-carved limestone blocks for gravel for use in roads and whatnot for around 2,300 years, give or take a few.

What's Left of a 2,300 Year-Old Legacy
- Courtesy Lincoln Edward Eiley
The photo above, taken by Lincoln Edward Eiley, Editor, Publisher, Author, and Photographer of the closest thing we have to a daily newspaper, the Corozal Daily... Sometimes (http://www.corozal.bz/daily). See the Website for a couple nice articles and more photos of the wanton destruction of Noh Mul and its surrounding area.

It's great that the world media have picked up on this dastardly act of cultural homicide. I'll tell you, if somebody doesn't go to Hattieville (the Central Prison) for a spell, something is really wrong. I mean, when a man gets sent there for six months to a year for stealing food to feed his family - where's the justice?

But, having said that, I'd be willing to put money on the table that no one, especially any heavy hitter, will do time. Probably the best that can be hoped for, would be the back-hoe operator and/or maybe a dump-truck driver.

It's not like Noh Mul wasn't known. So what if it is on private property? There's a duty owed, moral or otherwise, to the people of Belize... and for the world, for that matter.

Instead of conducting a dig with a backhoe as your primary tool, here's an example of how it's done right - with people who care, who use small tools - trowels, scrapers and the odd shovel or two. Not to mention sweat and physical labor.
 The Santa Rita Dig From the Side
This is how it should be done. I guess we here in Corozal are lucky that the Santa Rita ruins weren't bulldozed to make way for houses or a warehouse, or something.

Granted, Dianna and I only worked the dig three days, at least we were there. Other folks, like Colleen, it almost became a full-time job or an obsession. But it was worth it. Here's some of the almost daily haul of pottery and other stuff that was found at the site. Stuff that could have been found at Noh Mul, if it had been given half a chance.
Collection of Pottery Shards
Doing a dig the old fashioned way. Yes, it was hard work. But, it really didn't seem to be that hard. There was a lot of conversation that took place while working, and at the appointed hour when you knocked off, it was amazing to see just how much dirt you had actually moved.
Bruce and Dianna Concentrating
More Shards
Explaining the Details
Rocks Waiting Repositioning
Most of these rocks have been replaced in the ruins. Really, it looks so good now, that to call it a 'ruins' just doesn't convey how great it looks.

A Nice Detail
Carefully Removing Dirt
Another Nicely Detailed Piece
Another View of the Rockpile
Denis and Bruce Hard At Work
Santa Rita From The Road
A Nice Wall Detail
There were several workers that had been hired by the archeological team to actually do the real grunt work - we were there for fun. These guys busted their asses to do a great job. They moved several tons of dirt and rocks and in may cases, put the rocks back in place again.
They Do the Real Muscle Work
Still, it was hot and sweaty and very fulfilling to actually be able to take part in an actual dig.
A Lot of Fine Detail Work
Another of the Real Lifters
Of course, there always came a time in the morning for refreshments. For those of you with long memories, this is the same guy that used to come around to our place when we had a construction crew for our house. The food and drink was just as good as I remembered it.
The Snack Wagon; Roach Coach; or Gedunk Wagon
The debris pile - a pile of mostly fine rubble that some day will be completely sifted to recover what artifacts as can be found.
The Debris Pile
Making another pottery find. Careful work is called for.
A Pottery Piece Appears
Sometimes, the detail is amazing.
Some More Nice Detail Pieces
Vivien With a Small Find
Even though Dianna and I only made it up to the ruins to actually work on the 'dig', we feel privileged to have been allowed to do so and there is also a certain measure of pride that we had a very small part in helping the project come to a successful conclusion. And it just looks so cool!

Is It Pottery or a Rock?
Two Related Pieces
Now, this morning... Well, actually, just before lunch, Dianna and I finally got up to the ruins to take a few shots of the (for now) completed rehabilitation of the Santa Rita ruins.
This Is The Way A Ruins Should Look
It's hard to imagine that people would be willing to destroy their own heritage for road fill... Not even a decent price for a historically priceless thing. But then, what do I know?
An Oblique View. Looking Nice
 The Santa Rita ruins is supposed to be developed as a Wedding Center. Can you imagine a night-time ceremony, back lit and all? How romantic.

This is one of the side walls that helps frame in the grounds facing the ruins.
A Side Wall of the Ruins
Here's my final shot of the ruins. Looks quite magnificent, don't you think? Unless of course, your thing is road-fill, then there's still more work to be done... "Bring in the dump trucks and loader!"
Santa Rita Ruins - Looking majestic

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