Archaeology Magazine - Maya Caves of West-Central Belize: Actun Nak Beh: Update 3 - Archaeology Magazine Archive

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Actun Nak Beh: Update 3 "Maya Caves of West-Central Belize"
August 3, 2000
by Sherry Gibbs

This past week excavations at Actun Nak Beh began winding down. In Unit 1 we finally reached the burial underneath the mud avalanche that occurred a few weeks ago. Under a pile of rocks covered with broken pieces of ceramics was Burial 2, which consisted of a thoracic vertebrae and a number of ribs. In the northern portion of the unit, and approximately 10 centimeters below Burial 2, another burial, Burial 3, was uncovered. This simple grave revealed two adults and an infant. These individuals were accompanied by chert flakes, a thin sliver of quartz crystal, and ceramic sherds. Both of these burials were covered in charcoal, however, and none of the bones show any signs of charring. Our primary objective for the placement of Unit 1 was to comprehend burial activity at the entrance of the cave. This objective was reached and, due to time constraints, the unit was closed.

Inside the cave we have also completed excavations in Unit 7 and Unit 4. Unit 7 was excavated more than 130 centimeters below the surface of the ground and has revealed extensive utilization of Chamber 5, a two-by-one meter area, through evidence of multiple ash lenses, ceramics, and faunal remains. Unit 4 was completed after the removal of Burial 1, which involved a block lift of a 10 by 20 centimeter area of concentrated, but not articulated human bones. This burial contained an adult that had been disturbed recently by rodents and/or looters. Due to these intrusive activities, it is uncertain whether any grave goods were present.

July 16 | Nak Beh Intro