19 June, 2008

Since my birthday weekend didn't turn out as I had hope, I decided to make this past weekend a special one and do some fun spectacular nerd things. Of course, what does an archaeologist do on their time off? They go to archaeological sites! And that's exactly what Steven and I did--we went to Dainzu and Yagul, taking a side trip to the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle in between.

After meeting up for an awesome breakfast in Oaxaca and picking up lunch supplies in a grocery store, we took a colectivo out to Dainzu, one of the three archaeological sites right next to the highway between Oaxaca and Mitla. Dainzu is a fairly interesting place--contrary to the way it looks while you¡re driving a 120 km in a colectivo, the walk there from the highway is not short at all. But the views are gorgeous. The picture above is from our walk there.

The site itself is a masterpiece of bad reconstruction and rather unhelpful archaeology. One is informed at the entrance to the site that Dainzu was chosen for its asthetic qualities (which is true, but doesn't tell you much else). Later on we came across another sign that cheerfully stated that the yellow ochre paint and the westerly orientation of the temple might have some connection to religion. Yippee! Aside from the stairs that ended at walls and mystery shafts, the site was still a lot of fun to see. Especially since you really get to go into places that are not allowed and often roped off at the other sites.

Dainzu, picked for settlement because of its asthetic qualities.

After about an hour or so we headed over to Teotitlan del Valle, famous for its woven wool rugs and one of the richer craft villages in the Valley. The village was quite a walk to, so we decided to wait for taxis. Except since none were coming, we hitched a ride in. The first two or three cars just drove right past us but then this blue truck stopped and kindly picked us up. Once inside I saw one of those large bobbins or whatever you call them of woolen thread and guess that the driver and his friend were weavers. Well, a couple of questions later we were driven to the guy's house, after dropping off the friend. Taking us inside he showed off his workshop:

...and even demonstrated for us how rugs are made. Then he brought out a whole bunch for me to look at. I didn't have a lot of money on me but he was willing to work with me on prices and sold me two rugs for very nice prices.

We left the house shortly after purchasing the rugs and walked around town for a bit before picking up some cervecitas and sitting down for a nice lunch.

After chowing down on some quickly made sandwiches of panela cheese, sausage imitating serrano ham and some chipotle chilis in a can, we picked up a cab to go back to the highway, continuing on our journey to the archaeological site of Yagul. A site with a long occupation and several different phases of building that are all sort of there and jumbled together, its also a place with gorgeous views and situated at the top of a hill. There's a really sweet looking ball court:

...and other just amazing buildings and other architectural elements such as fretwork:

But as it had been quite a long day of traveling around and staring at ruins we didn't linger too long and headed back to Mitla for beers with our good friend Richard (who was a graduate student with Flannery back in the 60s!). Another good, though short, weekend, and it totally made up for birthday. Sadly, only a few days remain, and I am quite sad about that. ¡Oaxaca por siempre!

Another awesome view of Yagul.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Hey Marijke,
Sure was a sweet trip, but instead of visiting sites, I´ll be watching a soccer game tomorrow. one can only think about archaeology so much ;)