Photo & Video Log

This page contains photos and videos regarding the Exploring the Hidden World of the Maritime Maya, 2011 Exploration taking place between May 9 to May 27, 2011. Click on any image to view a larger version and for additional information. If a movie camera icon camera icon is present, a video can be viewed by clicking on the image. Multiple video formats are available on the linked pages. If a Podcast icon Podcast Icon is present, a video or audio file is available for download or you can subscribe to the RSS Podcast Feed. NOAA Podcast RSS 2.0 Feed

If a slideshow icon slideshow icon is present, a visual log of exploration images can be viewed. You can scroll through them one by one, or select the play button for an automatic slideshow.

(HR) = "High Resolution" images available.

camera icon Video & Slideshows

Stopmotion video showing sorting process.

camera icon December 20
These 110 frames represent appoximately 2 hours of sorting and documenting artifacts.

Dr. Beverly Goodman discusses the coring project at Vista Alegre and the clues to the site's past that can be found when opening up a core.

camera icon October 5
Dr. Goodman discusses the coring project at Vista Alegre and the clues to the site's past that can be found when opening up a core.

A panoramic view of Vista Alegre’s East Harbor as Dr. Dominique Rissolo explores the harbor’s shallow waters discovering artifacts from the ancient Maya who once inhabited the site.

camera icon September 22
A panoramic view of Vista Alegre’s East Harbor as Dr. Dominique Rissolo explores the harbor’s shallow waters.

Watch a 360° view of the foliage at one of 40 locations documented by Derek Smith during his ecological survey of the site shows the variety of plant species growing at Vista Alegre including palms (Family: Palmae) and a small Gumbo Limbo or Tourist Tree.

camera icon September 16
Watch a 360° view of the foliage at one of 40 locations documented by Derek Smith.

Watch a video presentation of the scope of the Exploring the Hidden World of the Maritime Maya 2011 Exploration, presented by Dr. Jeffrey Glover, and Dr. Dominique Rissolo.

camera icon Mission Intro
Watch a video Podcast Icon Podcast of the scope of the Maritime Maya exploration presented by Dr. Jeffrey Glover, and Dr. Dominique Rissolo.

View a slideshow of selected images representative for this specific exploration.

camera icon Mission Intro
View a slideshow of selected images representative for this specific exploration.

View a Google Map of selected points representative of the exploration researh area.

Mission Summary
View a Google Earth/Maps Google Map of the Vista Alegre research area in Laguna Holbox.

 

 

Images

Standing knee-deep in a partially enclosed lagoon-like area near Vista Alegre, Trish Beddows measures the salinity and pH of the water to gather another data point for the salinity map of the area surrounding Vista Alegre. The waters in this area had unexpectedly high salinity levels.

Mission Summary
Trish measures the salinity and pH of the water to gather another data point for the salinity map of the area surrounding Vista Alegre. (HR)

The team works together using a mobile coring platform and tripod to collect a core from the West Tidal Flat area of Vista Alegre. The West Tidal Flats had very shallow water that also had extremely high salinity.

Mission Summary
The team works together using a mobile coring platform and tripod to collect a core from the West Tidal Flat area.   (HR)

Collecting cores in the field required a team effort and coordination of equipment and people. The team makes use out of the floating coring platform and canoes to collect a core from the West Harbor area. Using a camera mounted on a 5-meter pole, Dominique Rissolo is able to capture an overhead view of the process.

Mission Summary
Collecting cores in the field required a team effort and coordination of equipment and people. (HR)

Dominique Rissolo helps Derek Smith measure and photo-document a partial crocodile skeleton that was discovered during an ecological survey near Vista Alegre. Ecological surveys were conducted all around the site to create a picture of the current flora and fauna to compare with data found in archaeological records as well as the ecological records from the cores.

Mission Summary
Dominique helps Derek measure a partial crocodile skeleton that was discovered during an ecological survey. (HR)

During excavations at Vista Alegre, one of the more interesting items uncovered was a nearly intact Ticul Thin Slate bowl. During the time of the Maya, bowls similar to this were produced in an area near Coba, which is roughly 100 km (~62 miles) to the south of Vista Alegre.

Mission Summary
One of the more interesting items uncovered was a nearly intact Ticul Thin Slate bowl. (HR)

A cream-colored slate dish discovered during excavations was most likely produced in areas near Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, close to 150 km (~93 miles) southwest of Vista Alegre.

Mission Summary
A cream-colored slate dish discovered during excavations -- most likely produced in areas near Chichen Itza. (HR)

caption

Mission Summary
Jeffrey, Wes, Dominique and Beverly sit and discuss options for collecting cores in the East Harbor. (HR)

 

TThe main municipal building in Kantunilkin displays festive and bright holiday lights.

December 20 Log
The main municipal building in Kantunilkin displays festive and bright holiday lights. (HR)

Trish Beddows and her team from Northwestern University packed and ready to roll out for the return trip to Vista Alegre.

December 20 Log
Trish Beddows and her team from Northwestern University packed and ready to roll out for the return trip to Vista Alegre. (HR)

Here, Ed Mallon, chose a spot adjacent to one of the archaeological structures at the site to string his hammock.

December 20 Log
Here, Ed Mallon, chose a spot adjacent to one of the archaeo-logical structures at the site to string his hammock. (HR)

Dr. Trish Beddows collects water samples from Rio Xuxub with the assistance of Alice Carter and Rohi Jaijel.

December 20 Log
Dr. Trish Beddows collects water samples from Rio Xuxub with the assistance of Alice Carter and Rohi Jaijel. (HR)

Georgia State University student, Hazel Sanchez, water-screens buckets of sediment from the excavation unit looking for artifacts.

December 20 Log
Georgia State University student, Hazel Sanchez, water-screens buckets of sediment from the excavation unit looking for artifacts. (HR)

reshwater is discovered about 60-cm down into an excavation unit.

December 20 Log
reshwater is discovered about 60-cm down into an excavation unit.  (HR)

Located on the surface in the eastern part of the site, this artifact represents the handle of a censer. 

December 20 Log
Located on the surface in the eastern part of the site, this artifact represents the handle of a censer. 

 

The small fishing-village of Cabo Catoche is located at the northern-most tip of the Yucatan Peninsula where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea converge. The confluence of these two bodies of water creates very productive waters and an environment ideal for fishing.

October 14 Log
The small fishing-village of Cabo Catoche is located at the northern-most tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. (HR)

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus), or known in the Yucatan as el Tiburon Ballena is the largest living species of fish. They are slow-moving filter-feeders, and are found mostly in warm tropical oceans. Whale sharks can grow up to over 40ft long and have a distinctive spotted pattern on their skin. While not endangered, the species is listed as vulnerable.

October 14 Log
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus), or known in the Yucatan as el Tiburon Ballena is the largest living species of fish.   (HR)

There are no cars – only golf carts on the sand-paved streets of Isla Holbox. The small town in largely sustained by the eco-tourism and fishing industries.

October 14 Log
There are no cars – only golf carts on the sand-paved streets of Isla Holbox. (HR)

In addition to marine life, flamingos and other tropical birds draw eco-tourists to the northern Yucatan and Isla Holbox.

October 14 Log
In addition to marine life, flamingos and other tropical birds draw eco-tourists to the northern Yucatan and Isla Holbox. (HR)

A large portion of the northern Yucatan, including Isla Holbox is protected as part of the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. Here, a turtle nest is protected and marked on Isla Holbox to keep both tourists and residents from disturbing it.

October 14 Log
A large portion of the northern Yucatan, including Isla Holbox is protected as part of the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve. (HR)

 

 

 

Dr. Jeffrey Glover stands at the end of an interesting rock alignment discovered at the waters edge of the East Harbor. The rocks parallel the current shoreline.

October 7 Log
Dr. Jeffrey Glover stands at the end of an interesting rock alignment discovered at the waters edge of the East Harbor. (HR)

The electronic total station is set up at Vista Alegre to create a topographic map of the site. The device uses lasers and  a prism to create a very precise and detailed map.

October 7 Log
The electronic total station is set up at Vista Alegre to create a topographic map of the site. (HR)

To fully survey the island, several transects had to be cut through the jungle using machetes. Here, Dominique Rissolo marks the edge of a feature while a survey line is cleared.

October 7 Log
To fully survey the island, several transects had to be cut through the jungle using machetes. (HR)

Broken pieces of pottery, or sherds, are carefully examined in one of the excavation units at Vista Alegre. Sherds were commonly found in middens and excavation units at the site.

October 7 Log
Broken pieces of pottery, or sherds, are carefully examined in one of the excavation units at Vista Alegre. (HR)

A bark beater, used by the ancient Maya to pound bark into paper, was discovered in one of the excavation units.

October 7 Log
A bark beater, used by the ancient Maya to pound bark into paper, was discovered in one of the excavation units. (HR)

Obsidian collected from an excavation unit at Vista Alegre. Obsidian is a volcanic glass that was used for blades by the Maya and widely traded across Mesoameric. It was not found local to the Yucatan and may have come from as far away as areas near present-day Mexico City.

October 7 Log
Obsidian collected from an excavation unit at Vista Alegre. (HR)

A collection of shell beads, animal bone fragments and other small artifacts found in excavations at Vista Alegre.

October 7 Log
A collection of shell beads, and animal bone fragments found in excavations at Vista Alegre.   (HR)

Drs. Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina, both bioarchaeology professors at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY), examine the human remains unearthed at Vista Alegre.

October 7 Log
Drs. Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina examine the human remains unearthed at Vista Alegre. (HR)

A composite photograph of the remains discovered at Vista Alegre. The femur initially seen in 2008 was fully exposed, as was the rest of the body. However, the torso and cranium of the individual were missing.

October 7 Log
A composite photograph of the remains discovered at Vista Alegre. (HR)

 

 

 

The team works together to carefully open up one of the core collected at Vista Alegre.  Cores were cut length-wise using a small circular saw and then carefully pried apart with tools to split the sample into two equal parts.

October 5 Log
The team works together to carefully open up one of the core collected at Vista Alegre. (HR)

Dr. Beverly Goodman samples a core in the field, while behind her Wes Patterson carefully photographs another core prior to sampling.

October 5 Log
Dr. Goodman samples a core in the field, while behind her Wes Patterson carefully photographs another core prior to sampling. (HR)

A cross section of a core shows variations in the sediments captured in this particular core. There is a noticeable change in color of sediments, as well as a change in shell material present.

October 5 Log
A cross section of a core shows variations in the sediments captured in this particular core. (HR)

Beverly Goodman carefully carries a core obtained from a shallow, back lagoonal swamp near the site’s ancient sacbe. The hyper-saline waters and soft sediments often made it a challenge to walk through the area.

October 5 Log
Beverly Goodman carefully carries a core obtained from a shallow, back lagoonal swamp near the site’s ancient sacbe. (HR)

Samples of the core are removed at 1-cm intervals using spoons, and packaged and labeled for further laboratory analysis.

October 5 Log
Samples of the core are removed at 1-cm intervals using spoons, and packaged and labeled for further laboratory analysis. (HR)

 

 

 

Working in a clean environment, Derek Smith carefully attempts to extract ancient DNA from archaeological mollusk samples.

October 3 Log
Working in a clean environment, Derek Smith extracts ancient DNA from archaeological mollusk samples. (HR)

Seagrasses are abundant in the waters surrounding Vista Alegre and are a natural nursery for large, mobile gastropods.

October 3 Log
Seagrasses are abundant in the waters surrounding Vista Alegre and are a natural nursery for large, mobile gastropods. (HR)

Derek Smith holds up one of the many mollusks found in and around middens at Vista Alegre. Further testing, however, will have to be conducted to determine the origin and age of the shell.

October 3 Log
Derek Smith holds up one of the many mollusks found in and around middens at Vista Alegre. (HR)

Shell fragments found in excavation units from Vista Alegre.

October 3 Log
Shell fragments found in excavation units from Vista Alegre. HR)

Derek Smith and Dominique Rissolo put the final touches on the coring platform, constructed using 2 x 4s and two derelict dingys found in Chinquila.

September 26 Log
Derek Smith and Dominique Rissolo put the final touches on the coring platform. (HR)

The Maritime Maya expedition team at Vista Alegre in front of the site’s main Palapa.

September 26 Log
The Maritime Maya expedition team at Vista Alegre in front of the site’s main Palapa. (HR)

The booty drying rack, designed and constructed by Dominique and Derek, provided expedition members with an easy way to dry out their booties after spending several hours with them on in the waters around Vista Alegre.

September 26 Log
The booty drying rack, designed and constructed by Dominique and Derek. (HR)

To avoid dragging the initial coring platform and dingys through thick mangroves and knee-deep mud, a secondary portable coring platform was constructed using four empty 10-gallon water bottles, a wooden pallet and a few ratchet straps.

September 26 Log
A portable coring platform was constructed using empty 10-gallon water bottles, a wooden pallet and a few ratchet straps. (HR)

Freddy Flores, a welder in Kantuniklin, pays close attention as Trish explains the basic design and concept of creating a metal tripod to pull cores out of the mud. Not only did Freddy create a collapsible and functional tripod, he also surprised the members of the expedition with its pink paint job.

September 26 Log
Freddy Flores pays close attention as Trish explains the basic design and concept of creating a metal tripod to pull cores out of the mud. (HR)

Trish Beddows, Jeffrey Glover and Dominique Rissolo use the pink tripod and portable coring platform to remove a sediment core taken in shallow, hyper-saline waters near Vista Alegre.

September 26 Log
Trish Beddows, Jeffrey Glover and Dominique Rissolo use the pink tripod and portable coring platform. (HR)

Initially constructed in 2008, the latrine at Vista Alegre was significantly improved during the 2011 expedition by securing a toilet seat to a wooden box with a drill and 2 x 4s.

September 26 Log
The latrine at Vista Alegre was significantly improved during the 2011 expedition. (HR)

 

Conducting a preliminary survey of potential coring sites around Vista Alegre, Dan Leonard sinks a metal probe down into the sediments to estimate depth.

September 25 Log
Conducting a preliminary survey of potential coring sites, Dan Leonard sinks a metal probe to estimate depth. (HR)

Trish Beddows proudly stands with Freddy Flores, Kantunilkin’s local welder who created coring equipment, including this pink tripod for the project.

September 25 Log
Trish Beddows proudly stands with Freddy Flores, who created coring equipment, including this pink tripod for the project. (HR)

Surrounded by equipment and supplies for several days of field work, Dominique Rissolo and Beverly Goodman arrive at Vista Alegre on one of the local lanchas from Chiquila, captained by Roberto Echevaria.

September 25 Log
Dominique and Beverly arrive at Vista Alegre on one of the local lanchas from Chiquila. (HR)

Working on the project’s mobile coring platform, Wes Patterson and Beverly Goodman test out the Livingston Corer in the East Harbor.

September 25 Log
Working on the project’s mobile coring platform, Wes Patterson and Beverly Goodman test out the Livingston Corer in the East Harbor. (HR)

Using PVC piping and a hammering device fabricated by Freddy Flores, the team sinks a core in the West Harbor.

September 25 Log
Using PVC piping and a hammering device fabricated by Freddy Flores, the team sinks a core in the West Harbor. (HR)

 

 

 

Just a pile of stones near the shore? Or an ancient Maya dock? This feature, located in the “East Harbor” shoreline of Vista Alegre was first noted by the team in 2005 and may be remnants of a docking area that once accommodated Maya sea-going canoes in and out of Vista Alegre.

September 22 Log
Just a pile of stones near the shore? Or an ancient Maya dock? (HR)

As part of the team works to sample cores from the “East Harbor” area of the site, Dominique Rissolo ventures into the water to explore an interesting feature discovered not too far from the shoreline.

September 22 Log
Dominique Rissolo ventures into the water to explore an interesting feature discovered not too far from the shoreline. (HR)

Dominique Rissolo displays newly discovered pottery sherds from a midden located in the middle of the East Harbor.

September 22 Log
Dominique Rissolo displays newly discovered pottery sherds from a midden located in the middle of the East Harbor. (HR)

A mysterious artifact Dominique pulled from the midden in the East Harbor initially looked like a strange piece of wood, but was later determined to be a manatee bone.

September 22 Log
A mysterious artifact Dominique pulled from the midden in the East Harbor. (HR)

Cenotes provided the ancient Maya with the majority of their water needs. This large cenote, located at Chichen Itza has a green color due to algal blooms. This site served an important role to the large city for sacrifice, while another cenote also within the archaeological site was reserved for water supplies.

September 19 Log
Cenotes provided the ancient Maya with the majority of their water needs. (HR)

Dr. Patricia Beddows dips the hydrolab into waters near Vista Alegre, searching for any trace of freshwater in the vicinity of the site. Almost all the waters in close proximity to Vista Alegre were not just saline – but hyper-saline, exceeding the salinity of sea-water.

September 19 Log
Dr. Patricia Beddows dips the hydrolab into waters near Vista Alegre, searching for any trace of freshwater. (HR)

At the site’s main palapa, which served the expedition team as a work-space, kitchen, dining area and sleeping area, Trish Beddows calibrates the hydrolab in preparation of surveying the water chemistry of the site.

September 19 Log
At the site’s main palapa, Beddows calibrates the hydrolab in preparation of surveying the water chemistry of the site. (HR)

Trish Beddows, Beverly Goodman, Wes Patterson and Dan Leonard work together to open up one of the first cores pulled from the sediments near Vista Alegre, while Dominique Rissolo looks on. In the months following the project, Trish and Beverly will analyze samples from the cores to look back at the site’s prior ecology, water chemistry and species abundance among other variables.

September 19 Log
Trish Beddows, Beverly Goodman, Wes Patterson and Dan Leonard work together to open up one of the first cores. (HR)

The entrance channel to Vista Alegre is lined with red mangroves, while an abundance of seagrass is visible through the clear waters of the estuary.

September 16 Log
The entrance to Vista Alegre is lined with red mangroves, while an abundance of seagrass is visible through the clear waters. (HR)

Palms and the towering Gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) or tourist trees were among some of the common types of vegetation at Vista Alegre. The Gumbo limbo tree is known to locals as the “tourist tree” due to its red, peeling bark – in reference to tourists who come to the Yucatan and get sunburned.

September 16 Log
Palms and the towering Gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) or “tourist trees”. (HR)

Dominique Rissolo heads out of a hardware store in Cancun, Mexico with a cart full of essential supplies for setting up the field camp at Vista Alegre and facilitating field operations and sampling at the site.

September 16 Log
Dominique Rissolo heads out of a hardware store in Cancun, Mexico with a cart full of essential supplies for setting up the field camp. (HR)

Derek Smith prepares to head out for an ecological survey by canoe. With the site being uninhabited, many areas were only accessible via canoe or by cutting paths through the jungle with machetes.

September 16 Log
Derek Smith prepares to head out for an ecological survey by canoe. (HR)

Dominique Rissolo heads out of a hardware store in Cancun, Mexico with a cart full of essential supplies for setting up the field camp at Vista Alegre and facilitating field operations and sampling at the site.

September 14 Log
Dominique Rissolo heads out of a hardware store in Cancun, Mexico with a cart full of essential supplies for setting up the field camp. (HR)

At the team’s base of operations in Kantunilkin, Dominique sorts, labels and prepares to pack gear before heading out to Vista Alegre.

September 14 Log
At the team’s base of operations in Kantunilkin, Dominique sorts, labels and prepares to pack gear before heading out to Vista Alegre. (HR)

The truck is filled with gear, including two canoes, and ready to head off for Vista Alegre.

September 14 Log
The truck is filled with gear, including two canoes, and ready to head off for Vista Alegre. (HR)

Dan Leonard waits with the loaded-down lancha as the team secures the dinghies next to the boat for the trip to Vista Alegre.

September 14 Log
Dan Leonard waits with the loaded-down lancha as the team secures the dinghies next to the boat for the trip to Vista Alegre. (HR)

 

Arriving at Vista Alegre at low tide, Dominique Rissolo tugs the overloaded lancha through the shallow waters of the lagoon.

September 14 Log
Arriving at Vista Alegre at low tide, Dominique Rissolo tugs the overloaded lancha through the shallow waters of the lagoon. (HR)

Once out of the lagoon, the lancha enters the mangrove-lined channel leading to the camp’s dock, rather reminiscent of a theme-park jungle cruise!

September 14 Log
Once out of the lagoon, the lancha enters the mangrove-lined channel leading to the camp’s dock. (HR)

Supplies for several weeks’ worth of archaeological, biological and geological investigations at Vista Alegre are unloaded and wait outside the site’s main palapa  to be sorted and unpacked so the team can begin work.

September 14 Log
Supplies for several weeks’ worth of archaeological, biological and geological investigation. (HR

The team at Vista Alegre gathers around the table at camp for dinner. In addition to explorations and sampling during the day, the team also had to cook and clean for all their meals.

September 14 Log
The team at Vista Alegre gathers around the table at camp for dinner. (HR)

 

A fragment of a Middle Preclassic figurine that was recovered in 2008.

Archaeology
A fragment of a Middle Preclassic figurine that was recovered in 2008. (HR)

A fragment of a Middle Preclassic figurine that was recovered in 2008.

Archaeology
A fragment of a Middle Preclassic figurine that was recovered in 2008. (HR)

A large Caroline Bichrome sherd (rim, neck, and shoulder of large vase).

Archaeology
A large Caroline Bichrome sherd (rim, neck, and shoulder of large vase). (HR)

Sherds of Balantun Black on Slate. This ceramic type was a common domestic ware during the Terminal Classic at Chichén Itzá.

Archaeology
Sherds of Balantun Black on Slate which was a common domestic ware during the Terminal Classic at Chichén Itzá. (HR)

A close-up of two of Balantun sherds.

Archaeology
A close-up of two of Balantun sherds. (HR)

 

 

 

A picture taken of the Castillo at Chichén Itzá. This is one of the most well-known buildings in Mesoamerica.

History
A picture taken of the Castillo at Chichén Itzá. This is one of the most well-known buildings in Mesoamerica. (HR)

An obsidian blade fragment from the Pachuca source in the modern state of Hidalgo, Mexico.

History
An obsidian blade fragment from the Pachuca source in the modern state of Hidalgo, Mexico. (HR)

 

 

Walter Cho examining a  brittlestar in the lab.

Mission Plan
Aerial map showing a portion of Laguna Holbox where Vista Alegre is located. (HR)