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Wednesday Morning at Calakmul
-- a city of 25 square miles --
discovered in 1931, but not uncovered until the 1980's.

↓ Josh under one of these complicated tropical trees.
I'm guessing this is a Banyon tree, but I think many tropicals have this opportunistic root structure.
Notice the first of many stelae on the left. ↓

Pict0007 Josh under tree

↓ Sign about how they calculated a date for the ball court here. ↓
11 sign

↓ Dainty spider showed up colorfully on Mary’s furry white pith helmet ↓

Pict0011cr --spider

↓ Joe took this picture of a monkey.
That black round thing is a fruit hanging on the tree, and those 2 white things might be also...? ↓
23cr --monkey?

↓ Here they left a few trees growing out of the stairway. ↓
28 trees in stairway

↓ There are hundreds of stelae here – carved, inscribed, and dated! ↓
29 stelae

↓ A sign about dates ↓
31 sign about dates

↓ More about dates ↓
32cr closeup

Still at Calakmul
and approaching Structure #2

↓ They number the structures at archeological sites.
Seen here through the trees are numbers 1 (on the far left) and 2 (with a double top).
We will be climbing them later today.

The impression here is that this complex was built on a hill, but that is incorrect.
There are no hills here. This "hill" was built.

This was our view while we ate lunch on top of number_?_.
Well actually this was the camera's telephoto view. We saw something a bit smaller. ↓
16 structures 1, 2 in the distance

↓ More stela – the one on the far right is being eaten by a tree.
Gives a good sense of how these cities became lost in the jungles ↓
34 tree eating a stela

↓ A sign about a particular ruler being referred to by name on other stelae in distant Maya cities.
35 sign re ruler

↓ This is Structure 2, but now we are too close to it to see the top which is set back.
(See illustration that follows a few frames below.) ↓
38 close up of S.2

↓ The workmen are excavating the tunnels inside No. 2 .... Sounds pretty cool, huh?
It will be open to the public, later.

Notice the sizeable dump truck.
When we get to the top we won't be able to see the workmen's trucks anymore.↓
39 workmen 1

↓ A sign about Structure 2. This includes a map with an arrow that indicates the direction we were moving. ↓

Pict0013crbr sign re S.2

↓ Here is another sign about Structure 2 ↓
68 sign1

↓ Joe’s hand is pointing to the top... ↓
69 sign 2

↓ And to where the tunnel is being excavated. ↓
70 sign 3

Climbing Structure #2 at Calakmul

↓ Joe preparing for the ascent ↓
40 joe at bottom of 2

↓ As we climbed, Joe found an open doorway; who could resist? It leads to a dark tunnel. ↓
42 red metal door

↓ So, this is the inside of the tunnel, taken with a flash. ↓
43 inside the tunnel

↓ Hauling debris out of another tunnel and preparing I-beams to reinforce it. ↓
44 workmen 1

↓ Bucket brigade.
I hope that uncovering their ancestor's cities and secrets is satisfying work for these modern Maya.
It certainly must bring in a lot of tourist revenue — in general — even if not at this particular remote site. ↓
45 workmen 2

↓ Further up Structure 2 ↓
48 climbing 2

↓ At the first ledge we are well abve the treetops and the workmen's trucks.
To the far left you can see the structure where we ate our lunch. We saved the one on the right for last. ↓
50 first ledge

↓ But there is more above us. ↓

Pict0017 more above

↓ Mary and Josh on their way up,
and the backside of that lower front half of this temple/observatory that is Structure 2.
The workmen and trucks are obscured by the building we are on. ↓
57 M and J and backside of S. 2

↓ Nearly to the top.
59 Mary coming over the edge

↓ The view to the north, from which we came.
We are a long ways above the treetops. See the trucks? Not any more. ↓
58 view to the north

↓ Joe on top of Structure 2 with Structure 1 in the distance.
He is admittedly not above these little tree tops,
but that is because (to your right) the south side of this pyramid hasn’t been excavated.
It is still thick with plants and centuries of their debris.
Hidden underneath the debris and root–tossed–stones are terraces all the way down to the forest floor. ↓
56 Joe on top

Next we will explore that building behind Joe, Structure #1

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