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Letter To The Belfry Inmates

From SUE LLOYD

Dear Chris and other Belfry inmates!

Ain't this paper posh! A collector’s piece, you know - they only printed 50 sheets or something incredible like that!  (Ed. note. The paper is headed ASOCIACION MEXICANA DE ESPELEOLOGIA  A.C.) As for their motto, well, they do less caving than the ... (mm, who shall we be rude about ... ) Wessex! (the motto is:- to know the world underground).

So summer is ending - I guess the cooler evenings will be driving you to the Hunters at a more decent, earlier hour now!  For us, the rains have stopped and the sun is really good.  I'm talking about the weather - sorry!  You can tell we’ve got more British teachers out here to influe¬nce us!  About ten young people came out for the beginning of the term - socially, life is much better this year - they're a good lot of beer swillers.  Do you know, after a year of rejecting it, I've at last got the palate for Mexican beer, so life is worth living again!

I haven't written for a while because I wanted to tell you about an important ‘find’.  We had the luck to discover four burial pots in one of our Cuetzalan caves and I was trying to avoid mentioning it until it was all in the hands of the museum.  Mexican laws with regards to archaeological finds are really tough.  We were caving with three eager Mexicans from the club when one of them insisted on pushing a squeeze.  Pete and he got through into a metre wide, metre and half high streamway and followed it to the site.  Farther downstream is a boulder choke - there must have been an entrance there once as there's no way anybody would have shoved their dead through that squeeze.

The four bowls are about half a metre wide, unpainted and all intact.  Inside is a black soil which we presume to be cremation remains, as it is so ‘rich’, which covers an incredible collection of jade and onyx pieces. The most impressive are the 30 or so funeral 'masks' which are typically Teotihuacan (100 – 600 A.D.) – the Teotihuacan civilisation lived just north of Mexico City, and built the infamous pyramids.  These masks were worn on (string) around the neck - if you see the life size diagram on the previous page, you can imagine what a weight they must have been to wear, being made of alabaster/onyx etc.

Most of the other pieces were relatively smaller and of Mayan origin (see smaller sketch) - many of them are made in beautiful green jade.  Hundreds of beads also filled up the pots.

So, it was all pretty exciting!  We decided to keep in with the law, so arranged with Puebla Museum to take it over.  However, they didn’t make it at the time arranged, so it’s still all the cave! One interesting idea about the find is that Cuetzalan must have been on a trade route between Teotihuacan and the Mayas of Yucatan when this bloke snuffed it!  Although there are some pyramids about 30km. from the cave, they’re of a different age – other than that, we don’t know of any other remains around – maybe we’ll have to look a bit closer!

So, what else.  Pete spent 36 hours in jail recently!  A woman smashed into him when he was driving at 15kph! The policeman on the scene watched the women creating in Latin style at Pete, who wound the window and ignored her. Pete unfortunately had no bribe for the policeman, who ushered Pete off to the police station - now 9.00pm. at night. When he wasn’t back at school time next am, I started to wonder where landed himself.  The school lawyer tracked him down, and had bailed him out by evening.  Though not Pete’s fault, he ended up paying this woman just to shut her up!

Looking forward to hearing from you

Love, Sue

 

Teotihuacan funeral mask (100 – 600 A.D.)

Jade Mayan Figure