Collaborative Archaeology South of the Border

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2007




There is a soft tinkling of an accordion in the distance. Unseen people sing along, gathering their voices for the chorus. The heat of the day fades and is replaced hy a cool desert breeze as meteors streak across the night sky. All around it is dark. We are among a group of American graduate students sitting against the ramada of a modest two-room dwelling, taking in the scene. It is a stark contrast to the noise and light of Berkeley, and the calm is soothing after a long day navigating southbound traffic on Interstate 5. Out of the shadows, our host appears. He accepts a chair and sits, following our gaze to the sky. He tells us the names of various stars in his native language, and we reciprocate by reciting the names of the constellations in English. Everyone laughs as we take turns saying the foreign words. Eventually, the topic of conversation drifts to the work that brings us here to Santa Catarina. a small Paipai community in the mountains of northern Baja California.