Artistic building in Cholula, Mexico
Mexico Travel

Day-to-Day Life In Cholula

Art, Food, and Anthropology in Cholula

Today, I would like to showcase the beauty of day-to-day life in Cholula, from the food to the buildings. I walk A LOT – between our apartment, the museum lab, and the marketplace for groceries – and I pass a lot of interesting things.

[Images can be enlarged by clicking on them]

Artistic building in Cholula, Mexico
Mural on one of the buildings across from the museum lab
Cathedral in Cholula zocalo, or town center
The cathedral in the zocalo (or town center). It is said that there are 365 churches in Cholula – one for every day. In reality, I think there are closer to 200, but that is still quite a large amount!
colorful mural outside the museum/lab
One of the paintings on the outside of the lab.
eggs, pan dulce, and coffee for breakfast
An example of our breakfast. The muffin-looking thing is a pastry with sweet cream inside. Sometimes it is flan, sometimes other flavors. It is my absolute favorite pastry here!
In case anyone is wondering, there are plenty of vegetarian things for me to eat here. Although, when I ask for something without meat on it, they always give me a funny look. People always ask me if I want chicken or fish instead of beef/pork and in my head I’m like “no! Those are animals, too!” Also, one time at a restaurant, the server brought out a sauce that looked exactly like salad dressing. So, my professor and I put it on our salads, but it turned out to be a habanero pepper cream!!!! We were both sweating from how hot it was! Delicious, but extremely spicy.
Tortilla soup with fresh avocado
Tortilla soup! One of the best things I have eaten here!

Because I’m all about education, I wanted to give you guys an idea of what we do during burial analysis, so I snapped a couple pictures of the forms we use. There are a total of about 10 forms, but I only have pictures of these four so far.

The first form we fill out (besides the cover page with a summary of our findings) is a skeletal inventory sheet. You record whether each element is missing (dashes), up to 25% present (f), 25-75% present (p), or 75-100% present (c). The letters stand for fragment, partial, and complete.

Immediately after that, we color in a skeleton to show what elements are present This is an easy way for someone to quickly glance at your report and have a basic idea of how complete the individual is.

As you can see, most of these forms say “juvenile” in the upper right hand corner. That is because the forms for adult and juvenile are different. In juveniles, sometimes you have to record deciduous dentition, or the state of the fusion of their bones. How fused certain elements are can give you an excellent idea of the age of a juvenile. So on this page (picture on the left, form 2b), I scored how fused certain bone elements were and used this information to assess age-at-death (see notes section at the bottom of the page). I also used dental wear (mandibular/maxillary attrition).

The last form is one of my least favorite sheets…the dental sheet. You have to record what teeth are present, how developed they are, how worn they are, any pathologies, and certain measurements when possible. I don’t have time to explain all the scoring methods because they are different for each category, but I can quickly explain what some of the terms mean. Caries are cavities. Abcesses occur from infections basically and show up as holes in the bones where pus from the infection drain out. Calculus is plaque buildup. Chipping occurs from eating really hard foods. Periodontitis is basically when the gum is receding from the tooth and the underlying bone becomes porous and thin. Attrition is dental wear – how much the crown gets worn and whether you can see (and how much) the dentin inside. Also, you’ll see that I noted that one of this individual’s teeth is pegged. That means that the growth got impacted and altered the final shape of the tooth. For an incisor, this means that the shape is cylindrical instead of flat (as is normal). And I apologize, I can’t seem to find a decent picture of this phenomenon, but if you want to see a creepy picture of what your mouth looks like before you get your adult teeth in, click here.

We’re supposed to visit downtown Puebla today, I think, so pictures from that excursion will be up soon. Hope everyone is doing well! I do miss the States already!

Until next time – Brianna

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