Searching the Archive
The Four Valleys Archive is structured using an archaeological system for tracking horizontal and vertical proveniences in the field, composed of the following elements:
You can search for all data associated with any of those elements. Below are descriptions of each element, and instructions and examples of how to search for them.
To begin, click “Advanced Search” in the left navigation panel. Use the dropdown menu to select “Title”.
Region: Region refers to the valley in which the research was carried out: PVN for the Naco valley; CSB: for central Santa Barbara (the middle Ulua drainage); LCV for the lower Cacaulapa valley; EPV for the El Paraíso valley.
How to Search: Enter the abbreviation for the region you want to see in the Title search.
Example: “PVN” will bring up all the records associated with the Naco Valley.
Operation: Operation refers to a specific area within that region. Generally, each site has a distinct Operation number. Large centers are subdivided into multiple operations to facilitate control over the location of materials within their extensive limits.
How to Search: Enter the region and the number of the operation you want to search into the Title field.
Example: “PVN 410” will bring up all the records associated with operation 410 in the Naco Valley.
Suboperation: Subopertion references a specific excavation conducted within an Operation. Suboperations are designated using letters in the Naco, Cacaulapa, and Santa Barbara valleys and using numbers in the El Paraíso valley.
How to Search: Enter the region, operation number, and suboperation letter in the Title field.
Example: “PVN 410 B” will bring up all the records associated with suboperation B of operation 410 in the Naco Valley.
Lot: Lot specifies a particular collection unit, usually measuring 1m2 and of varying depth, defined horizontally and vertically (the latter with reference to a datum or absolute elevation) within a Suboperation. Like Operations, Lots are designated in a continuous sequence of numbers. In the case of Lots, that sequence is unique to particular Suboperations.
How to Search: Enter the region, operation, suboperation, and lot number in the Title field.
Example: “PVN 410 B 001” will bring up all the records associated with Lot 1 of suboperation B of operation 410 in the Naco Valley.
Searching Catalog Sheets
You can search catalog sheets by type of artifact. The key to types of artifacts can be found here.
How to Search: Enter the abbreviation for the type of artifact in the Title field.
Example: “BDS” will bring up all the catalog sheets that describe beads.
Abbreviations Used in the Archive
In addition to the formal structure above, there are some abbreviations that you might come across while searching the collection. The key to those abbreviations is below.
Structure (abbreviated ‘Str.’): A structure is a distinct collection of architectural features that together comprise a coherent building. Buildings that came to light during excavation, but were not buried by later construction or recognized and numbered during initial mapping of a site, are identified using a sub-structure construction sequence. Hence, Structure 48-Sub1 designates a construction found in the course of excavating Str. 48 but not recorded from remains found on modern ground surface. When multiple construction phases of one building are identified, and these versions cover their predecessors, they are given a sequence of numbers such that the earliest iteration of the structure has the highest number. Hence, Str. 48-1st is the final version of that edifice, preceded by, and burying, earlier Strs. 48-2nd, and 48-3rd.
Construction Unit (abbreviated ‘U.’): A specific element that is part of a structure (e.g., a wall foundation, floor, step). Construction units are numbered in a sequence linked to each structure.Feature (abbreviated ‘F.’): Features are entities that seem to result from human action but are not clearly parts of formal constructions. For example, debris fallen from architecture is designated as a feature. All features are numbered in a sequence linked to each structure.
Stratum (abbreviated ‘S.’): Stratum refers to a soil level that was naturally deposited and is distinguished by some combination of its texture, compaction, hue, and contents. All strata are numbered in a sequence linked to each structure.