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The Dumbarton Oaks Project Grant enabled the complete recording of the El Gavilán archaeological site by applying non-destructive techniques.The topographic mapping was completed utilizing three instruments that precisely measure distances; the Leica HDS 3000 3D Scanner (Figure 4), the Leica TCRA 1103 Total Station and the Leica Viva GS 10 GPS system.Upon initial documentation and subsequent sketch mapping, the site yielded a significant number of stone sculptures related to the Chontales style of anthropomorphic sculptures found in the region bordering Lake Nicaragua to the north.At least 13 sculptures were found to be nearly completely intact and another 31 were counted based on large fragments.For related reasons, this fieldwork aimed to stimulate the preservation of El Gavilán for future investigation and public interest.
Roughly two-thirds of the entire corpus display modified exterior surfaces in the form of low relief and incision carving.
Eduviges The scientific interest in stone sculpture has been present in the archaeological investigation of Nicaragua from the mid 19th century onward starting with the central Nicaraguan travels of the Austrian Knight Emmanuel von Friedrichsthal, to be followed by for example the well-known US diplomat and archaeologist Ephraim Squier.
The enduring character of stone sculpture and its evocative associations to questions of monumentality and memory provided for this steady stream of attention, particularly in neighboring Mesoamerican hot-beds of monumental sculpture such as the Preclassic period, the Classic Lowland Maya or among the Late Postclassic Mexica.
The GPS System was used to gather X, Y and Z positions to tie in the survey to the world coordinates.
This DEM now provides the baseline for future archaeological and heritage related activities at the site and will enable the monitoring of sculpture degradation caused by environmental factors, mainly meteorological conditions and anthropogenic activities.
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The recent history for sculptures in Nicaragua is no different.