Writing | Rage | Story Origins | Deposition

The story of an understanding made between a police officer and a suspect in the murder of a famous archaeologist in Guatemala.

Story Origins


I first went to the Yucatán Peninsula as a child in the 1970s and was awestruck by the Aztec and Mayan ruins I saw there. Since that time I've loved exploring history and ancient cultures, so much so that for six years I became a shovel bum (eventually rising to field director) when I worked for a cultural resource management firm salvaging archaeological sites before they were destroyed by encroaching developments.

During my days slinging a shovel, I met a lot of interesting people who've surveyed, excavated, and had adventures around the world--people who've found a man buried as a vampire in Cyprus, people who've been robbed at gunpoint by banditos in Central America, people who had the opportunity to be the first person in almost 10,000 years to hold an artifact (I joined that club when I found a Hi-Lo Point in Ontario), and people who were the first to discover a village abandoned over 500 years ago (me again). Working in archaeology was a lot of fun and generally we'd be out in the field for long periods of time (this wasn't a come home at the end of the day type of job). As such, we got to know each other very well, and as most of us were highly educated, relatively young, but all rather poor, we tended to bond quickly and often found ourselves doing some rather stupid things (especially seeing as a lot of archaeology can be back-breaking and tedious), although we all cared a great deal about the work we were doing.

And that's where this story comes from. Set in a fictional Guatemalan comedor, "Deposition" picks up midway through a field season which has gone horribly wrong with an archaeologist being interviewed by the local police next to the dead body of her director.


This story originally appeared in issue 40.4 of Grain in Summer 2013 (the Making It: 40th Anniversary issue).




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