We're always happy to hear from our friends in the Jornada-Mogollon region, and the Jornada Research Institute's Dave Greenwald never disappoints. His latest update has a lot of exciting news for professionals and aspiring avocational volunteers alike. Dave reports:
In November, we returned to Creekside Village and continued excavations in one of the large pithouses, Feature 11. Typically, Mesilla phase pithouses used by the Jornada Mogollon had less than about 7 sq meters of floor area. This is not the case with either Feature 11 or 37 that we have opened so far. Feature 11 measures approximately 7.2 m across, or contains about 38 sq m of floor surface, with Feature 37 only slightly smaller, perhaps about 33 sq m. As we have continued excavation, both of these houses appear to possess a straight side on the SE side of the structure, making them more “D” shaped than circular, as we had originally thought. So, why are these structures so large in comparison to other Mesilla phase pithouses? A likely explanation is because Creekside Village was in fact a “true” village, occupied on a year-round basis (rather than seasonally), whose residents were full-time agriculturalists. The smaller pithouse likely reflected greater mobility of residents, moving as resources became available throughout the year. As agriculturalists, however, residents could remain in one location, raising crops to sustain them throughout the year. Botanical studies have shown that maize accounted for over 80% of the recovered economic plant remains recovered from domestic features and refuse deposits at Creekside compared to about 10% from other Mesilla phase sites with pithouses. With permanent residence and dependence on agriculture, family size or household populations could have been much larger than more mobile groups and as such larger families (whether represented by extended families or immediate family members) would have required greater living space. Based on the size of the houses at Creekside Village we are conservatively estimating a household population of about 10 people per house.
We plan to continue excavating at Creekside Village throughout the winter and spring months on weekends until it gets too hot in May....
GCAS members interested in this exciting news and wanting to participate in JRI's excavations at Creekside Village should contact Dave Greenwald directly about the possibilities. If participation is feasible JRI will verify your membership with the GCAS and give you answers to your questions, excavation dates, and details of the project. If any GCAS member participates in this rare opportunity with the JRI, please keep us informed of your findings and your progress!