NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, July 21, 2021, HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES. Watch this space for further info on future meetings.

NEXT FIELD TRIP = TBA - watch this space for details as they develop.

Please Support Our Latest Project!

The Grant County Archaeological Society seeks donations for our 2020-2021 season’s priority
project at the Mattocks Site/Mimbres Culture Heritage Site in the Mimbres Valley, New Mexico.

AerialMattocks.jpg
Mattocks Site/Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. Wood House, center. © Mitchell Clinton, Mitchell Clinton Photography. All Rights Reserved.

The Vision: When the members of the Mimbres Foundation excavated and subsequently purchased the Mattocks Site in southwestern New Mexico’s Mimbres Valley, they envisioned not simply preserving the archaeological site but to transform it and its historic buildings into the Mimbres Archaeological Research and Education Center. The members of the Mimbres Foundation have remained faithful to their vision throughout the ensuing decades; they and other archaeologists continue to support the Grant County Archaeological Society’s efforts at the Mattocks Site. We now have the opportunity to take further steps to fulfill their vision.

The Opportunity: Our partners in preservation, the Imogen F. Wilson Education Foundation (IFWEF), own and maintain the historic buildings located at the Mattocks Site/Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. IFWEF has invited the Grant County Archaeological Society (GCAS) to relocate our library, archives, and collections of potsherds and artifacts from our current quarters in the site’s main ranch house (the Gooch House) to a larger space in the adjacent historic Wood House.

The Plan: The GCAS will develop two ground floor rooms of the Wood House into a research station and lab, to better accommodate the archaeologists and field schools we and IFWEF typically host at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. Concurrently we will make our library, archives, and collections more accessible to our members and visiting researchers. For example, one of our ongoing projects has been to cross-reference our library’s assemblage of research materials and field notes for over 188 archaeological sites with the portions of our potsherd and artifact collections that donors reported were collected from some of the same sites.

The Challenge: The interior of the Wood House - built of adobe in 1882 - requires thorough rehabilitation before use as a reference library or archaeological research station is feasible. IFWEF has installed a new roof and is undertaking the remaining general rehabilitation of the Wood House (plumbing and electrical upgrades; repairs to floors, walls, and ceilings; etc.). Meanwhile, the GCAS will take on the projects related to making our designated spaces usable as an archaeological library, field school research lab, and study area (specialized lighting, security and safety measures; WiFi installation; repair, construction, and/or purchase of bookcases and other furnishings; etc.). We expect most of the required labor will be done by GCAS volunteers but we need help to cover the expenses of materials, fixtures, furnishings, and supplies; and licensed contractors if necessary. The educational programs the GCAS has offered each year since 1999 to the students of seven local schools will resume at the Mattocks Site/Mimbres Culture Heritage Site post-pandemic and will continue as we develop the Mimbres Archaeological Research and Education Center.

The Goal: The GCAS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Our goal is to raise $10,000 in donations that the GCAS will spend exclusively on the GCAS’s portion of the necessary rehabilitation and upgrades in the Wood House at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. Please contribute to help the GCAS establish the Mimbres Archaeological Research and Education Center (MAREC) as the members of the Mimbres Foundation envisioned. The GCAS welcomes your donations via either our website, at https://www.gcasnm.org/news/donate-marec.html, or via standard mail by sending your checks to:

Grant County Archaeological Society, Attn: MAREC
PO Box 1713
Silver City NM 88062

For further information please contact Marianne Smith at email: webmaster@gcasnm.org or telephone: 772-529-2627; or email Marilyn Markel at mmarkelmimbres@gmail.com or telephone: 575-536-9337. Thank you so much for your generosity in helping us to achieve this goal.

/s/ webmaster

 


Human Migration Patterns, DNA, and Vikings

Human genomeReaders of this here blog know that our basic policy is to focus upon archaeological developments in our own region because there's certainly plenty of it. However, readers also know that our policy includes an exception whenever news of advancements in DNA research is involved. Behold:

A 10-year DNA study of human remains from Viking-Age burials across Europe and beyond (generally, 750 CE - 1050 CE) is leading anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians to redefine who Vikings were. The DNA results revealed many cases of individual and group mobility, such as four brothers buried together in one Viking grave in Estonia, and a pair of cousins buried hundreds of miles apart from each other - one in Oxford, UK, and the other in Denmark. Additionally, the DNA results revealed that Vikings from certain areas preferred specific destinations for raiding and trading - refuting the traditional assumption that Vikings conducted their sailing expeditions wherever the winds of fortune carried them.

Continue reading "Human Migration Patterns, DNA, and Vikings" »


Obsidian and Human Travel Patterns

Obsidian core  flakesObsidian was valued by ancient cultures for its sharpness and durability. Archaeologists commonly find obsidian nodules or worked obsidian in the form of points, knife blades, etc., in archaeological sites throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond. Because of the particular way obsidian is formed, each source of obsidian has a unique geochemical signature. Thus researchers can identify where the obsidian that was used to make a particular artifact originally came from. The source provides clues about how the humans who made the artifacts interacted with other groups, either via trade or migration. In our own region, artifacts and raw material originating from the obsidian deposits at Mule Creek, New Mexico, have been found at archaeological sites up to 120 miles away.

Continue reading "Obsidian and Human Travel Patterns" »


Meet Our MAREC Donor Family

ThxWe of the GCAS cannot say "thank you" often enough to all the supporters of our MAREC rehabilitation project. Please join these wonderful people as we move into the final stretch of construction - and if you have contributed but do not see your name on the list below, please contact us so we can correct our error and thank you properly!

Continue reading "Meet Our MAREC Donor Family" »


2021's First GCAS Field Trip!

2021 Arch Fair 1 2021 Arch Fair 5It's been a long time coming - 16 months to be exact - but the GCAS field trip program is gradually reemerging from its Pandemic Pause. Our group jumped at the chance to inaugurate our New Normal by visiting the Gila River Farm archaeological site near Cliff, New Mexico, on June 26, 2021. Our group's friend, Dr. Karen Schollmeyer of Archaeology Southwest, and her field school crew shared with us the latest results of their work at their annual Archaeology Fair.

Continue reading "2021's First GCAS Field Trip!" »


MAREC Progress Report - Phase V

MAREC volunteersThis latest installment of our MAREC project finds our volunteers (that's some of them over there on the right) completing smaller, more compartmentalized jobs in between visits by IFWEF’s contractor. He and his crew carried out our request to coat the flat, smooth sheetrock on the lab and library’s ceilings, fireplace encapsulation, and electrical panel with an orange-peel texture so that those surfaces would harmonize with the walls' coarser stucco. We were not disappointed. The results are superb.

Continue reading "MAREC Progress Report - Phase V" »


A Couple Quick Virtual Tours of Petroglyphs

MpppThe Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project in Velarde, New Mexico, recently added to their website two short virtual tours of some select petroglyphs under their protection. If you cannot travel to tour Mesa Prieta in person, these virtual tours give you a taste of how unique the site with its 100,000+ petroglyphs truly is. Descriptive text accompanies these virtual images, which can be rotated in 3D for enhanced viewing pleasure. Check out their Heraldic Lions Tour or their Shields and Shield Bearers Tour, then follow the link to their Sketchfab page to have fun with even more 3D petroglyph images!

/s/ webmaster [photo via Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project]


Set the Date: El Paso Museum of Archaeology Reopens June 24!

EPMuseumArchThe El Paso Museum of Archaeology reopens on June 24, 2021, with a new schedule. Anyone can visit from Thursdays through Saturdays, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission is free.

The Museum announces that their regular galleries will be open as well as their special exhibition, “From the Edge of Center: The Chacoan Outliers.” Visitors to the special exhibit will enjoy artifacts from the Museum's permanent collection as well as items from the Salmon Ruins near Farmington, New Mexico, on loan from the San Juan County Museum Association.

For more information contact Jeff Romney at 915-755-4332 or romneyjk@elpasotexas.gov.

Perhaps a GCAS field trip to El Paso is in order?

/s/ webmaster


June 16, 2021: A Momentous Occasion

18 - 2d floor  securedMark your calendars for 6:30 PM on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, to attend the GCAS's first post-pandemic in-person general meeting! Meet at the Roundup Lodge at 91 Acklin Hill Road in Mimbres, New Mexico.  Due to ongoing renovations at the Roundup we must defer our traditional summertime potluck dinner in favor of FINGER FOOD SNACKS ONLY for yourself or to share. Your beverages must be in recyclable containers and there is no cleanup available except for what you can take home yourself or put in the trash.

Continue reading "June 16, 2021: A Momentous Occasion" »


In Search Of: Past GCAS Newsletters

View to W GCAS LibraryThe GCAS began in 1928 but we never had a reliable location to shelve our growing Library and Archives. Instead, our group's materials remained in assorted boxes and bins and traveled amongst various GCAS members who stored them at their homes. Thanks to the Imogen F. Wilson Education Foundation (IFWEF), the GCAS Library and Archives finally found a stable home of their own at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site in 2016. Now in 2021, IFWEF and the GCAS are rehabilitating two ground floor rooms of the Heritage Site's Wood House; once the rehab is complete the GCAS will box and bin their materials once again and relocate into those two rooms. There, our Library and Archives will become more accessible and our educational programs will have space for our annual research and experiential workshops.

Continue reading "In Search Of: Past GCAS Newsletters" »


Ancient Americas - Linky Goodness to Events and Lectures

44 - TzintzuntzanOne advantage the covid pandemic has given us avocational archaeologists is the opportunity to become familiar with the abundance of online sources suitable for our continuing education and entertainment. Here is another such source we'd encourage everyone to check out: it's Mike Ruggeri's clearinghouse for links to lectures, events, and web pages regarding archaeological investigations throughout North, Central, and South America, including our own region of interest.

64 - Yaxchilan approach thru jungle from riverMike Ruggeri showcases Ancient Americas events on Tumblr - bookmark this link and refer to it early in each month for that whole month's list of Zoom lectures & live conferences: http://mikeruggerisevents.tumblr.com

Links to his web pages featuring the cultures of Northern Mexico, Mesoamerica, Mississippian, and many more are here: https://mikeruggerispages.tumblr.com/

Finally, to connect to YouTube videos of past lectures including those of the Amerind Foundation, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Steve Lekson, Paul Minnis, the Peabody Museum, and so much more throughout our hemisphere, go to this page: https://mikeruggerisyoutube.tumblr.com/

/s/ webmaster [photos of Tzintzuntzan and Yaxchilan by M.Smith]