NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 19, 2023: the GCAS meets at 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City, New Mexico. Light refreshments provided; OK to bring your own light snacks or handy meal (burrito, etc.) & beverage if desired. Doors open at 5 PM for socializing. Meeting starts at 5:30 PM sharp with a short business meeting followed at 5:45 PM by featured speaker and GCAS member Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, who will discuss Bert and Hattie Cosgrove, avocational archaeologists who were instrumental in documenting and preserving a number of local sites including Arenas Valley's Treasure Hill. Meeting to adjourn about 7:00 PM. In order to offer our members a safe and comfortable experience the GCAS follows CDC and New Mexico Department of Health guidelines for indoor gatherings including masking, distancing, and vaccinations. We recommend all attendees follow the same.

NEXT FIELD TRIP: Sunday, April 2, 2023, beginning 9:00 AM: Regular GCAS field trip to City of Rocks State Park - view remnants of Apache shelters along the Cienega Trail, plus features in other easy-access locations like a rock shelter, Apache petroglyph, kiva, and multiple mortar holes. City of Rocks is about a 1-hour drive one-way from Silver City. At 9:00 AM meet at the Cienega Trail trailhead parking (a few hundred yards from the Highway 61 turnoff to the City of Rocks - look on the left side of the road for a parking area with a Port-o-Let). Walk the 1-mile easy Cienega Trail loop to inspect some off-trail features. About 11:00 AM, non-hikers can join the rest of the group to learn about the kiva site a few yards from the Visitor Center. About 11:15 AM, drive round the park’s perimeter road to the north side to view the rock shelter, Apache petroglyph, and mortar holes (short but moderately steep walk uphill from area near campsite #35). Picnic lunch follows at any convenient unoccupied campsite.

Prehispanic Burial Practices
GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part II

GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part I

22 - Olla - LtoR= GB  Luis  site steward  Marcia  Anne  KM  Kevin  unk  JuliaThe three-day GCAS international field trip to Paquimé, Chihuahua, Mexico, May 2-4, 12 - Tour guide Luia Benavidez2018, was a great success. A total of 16 hardy souls participated: four from El Paso; one from Las Cruces; one from Santa Fe; and ten from assorted locales around Grant County, New Mexico. Our tour guide, Luis Benavidez, and his associate, Oscar, took very good care of us while introducing us to points of interest all over the place. That's Luis, over there in that photo on the right.

May 2 found our group in two vans, checking in with Mexican Immigration in Palomas and then riding for about three hours from there to the greater Nuevo Casas Grandes area. Our first archaeological destination of the trip was among the windswept mountains of 6 - Olla  valley floorthe Sierra Madre Occidental near the town of Ignacio Zaragoza. We visited cliff 26 - Trail from Olla to Golondrinas with Rio Piedras Verdesdwellings in two separate cliff-side caves along the valley of the Rio Piedras Verdes. Luis explained to us that millennia ago this region was somewhat similar to the Mimbres River in New Mexico, in that archaeological sites of small groups of dwellings have been found every few miles along the river and its fertile valley. Human occupation in certain parts of this valley has been dated to 5500 BCE.

2 - Olla  closer 10 - Walls  wall marks on ceiling  Luis points to chute mouth 13 - Olla detail with palm fibers in adobeWe parked the vans and took a short hike of about 1-1/4 miles to the cliff dwellings of La Cueva de la Olla, ruins notable for the immense, olla-shaped granary located there. (The far left photo shows a portion of the "olla" in the left-center of the cave's mouth.) Similar food storage construction has been found at other sites, but this particular "olla" stands about 12 feet high and has a diameter of about 7 feet at its widest point (see middle photo). It was built of a style of adobe, with palm fronds embedded in its rounded walls (see third photo). Food could be removed or added by one of several openings in its bottom and sides, and it could be filled to the top by reaching its uppermost mouth from the upper floor or roof of the cliff dwellings. It held enough grain or herbs such as amaranth seeds, epazote leaves, guaje pods, sotol, etc., to sustain the residents during the cold mountain winters for as long as 170 days.

Archaeologists estimate that this site was occupied by at least 30 individuals - and their granary was in use - 19 - Olla - ruins + vertical post enclosurefrom about 950 CE to 1050 CE. The walls of the cliff dwellings no longer reach to the cave's roof, but visible in the second/middle photo of the row of three shown above, are the bleached lines in the rock showing where the walls once stood. Similar to many cliff-dwelling sites throughout the US Southwest, La Cueva de la Olla's pueblo had window/ventilation openings that were small and doorways that were narrow and T-shaped for defensive advantage. Rumor has it that the "olla" and perhaps even the walls of the cliff dwellings themselves were originally decorated with black and red paint, but if that is the case few if any traces remain today. be continued...

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