NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, online via Zoom, it's the GCAS special holiday meeting starting at the very special time of 6:00 PM. It may not be a “party” in our group's traditional sense, but we anticipate having a slideshow of archaeological images of solstice markers, followed by a slideshow of the AMAZING progress on our new Library and Workspace/Lab in the Wood House at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site, and a reading of Marilyn Markel's annual poem wrapping up the year behind us. If any member has anything they wish to contribute to the fun, be it slideshows, games, announcements, or any etc., please contact Kyle ASAP at kyyote@msn.com . The more the merrier!

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

GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part V
A Well Deserved Honor

GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part VI

Mexico dinner with group 3 - Mata Ortiz hotel portalTo read the full narrative of the great GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V. 20 - Our field trip tour group  14 of 16

I have been remiss in not disclosing that our group dined - and well - while in Mexico. No photos were taken of the excellent seafood restaurant our guide Luis introduced us to in Janos; but we had a more traditional lunch experience in a small hotel in Mata Ortiz that had little trouble in providing our group of 16 gabachos with a classic lunch of chiles rellenos, tacos, and much, much more.  (h/t Marcia Corl for the dining photo up there on the left; webmaster focused instead on the chile ristras along the garden portal.)

Day 3: May 4, 2018. We arrived in Paquimé. The site's thick adobe walls may be slowly dissolving back into the earth, but it remains an awe-inspiring sight to look out over Paquimé's grand plaza, its ceremonial structures, and its residential areas comprising some 1700 rooms.

6 - Residential compound 7 - View of 2d-story floor timbers and floor grooves 12 - Small patio-plaza with drainage feature 16 - Room of 17 corners 11 - Doorway into small plaza + T-doorway with bowed lintel 8 - LtoR = Kyle  Kevin  Josh  Bob  Luis

19 - Pit houses - round in foreground  square in backgroundArchaeologists determined that Paquimé was first settled about 400 CE when people began living in pithouses (see photo, left) near reliable sources of water and the land they were farming. During the following centuries from about 950-1200 CE the pithouses were gradually discontinued and covered by surface structures as the Paquimé settlement grew in size. It appears that a succession of three villages were built here, one on top of the other. At its zenith from about 1200 CE to its abandonment in 1450, Paquimé's structures included heavily reinforced walls and floors of multistory residential units, a walk-in water well, water reservoirs placed strategically around the village, paved canals to deliver water to and from the residential units, pens for breeding macaws (below photo, near right) and turkeys (below photo, far right), and even three Mesoamerican-style ballcourts.

The first archaeologists who excavated Paquimé in the late 1950s-early 15 - Turkey pens 18 - Macaw pens  House of the Macaws1960s concluded that, given the vast quantities of goods and materials they discovered such as ceramics, macaws, turkeys, copper, turquoise, and millions of seashells, Paquimé must have been a significant regional trading hub. In contrast, current archaeological opinion tends to view Paquimé as a trading village that nevertheless may have manufactured and kept many if not most of its valuable goods for its own consumption. The view is that it may have been less of a trading hub and more of a ceremonial center that attracted travelers from other villages to it.

In order to preserve the ruins as well as possible, visitors are now prohibited from climbing on the structures. Certain excavated areas are entirely off limits and can 3 - Agave pit  modern mortar reconstructiononly be viewed from a distance. Other areas have been backfilled or have remained unexcavated. Nevertheless a visitor can get a strong sense of Paquimé society and the work and rituals that were performed here. For example, our group spotted at least three enormous roasting pits for agave throughout the site, suggesting that a large number of people were involved in the events associated with the product's preparation and presentation - perhaps an even greater number of people participated in the activity than the total population of Paquimé itself would have been.

24 - Museum  olla v. cistern lids  macaw-pen plugs  and many metatesPaquimé's museum is well curated with artifacts actually excavated from the site. On display are not only the collections of exquisite ceramics and seashells, and artifacts of copper and bone; but also large quantities of manos and metates, plugs to the macaw pens, and stone lids to ollas and cisterns that archaeologists excavated from Paquimé's many structures. I imagine each person in our group would highly recommend to anyone to travel to Paquimé to learn about the history and culture of Paquimé that is reflected throughout the entire Chihuahuan Desert region - on both sides of the border. Go now!

/s/ webmaster

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