NEXT MEETING: Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 6:00PM: The GCAS’s general meeting IS RESCHEDULED from the usual third Wednesday of the month to the following Saturday, October 21, 2023, beginning at 6:00PM, for a special meeting and potluck dinner at 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City to welcome visiting members of the GCAS's friends and generous supporters of our MAREC project, the Albuquerque Archaeological Society. GCAS members, please bring your finest potluck dishes to share with about 15 members of AAS who would love to meet you. As we get to know one another, there will be a slideshow presentation of either the Rock House Petroglyph Site, the Dragonfly Petroglyph Site, or both. Join us on Saturday! (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, October 22, 2023, at 10:00 AM: Due to lack of a selected destination for the usual field trip on the first Sunday of the month, October's field trip is rescheduled to October 22 when members of the Albuquerque Archaeological Society visit our area. Destination will be either Rock House Petroglyph Site in lower Mimbres Valley (pending permit approval) or Dragonfly Petroglyph Site in Arenas Valley. Watch this space as details develop.

Please Call and Write Your Senators!
20th Mogollon Archaeology Conference - Papers Soon Due

Field Trip to Gila River Farm Site

1 - GCAS members mingle with the general publicOn June 30, 2018, assorted GCAS members joined the general public in Cliff, New 2 - Replica axe demoMexico, to visit the Gila River Farm's open house and 2018 Archaeology Fair presented by the University of Arizona field school and Archaeology Southwest. The field school had prepared a number of informational displays that described all aspects of this year's excavation, including plant analysis, lithic typology, ceramics identification, and much more. Visitors were even encouraged to use a replica stone axe to try shaping wood for a post. We learned that it takes practice. Good times were had by all and sundry.

7 - Perimeter wall extends further than first assumedThe Gila River Farm archaeological site dates to about 1300-1450 CE and represents occupation during the Salado/Cliff Phase of puebloan culture. The supervising archaeologists and field school participants estimate that the pueblo comprised about 50 rooms and supported around 200 individuals. Like almost all other archaeological sites in New Mexico, Gila River Farm was repeatedly looted beginning in the late 19th Century, and the ruins were further compromised by decades of farming and ranching activity. Nevertheless the archaeological record still contains useful scientific information.

The graduate students who led us on a tour of their test excavations explained that this year's work broadly focused on two issues: (1) identifying the perimeter walls of the entire pueblo complex; and (2) analyzing the migratory patterns of the various Native cultures known from artifacts to have lived and worked together here.

The field school discovered that the perimeter walls of the Gila River Farm ruins extend further in 10 - View of the footers of 2 right-angle wallsmultiple directions than had been previously estimated. Moreover, the architecture of this pueblo is unusual in that its room blocks were uniformly single-story, with significantly larger rooms than at 13 - Roof timber remnant of a house fireother contemporaneous sites and with greater attention paid to construction. Unlike many sites in the Mimbres Valley, for example, the Gila River Farm site does not appear to have hastily-built or improvised room structures. Instead, the walls at Gila River Farm were built with footers of two parallel courses of river stones (see photo just up there on the right), that were later covered with an adobe mixture applied and compacted by hand. One room - and one room only - disclosed evidence of having been destroyed by fire. (That photo on the left shows the charred remnants of a roof timber that had fallen to the floor. Click on the image - you'll see better.) No other evidence of accident or violence has been identified.

The students described to us visitors that the ceramics and other artifacts they have recovered from the site clearly indicate that this pueblo was a multicultural melting pot. Kayenta-style perforated ceramics suggest that certain groups migrated here from northeastern Arizona/northwestern New Mexico; while grinding bowls and 11 - Not post holes  but cemientos aka mealing binsmealing-bin arrangements left embedded in the floors of certain rooms (see photo, right) reflected a Mimbres-Mogollon cultural origin. After final analyses have been performed, this field school's research papers may reveal insights into how a succession of dissimilar cultures and ethnicities successfully immigrated into the Gila River Farm pueblo and lived peaceably with one another for over 150 years, incorporating one another's methods - and, presumably, beliefs - into their own daily routines.

The GCAS thanks the directing archaeologists and all the field school participants for presenting a well-rounded and informative explanation of the results of their hard work under hot sun. We hope to see you again next year!

/s/ webmaster


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