NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 6:00 PM, at 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City, New Mexico. No potluck dinner but refreshments provided. Featured speaker: GCAS's own Joseph A. Bryce, Assistant Curator of History and Exhibitions at the Silver City Museum, will discuss "The Fremont Culture in Utah."

NEXT FIELD TRIP: By tradition there is NO field trip in January, but watch this space for future info on one or more possible work parties at the GCAS's library room at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site. Inventory and organizing opportunities galore!

Previous month:
May 2018
Next month:
July 2018

June 2018

Could All Archaeologists and Ceramics Experts Please Look At This?

So, over there on the right is a pair of sherds Dr. Barbara Roth and her UNLV crew recently recovered A most unusual botanical patternfrom the Elk Ridge archeological site in the Mimbres River Valley in southwestern New Mexico. To date no other fragment of the original ceramic has been found. We already posted this on our Facebook page so the person who reads our website should already be hip to this.

Serious now: The design appears unique. Neither professional archaeologist nor local avocational fan of ceramics has seen anything like it. Have any of you? If so, please - seriously, PLEASE - leave a comment and let us in the GCAS know when & where you have seen such images. We'd like to compare-and-contrast the images on these 2 ceramics fragments with wherever else the same or similar image has been found. Spill all the 411 you have. Photos appreciated. Because the more we all know, the more we all....know.

Everyone is also welcome to leave a comment as to your interpretation of what the heck is represented by these images. So far, we have serious folks saying it represents baskets with some kind of crop in them; maybe some kind of planting pattern for seedlings; but then, they notice that every other "basket" contains stalks with TWO top fronds instead of just ONE. Could it be, corn in two different stages of development? Two different kinds of the same crop?

Complicating the speculation is the presence of those dotted lines AND the overlaying solid line. It appears the frond-and-basket images are not anywhere inside the solid line. Plus, once inside the solid line, the dotted line continues, but TWO other concentric dotted lines appear INSIDE the solid line. Could the solid line or any one (or more) of the dotted lines be a trail? Crop demarcations? How far the irrigation went? image from safr.kingfeatures.comWhere my kid was playing (h/t Bil Keane)? Boundaries between "yours" and "mine" and "theirs"?

Or is the suggestion of agriculture just some kind of metaphor? Are we all just a few corn stalks in so many baskets, left unattended in a vast cosmic field?

On the other hand, some folks turn the image upside-down and see jellyfish. Lots and lots of jellyfish.

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Congratulations, Marilyn Markel!

100_9978President Kyle Meredith announced at last week's general meeting that the GCAS's very own Marilyn Markel is the 2018 recipient of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society's "Alexander J. Lindsay Jr. Unsung Hero Award."

Lex Lindsay passed away on January 14, 2017. In his memory an annual award was established that honors "...individuals whose work has often gone unacknowledged, but that is critical to the success of others’ archaeological, anthropological, or historical research." Certainly, our Marilyn fits the award's criteria, but her decades of tireless volunteerism encompass much more of what Lex valued most. Readers who know Marilyn will find much that is familiar to them in the following quote. Readers who do not know Marilyn personally may learn a lot about her from Lex's family's In Memoriam:

Continue reading "Congratulations, Marilyn Markel!" »


20th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference

Lonnie Ludeman, Conference Chair for the 20th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference, has announced that the conference is scheduled for NMSU in Las Cruces, New Mexico, from October 11-13, 2018; and is open to GCAS members to attend.

Download 2018 Mogollon ArchaeologyCall for papers

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Old Pueblo Needs Help

We received an urgent plea from Old Pueblo Archaeology Center in Tucson, Arizona. Each year they image from www.oldpueblo.org raise funds for the educational programs and classroom scholarships they offer to children in area schools whose family incomes are at or below poverty level. In past years Old Pueblo has been able to continue these educational programs while exempting the schools from having to pay all or part of Old Pueblo’s program fees. However, because of years of severe cutbacks that the State of Arizona has been making to its education budget, the area schools have been unable to cover their usual share of the program expenses, and Old Pueblo’s funds have been depleted trying to keep these educational programs going with only their own resources.

[Photo courtesy of Old Pueblo Archaeology Center.]

Old Pueblo gives as an example that, for one educational program offered to one classroom, the expenses range from $245 (8 or fewer students plus one Old Pueblo staff archaeologist-instructor for a 2-hour program) to $685 (32 students plus 4 paid instructors for a 5-hour program). Old Pueblo explains that under current state budgetary restrictions, almost no school can afford to cover Old Pueblo’s costs for any program within this range.

Old Pueblo writes that they are “…approaching crisis mode and need your support right away because we now have no more scholarship money reserved for the coming [2018-2019] school year and barely enough to cover our regular bills through the summer….”

They are asking individuals and businesses to donate any money they can, in any amount. They will appreciate donations in a single lump sum, or if preferred can arrange a set amount to be contributed each month via a recurring credit or debit card payment. Their Executive Director, Allen Dart, RPA, asks: “If you have ideas for other ways in which you or others might be able to assist Old Pueblo, please feel free to contact me at 520-798-1201 or adart@oldpueblo.org to share your ideas. But whatever you do, please do what you can to help us boost our revenues. And please do it today.”

Please help Old Pueblo. Perhaps you could arrange a donation to cover all or part of the expenses of a single class program? To examine the wide variety of activities and programs Old Pueblo offers, please take time to visit their website. To go directly to their Donation page, click here.

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GCAS Field Trip to Elk Ridge, Part II

Katie Baustian and Daniel Perez guide the tourThe June 10, 2018, GCAS field trip to the UNLV Field School's final season of excavation at Elk Ridge in the Mimbres River Valley was brief due to the warm summer temperatures, but our guides shared some of their findings that their excavations has yielded to date. Skidmore College assistant professor Katie Baustian (left, in photo) and UNLV graduate student Daniel Perez (second from left) discussed with us certain features of the Elk Ridge pueblo ruins that appear consistent with other sites; and other features they uncovered that seem less common.

Continue reading "GCAS Field Trip to Elk Ridge, Part II" »


GCAS Field Trip to Elk Ridge, Part I

Daniel Perez UNLV  explains the dig - 3The Elk Ridge archaeological site comprises a large Classic Mimbres (1000-1130 CE) pueblo containing more than 200 rooms, making Elk Ridge the most significant site of the upper Mimbres River Valley. Karl Laumbach of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society describes that, "Prior to the spring of 1989, no one knew that a large intact Mimbres Pueblo lay buried under alluvium on the West Fork of the Mimbres River. For the 90 days before the law took Elk Ridge midden - Darrell Creel deep in thoughteffect, the landowner used heavy equipment to extract as many pots as possible but the sheer depth of the deposits prevented complete destruction...." Eyewitnesses to the bulldozing reported at the time that each day, buyers from around the world would park their cars along a nearby road and bid on each artifact as it was removed from the ground. (Reports are that the bidders' cars were parked along the same road as you see by the vehicles in the background of that photo up on the right, just a few yards uphill from that test trench and archaeologist Darrell Creel.)

Elk Ridge's ceramics and other antiquities are undoubtedly still scattered in private collections around the world.

Continue reading "GCAS Field Trip to Elk Ridge, Part I" »


Following Dr. Karen Schollmeyer

Karen Schollmeyer's official job title at Archaeology Southwest is that of Preservation Archaeologist. For those unfamiliar with the term, a Preservation Archaeologist is much more than just an archaeologist who works to preserve our common past. If such a person is Karen Schollmeyer, she is also a researcher, historian, and detective. Dr. Schollmeyer goes even further and has become engaged in a long term Mimbres-Mogollon paleoethnobotany project.

image from www.archaeologysouthwest.orgMany if not most of the amateur archaeologists in the US Southwest only pay attention to the intricate beauty of Mimbres black-on-white ceramics. However, Dr. Schollmeyer's partnership with paleoethnobotanist Mike Diehl has already yielded findings that will form an extensive database of the plants and animals that were used throughout the Mimbres-Mogollon region back in the day. Schollmeyer explained in March, 2018, that they have not just performed their own archaeological excavations; with their combined experience and through their and their team's years of historical research they "...have also identified the burned seeds, wood, and animal bone in previously unanalyzed collections from several older excavations in the region. We now have animal bone data from 96 assemblages (collections of bones from a specific time period within an archaeological site). We’ll be working on what the plant and animal datasets together might tell us over the coming months. The animal data are already providing some interesting information."

[Map image courtesy of Catherine Gilman.]

For details on what data Dr. Schollmeyer and the team have collected so far, the GCAS highly recommends visiting Karen Schollmeyer's posts at Archaeology Southwest; or find her at one of the free lectures she kindly gives - such as tomorrow's June 13, 2018, 7PM talk: “Two Millennia of Hunting and Farming in the Mimbres Region, AD 200-1450” at Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeology Field School Headquarters in Cliff, New Mexico. (Details here.)

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The Aldo Leopold Charter School's 2018 Heritage Garden Project

As part of their study of local historic Puebloan agriculture, students in the 2018-05-31 MS Heritage garden via ALCS Aldo Leopold Charter School's Garden Crew recently grew over 100 heritage corn, bean and squash seedlings with seeds they obtained from the nonprofit biodiversity organization, Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona. [Photo down there on the left, of Rio Grande Blue flour corn, via Native Seeds/SEARCH.]

The plants were distributed a few weeks ago to GCAS members and other growers throughout the Silver City/Mimbres Valley area, and now they are all in the ground. (Some local gardeners must take countermeasures such as livestock fencing, to protect these fine young plants against the deer, rodents, birds, and other hungry critters who peacefully coexist with us but are always waiting to take advantage of any nutritional opportunities.) At the end of Southwest New Mexico's growing P1030706_mediumseason the ALCS students hope to get feedback from all these gardeners and will track their individual results. The students have also asked successful gardeners to save some seeds from these crops and return them to the ALCS Garden Crew for future heritage plantings.

Thank you, ALCS Garden Crew, for sharing your work and helping our communities preserve biodiversity in essential food crops!

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The 2018 Archaeology Fair - June 30

image from www.archaeologysouthwest.orgOn June 30, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (noon), Archaeology Southwest and the students of the University of Arizona/Tucson's Preservation Archaeology Field School will host an open house to showcase their ongoing work at the 14th-century Gila River Farm site in Cliff, New Mexico. [Photo via Archaeology Southwest.]

Archaeology Southwest describes this worthwhile project as "...committed to increasing the diversity of views represented in archaeology, including improving communication between archaeologists and nonprofessionals and between researchers with different backgrounds and training. Students from backgrounds and institutions traditionally underrepresented in archaeology (including small colleges and community colleges) are especially encouraged...."

The U of A Field School describes this year's project as a furtherance of archaeological work performed at the site and an investigation of the artifacts that have been recovered there, all of which indicate that the ancient pueblo community "...participated in the Salado ideology, which blended preexisting local traditions throughout the Southwest with traditions carried by migrants from the Kayenta area of northeastern Arizona. Key questions [for the 2018 field school] include what kinds of pottery the site’s residents made and used and how this reflects their social connections to other areas, how residents used local plants and animals, and where they obtained raw material for stone tools, particularly obsidian."

Details and directions to the open house in Cliff, New Mexico, are on this page here, but we recommend exploring the whole website as well as the links above.

The GCAS is making an official field trip to the open house on June 30. We hope to see you there!

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The 20th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference

Download 2018 Mogollon ArchaeologyCall for papers

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