NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 5:00PM Mountain Daylight Saving Time (4:00PM Arizona Time): GCAS's regular monthly meeting becomes a special hybrid in-person and online Zoom charity event to be held in Silver City at the Western New Mexico University Museum at Fleming Hall on W. 10th St. next to the Aldo Leopold Charter School, to support the WNMU Museum's curation of their historic documents and photo archives. Featured Speaker: historian and award-winning author, Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, will discuss Hopi Quilts and Textiles as Cultural Artforms. We begin at 5:00 PM with a minimum $5 donation payable to the Museum at their front desk. Online participants also register with a $5 minimum donation to the Museum payable via the GCAS's secure Paypal portal. The Museum welcomes and appreciates additional donations in any other amounts to support their curation project. All such proceeds go to the WNMU Museum. A classic quilter's trunk show immediately follows Carolyn's presentation, offering original 25" x 30" quilted wall hangings designed and created by Hopi artist Bonnie Nampeyo Chapella for $150 each. The proceeds from one quilt will also be donated to the WNMU Museum. Register and donate online here, or Email the GCAS for registration info and other details.

NEXT FIELD TRIP: Sunday, March 3, 2024, Third time's a charm for the GCAS monthly field trip! At 10:00 AM sharp, meet our trip leader, Marilyn Gendron, at the intersection of Hwy 180 and Hwy 61 (City of Rocks turnoff). From there we will caravan 1/2 hour more, turn left onto the Hatch highway (26), and drive 5 miles to turn left again onto Green Leaf Mine Road (a good dirt road, fine for a street car). Here is a video of the road. Drive 10 more miles passing one check dam (at the 9:34 mark on the video), crossing a yellow cattle guard (11:07) and at the second check dam turn left and park (11:44). It is rocky and uphill to the ridge (1/4 mile?) but there is a trail. There are four petroglyph areas with wonderful images. It is exposed on the ridge with no toilet facilities. Wear sturdy shoes, dress in layers, and bring a lunch. As always, carpooling is encouraged. See you there!

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July 2018

Have You Visited the Amerind Museum Yet?

image from upload.wikimedia.orgIf you have ever traveled along Interstate 10 in Arizona between Willcox and Benson, you may have spotted a small roadside sign in the Dragoon Mountains [photo on left via Creative Commons] directing you to the Amerind Museum off of Exit 318. The idea of a museum located in such a beautiful natural setting may have piqued your interest, but at 75 mph you were already past the exit to give much thought to a detour.

How about taking a detour there now?

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Our GCAS Library: a Work in Progress

The GCAS Library's Checkered Past:

The GCAS collects educational and research materials in addition to maintaining the records View to Severy nonprofit corporation is required to keep. During our group's 90-year life, we have gradually built our Library with specific purchases; past and current GCAS members and our supporters in the community have also generously donated their personal collections of relevant books and papers. We are grateful to have acquired a lot of fascinating archeological literature and related materials in this way. We welcome everyone's kind offers.

Our acquisitions have been complicated until recently by the lack of a permanent place to store them. Until just a few years ago our GCAS Library had led a nomadic existence, stored in boxes and bins in a succession of temporary locations. They were often separated and stored at the homes of various GCAS members who made room for them for as long as they could. It had been the library equivalent of couch-surfing. For most of our 90 years. That's a lot of couches. We all knew our group possessed many items worthy of safekeeping, but under the circumstances almost all of it was impossible to use except by a few long-term members who remembered what was stored in whose home.

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Chaco Canyon Petroglyph: Solar Eclipse or Coronal Mass Ejection?

Petroglyphs are open to interpretation - wide open - because the artists who pecked them into image from dur-cjweb.newscyclecloud.comthe rock left no written explanation of the images and little to no oral history to guide the present-day viewer. Therefore, all interpretations can be considered. Total eclipse or coronal mass ejection? Could be either. Could be both.

In 1992, the image on the right there [via The Journal] was discovered on a rock panel by participants of a field school/archaeological excavation in Chaco Canyon. (Such a find is reason enough to volunteer for a field school.) It looks like an image of the sun to most people. The rock panel on which it was pecked is now named Piedra del Sol (Rock of the Sun) in its honor. However, it might depict more than just an artistic sun design.

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12,000-Year-Old Paleoindian Footprints in New Mexico

image from the boundaries of White Sands National Monument, scientists have found tens of thousands of ancient trackways made by Pleistocene-era bison, camels, mammoths, and ground sloths in what was then the gypsum-rich sediment of a lake surrounded by savanna. Ground sloths, which stood 7 to 8 feet tall when standing upon their hind legs, became extinct about 11,700 years ago. Some anthropologists have speculated that human predation was a significant factor in their extinction. Recent discoveries of several preserved trackways of both ground sloths and humans interacting with one another in White Sands' former lake bed support that suggestion.

[The photo in the upper left was taken in the White Sands research area. It shows a barefoot human footprint (curve of heel on left, toe imprints to the right) inside a giant sloth’s crescent-shaped print. Photo by National Park Service via Associated Press.]

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Please Leave Potsherds Where You Find Them

Humans, like crows, are acquisitive by nature. We are attracted to pretty things and are Observe the classic GCAS Stoop while  examining potsherdsespecially intrigued when it's clear to us that other, ancient humans made the pretty things we find -- like the fascinating forms, lines, colors, and textures of potsherds.

Sherd grouping  as foundIn past decades, collecting potsherds - and even far more substantial artifacts - was considered a harmless pastime perhaps similar to collecting postage stamps. Archaeologists have spent more than a century analyzing hundreds of ceramic styles in the US Southwest and the locations where they have been found; so it would be easy to assume that a few potsherds more or less would make little scientific difference. 


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Happy Birthday To Us!

Today we members of the Grant County Archaeological Society celebrate our 80th year since we image from en.wikipedia.orgfiled our Certificate of Incorporation with the State of New Mexico on July 14, 1938. That alone would make our group one of the oldest if not the oldest archaeological organizations in the state. But there's more. We have actually been an active, continuously chartered archaeological organization for 90 years.

In 1928, a group of 16 men and women interested in Grant County's prehistoric Native ruins met in Fort Bayard in Mrs. Anna Davis's tea room to investigate the possibility of organizing a local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America. Later that same year the group became the Grant County Chapter of the New Mexico Archaeological Society and continued operating under that name until incorporating as the Grant County Archaeological Society in 1938.

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Offered Without Comment

Oops! Federal officials divulge secret info about Native American artifacts

This story was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at

Federal officials mistakenly published confidential information on locations and descriptions of about 900 ancient cliff dwellings, spiritual structures, rock art panels and other Native American antiquities in Utah.

The Bureau of Land Management posted a 77-page report online that included unique identifiers for priceless artifacts as it prepared to auction the most archaeologically rich lands ever offered for industrial use. The report exposed ruins spanning 13,000 years of Native American history to vandalism and looting, and experts say the BLM violated federal regulations that prohibit publicly sharing information about antiquities.

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20th Mogollon Archaeology Conference - Papers Soon Due

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

/s/ webmaster

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.

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Please Call and Write Your Senators!

[Image - a reconstruction of what Chaco may have looked like when occupied - by National Park Service, via Ancient] image from

Senate Bill S.2907 - Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2018 - is sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and co-sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). If enacted it would provide a permanent mineral withdrawal of about 316,000 acres of federal lands surrounding Chaco Culture National Historic Park to prevent new energy development immediately surrounding Chaco Canyon. Non-federal minerals owned by the state, tribal entities, or private owners would not be affected, nor would existing leases.

S.2907 was introduced on the Senate floor on May 22, 2018, and referred to the Senate Energy and Natural resources Committee. The time to support this bill is now.

On June 20, 2018, at the GCAS's Board of Trustees meeting and our subsequent general meeting, the GCAS membership unanimously agreed to add the GCAS as a signatory to the following letter. We would encourage all our readers - organizations and individuals (with slight editing to the opening sentence) - to do the same. If readers happen to live outside the state of New Mexico, please also contact your own state's Senators to support S.2907:

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