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.

2019 Archaeology Kid's Camp - Last Day to Sign Up
Meet Two Members of the Aldo Leopold Archaeology Crew

The Mills Collection

192 The_mills_collection_410-1696If you happen to be traveling along Highway 70 between Lordsburg, New Mexico, and Phoenix, Arizona, you may want to plan an extra 45 minutes to make a quick side trip when you reach Thatcher, Arizona. The Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher proudly displays the Native American artifacts collected from numerous sites throughout Arizona and New Mexico by the well-trained avocational archaeologists Jack and Vera Mills during the four decades from the 1940s through the 1970s. [Far left photo via; near left photo via]

Anasazi millsThe Mills's work was supported in part by the Arizona Archaeological Society and encouraged and mentored by the Amerind Museum. According to one source, Vera Mills alone restored all the pottery the two of them uncovered; and it was she who wrote all of the detailed archaeological reports on the sites they excavated. One Salado site in particular - the Kuykendall Site in southeastern Arizona - has suffered so much looting and ground-modification since the Mills's excavation in 1951, that their archaeological reports and the artifacts they collected there are essentially the sole remaining source for research regarding that location. [Photo on right via]

Jack Mills died in 1994 at age 102. Vera Marie Burton Mills died in 2000 at age 100. Their marriage had lasted more than 77 years. Anna Neuzil and Patrick Lyons wrote in 2005:

"Despite the fact that neither Jack nor Vera Mills had a degree in archaeology, they contributed significantly to the understanding of post-A.D. 1200 population movements in the Greater Southwest. The collections from each of the sites they excavated remain important resources for developing the archaeological understanding of later periods of prehistory. "

To see a photo of the Millses and their Collection as it existed before being donated to the Eastern Arizona College, click here. To see an example of Vera Mills's pottery restoration work and a portion of the Collection at about the time Eastern Arizona College took possession of it in 1983, click here.

The Mills Collection reportedly comprises not only some 600 pottery vessels, but also an extensive assemblage of tools, jewelry, basketry, and more. Not all of these artifacts are on display. The cultures represented by these artifacts include Mimbres-Mogollon, Salado, and Hohokam, to name but a few.

Visiting the collection is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. The tour is self-guided; brochures are available in front of the Admissions Office on the first floor, or you can download the same brochure here.

To get there, once in Thatcher turn southbound from Highway 70 onto Stadium Avenue. Drive about three or four blocks to the intersection of Stadium and Railroad Street. The Student Services Building is on the left at the corner of Stadium and Railroad. Parking is plentiful. Walk around the building to enter the main entrance on the east side of the building near the clock tower. Immediately inside the doors you will see in front of you the first five display cases of the Mills Collection. Prepare to have your breath taken away. And enjoy.

/s/ webmaster


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