NEXT MEETING: 6:00 PM, Wednesday, December 18, 2019: GCAS general meeting & Awesome Annual GCAS Potluck Christmas Party & White Elephant Extravaganza. Meet at Josh & Kyle's party house at 615 E. Skyview Drive. Annual Board of Trustees meeting begins ~ 5:30 PM, general meeting begins at 6 PM. Bring some potluck finger-food AND a wrapped white-elephant gift to exchange. Directions: From Hudson Street/Hwy 90 southbound from Silver City's downtown, turn left (southeast) onto Ridge Road where the Chevron gas station is on the southeast corner. Continue on Ridge Road a short ways and take the second left (eastbound) onto Skyview Drive. 615 Skyview will be a ways down the hill on the left.

NEXT FIELD TRIP = Sunday, December 8, 2019: San Diego Mountain Petroglyphs. Meet BEFORE 9:00 AM at the Valero gas station in Deming a bit south of the Hwy 180/Hatch Hwy 26 junction, about 1 hr. south of Silver City. Depart Valero at 9:00 AM sharp. Convoy will drive thru Hatch to I-25 & the Rincon exit 35, then go south on I-25 to meet Las Cruces & El Paso friends at Upham exit 32 at 10:00-10:15 AM. From there, drive about 5 mi. on dirt road to the arroyo. High clearance is not necessary with careful driving. Park, then walk approx. 1 mi. on a flat, sandy surface to the petroglyphs on an uphill, uneven terrain. Round trip hike is about 3 mi. total. Bring lunch & water. Call Kyle at 575 538-5706 if questions, including concerns about the weather.

Back to Back to Back Field Trip Reports - Part IV: Gila River Farm's Excavation
Meet Another Member of the Aldo Leopold Archaeology Crew

Back to Back to Back Field Trip Reports - Part V: The Croteau Collection

Wood House panic room exteriorOur final field trip report in this series addresses the GCAS's visit to the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site (MCHS) on July 7, 2019, to examine the artifacts comprising the Croteau Collection in a special one-time-only exhibit.

Croteau exhibit 1Decades ago the Croteau family owned property in the Mimbres Valley where the remains of a Classic Period (1000 CE-1150 CE) multi-room pueblo was located. Prior to the passage of the 1990 federal Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, it was legal for the family to excavate artifacts and other archaeological materials on their own land. They amassed a substantial collection of Mimbres ceramics, tools, and other items from this site.

Today, the Gila National Forest and the Archaeological Conservancy own the land on which this site, now called the Elk Ridge Ruin, is located. A significant portion of the site is endangered by seasonal flash-flooding so in recent years professional archaeological crews have performed salvage excavations there. In addition to their scientific research they have taken steps to protect the site from further flood damage. Volunteers currently monitor the site for threats from natural causes, looting, and vandalism.

Croteau exhibit 2In late 2018, a Croteau family member wished to repatriate some of their artifacts to the Mimbres Valley from which the family had removed them. Thus the collection was donated to the Imogene F. Wilson Educational Foundation (IFWEF), the owner/operator of the MCHS. The GCAS has been helping IFWEF find an appropriate, permanent home for the collection while it is kept off-site from the MCHS in a secure, undisclosed location.

Upon inspecting the collection in 2019, one archaeologist, who in 1989 had examined a photograph of an array of Mimbres pottery displayed in the Croteau home, instantly recognized one of the bowls that bore a striking anthropomorphic image. It is always expected that such exquisite pottery would have been sold to a wealthy anonymous buyer soon after having been unearthed. Now cradling the bowl in his hands, the archaeologist said, "After 30 years, I thought I'd never see this again."

Researchers are already studying the items and it appears certain that the Croteau Collection will yield important scientific evidence for years to come. We of the GCAS commend those Croteau family members who took the time and went to the expense of bringing this portion of their collection back home.

/s/ webmaster [Photos by M.Smith]

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