Back to Back to Back Field Trip Reports - Part III: Gila River Farm
It's always a pleasure to visit directing archaeologist Karen Schollmeyer, PhD, and her crew of the Archaeology Southwest/Preservation Archaeology Field School when they wind up another productive season of research at the Gila River Farm in Cliff, New Mexico. They held their 2019 Archaeology Fair on June 29 there and as usual it was well attended.
The Field School students welcomed the crowd, which included a dozen or more GCAS members, with exhibits on a variety of research topics ranging from ancient irrigation practices to tool-making to comparisons of ancient and modern Native art motifs. The students demonstrated experimental archaeology by using locally-found materials and ancient crafting techniques to create reproductions of archaic bone tools, stone points, and stone and shell jewelry. They even built a reproduction of a Precolumbian pueblo room and kept it open to the elements, to determine the natural deterioration processes and rate of decay of such a structure. The Field School crew goes to such efforts to obtain a better understanding of the artifacts and structures they might unearth in any excavation, anywhere.
The discovery at the site of two large jars/ollas that were separately painted with images of a feathered serpent and a macaw, led one student to produce a research exhibit detailing the influx of religious concepts and trade goods in the 1300s from Mesoamercia to the Cliff/Gila River region of New Mexico.
These archaeologists of the future created their research exhibits in their spare time, at the end of each day's hard dirt work and after recording the day's data. We of the GCAS certainly appreciate the dedication each of these individuals showed to their chosen fields of study. Perhaps they may return to Gila River Farm next year, for one more Field School season. If so, please make it a point to visit them during their regular series of evening lectures as well as their open house and Archaeology Fair. You will not be disappointed!
/s/ webmaster [Photos by M. Smith]
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