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!

A New Book for the Avocational Archaeologist's Library
American Gothic the GCAS Way

What Do Volunteers Do at an Archaeological Excavation?

FSCN4286These days there are no lavish budgets for archaeological excavations, and paid crew positions are few (very few) and far (very far) between. With no money for lodging, the crew tend to camp out at or near the site for the duration of the project. Feeding the crew on a tight budget may involve a lot of pre-frozen mini-burritos.

FSCN4095 (2)The excavation has a Directing Archaeologist in charge of the project. Often there will be one or more other archaeologists supporting the Director by excavating and/or performing other essential work such as cataloguing artifacts, recording data, and performing materials analysis. Graduate and undergraduate students participating in the excavation gain hands-on experience in as many aspects of the work as they can. Sometimes - but not always - they earn class credits. However, on many excavations there are too few students available to get all the work done in the time allotted.

Thus you will frequently see on-site a group of enthusiastic volunteers, like the GCAS's own hard core of avocational archaeologists. A hardy few of us may occasionally camp out with the rest of the crew, but more often those of us in a certain age demographic prefer to go home at the end of each work day to our hot showers and soft beds.

Like the university students, we GCAS members learn a lot about archaeology by helping out where we are needed. The professional archaeologists and students clearly have priority to engage in the serious research, but we volunteers occasionally get good opportunities to do what the big kids do: measure excavation units, carefully excavate as the Directing Archaeologist instructs, screen the soil for artifacts, measure again, complete excavation reports, lather, rinse, repeat.

Photo 4 by Marianne Smith; © 2019 ENMU - All Rights Reserved Here we see GCAS volunteers clustered together with students and archaeologists, haunch to haunch, in their respective excavation units within a very small and cozy structure.

Photo 2 by Marianne Smith; © 2019 ENMU - All Rights ReservedOur GCAS President, Kyle Meredith, is undaunted by the reams of paperwork necessary to reliably document an archaeological excavation.

Photo 5 by Marianne Smith; © 2019 ENMU - All Rights Reserved Josh Reeves politely waits in the shade while other crew members meticulously measure areas abutting his own assigned unit.

Photo 5 by Marianne Smith; © 2019 ENMU - All Rights ReservedGCAS Board member Gary Barnett demonstrates the ultimate in screening prowess. Yes; the work is hot, heavy, and dusty but the rest of the crew rely on the screeners to spot everything from small potsherds and lithic flakes to plant and animal material. A screener only has to find one artifact to make the day worthwhile.

Every GCAS member is invited to join in the next archaeological excavation that comes along. Help out for one day or for the full length of the project - anything goes when you're a volunteer!

/s/ webmaster



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