NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 6PM: the GCAS is thrilled to announce this year's first general meeting IN PERSON at the Roundup Lodge in San Lorenzo (Mimbres Valley) near the junction of Highways 152 and 35! Start at 6PM with your own plates/utensils/beverage & a dish for yourself or to share. Brief general meeting at 6:45 PM. Skip social time if you like but our Featured Speaker, the WNMU Museum's new Director and archaeologist, Danielle Romero, makes her presentation on Elk Ridge Ceramics at 7PM sharp. Danielle, a ceramics specialist with years of investigating Mimbres and other sites, will make her topic most engaging. Read more about Danielle here. 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, June 5, 2022 - Park Service-guided visit to TJ Ruin at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Meet at the Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center parking lot no later than 10:50 am, tour to begin at 11:00 am. Drive north on Highway 15/Pinos Altos Rd for about 45 miles from US 180 in Silver City. Drive can take as much as 2 hours! Site is reached via a short hike to the top of a 100 ft bluff. Site is not shaded! Dogs are not allowed on the site and cannot be left in vehicles or tied up in the parking lot. NOTE: the area is currently experiencing heavy smoke impacts from the Black Fire. Check this website and the Park Service website at https://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htm (Alerts) the day before/morning of the field trip to see current status of the field trip and area conditions. Remember, to protect vulnerable resources we offer our field trips to members only. Members’ invited guests are welcome, as long as they ride in that member’s vehicle.

A Brief Detour into Paleontology
In Search of: GCAS Volunteers

Cultural and Ethical Implications in the Fossil Trade

Amber-field-cnnLoss of important scientific data does not just happen with cultural artifacts like Mimbres pottery. It happens with fossils, too. GCAS member Kathryn McCarroll links to an article discussing the international trade in blood amber, a fossil-rich amber mined only in Myanmar. Paleobiologist George Poinar recently wrote that "...scientifically valuable fossils...end up in carvings and jewelry and [are] lost for future generations...."

The lucrative international trade of blood amber certainly disrupts scientific study of the unique fossil species found within it. Complicating matters even further, in 2017 the Myanmar military appropriated the country's profitable amber mines for their own exploitation while committing atrocities against ethnic minorities who live in some of the amber mining areas. Scientific publishers have reacted to this human-rights situation by banning publication of research involving blood amber, on ethical grounds. Unfortunately, this response may cause even more harm to scientific research as well as to the legal trade of blood amber.

Please read the whole article to ponder this very complicated issue.

/s/ webmaster [photo of amber field via CNN]

 

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