NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, online via Zoom, it's the GCAS special holiday meeting starting at the very special time of 6:00 PM. It may not be a “party” in our group's traditional sense, but we anticipate having a slideshow of archaeological images of solstice markers, followed by a slideshow of the AMAZING progress on our new Library and Workspace/Lab in the Wood House at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site, and a reading of Marilyn Markel's annual poem wrapping up the year behind us. If any member has anything they wish to contribute to the fun, be it slideshows, games, announcements, or any etc., please contact Kyle ASAP at kyyote@msn.com . The more the merrier!

NEXT FIELD TRIP = TBA - watch this space for details as they develop.

Christmas Is Coming, the Goose Is Getting Fat
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How DNA Research Affects Study of Past Cultural Events

Certain advances in DNA research have recently hit the mainstream press. Bonus: the scientists include one who is a familiar friend to many of us in the GCAS. Please enjoy the following excerpts. [Spoiler alert: if you want to surprise yourself about the identity of our mystery scientist, read the whole article linked above but do not read below the fold here]:

"The Reich lab, the foremost unit in the country for research into ancient DNA, is responsible for more than half the world’s published data in the field. Having so far sequenced the DNA of more than ten thousand long-dead individuals from all over the globe, the lab is almost halfway through a five-year project to create an atlas of human migration and diversity, allowing us to peer deep into our past. The work has produced startling insights into who we are as a species, where we have come from, and what we have done to one another. Hidden in the human genome is evidence of inequality, the displacement of peoples, invasion, mass rape, and large-scale killing....“This is an example of the power of ancient DNA to reveal cultural events,” Reich [said]...It also shows how DNA evidence can upset established archeological theories and bring rejected ones back into contention....

" Sedig-2015Reich’s lab now has an ethics-and-outreach officer, Jakob Sedig, whose job is to work with some of the cultural groups being studied, to understand and respond to their sensitivities. “We are mapping genetic groups to archeological cultures,” Sedig, who has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Colorado, explained. “How we’re defining these groups genetically is not how they see themselves culturally. We don’t want to discredit other people’s beliefs, but we don’t want to censor our research based on those beliefs. There’s no one answer. You need a dialogue from the beginning.”

"Reich acknowledges that geneticists need to be careful about how they discuss their work. He said that the majority of archeologists and anthropologists welcome the insights that genetic research provides..." "...Reich emphasized that the findings of geneticists were almost always unexpected and tended to explode stereotypes. “Again and again, I’ve found my own biases and expectations to be wrong,” he said. “It should make us realize that the stories we tell ourselves about our past are often very different from the reality, and we should have humility about that.”

Congratulations to the geneticists and anthropologists like Jakob Sedig who are working together to help us all better understand our human family.

Learn more about Jakob Sedig here, and his past work in our area, here. [Sedig photo above, via Archaeology Southwest]

/s/ webmaster

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