March 16, 2022, 6:45PM via Zoom: This month's GCAS general meeting features archaeologist and PhD candidate Scott Nicolay. Specific topic TBD so watch this space for updates. (Teaser: a discussion of the ritual use of caves in the prehistoric Northwest Mexico/Southwest US region may be involved.)
Scott works with Dr. Holley Moyes out of the University of California at Merced in examining the ritual use of caves in prehistory. Scott's research interrogates the archaeological record of ceremonial caves from the prehistoric U.S. Southwest and Northwest Mexico in order to interpret major social, political and religious reorganizations that repeatedly swept the region prior to European contact, and how these shifts mesh both with prehistoric climactic change and contemporaneous events in the Mesoamerica core and periphery.
Earlier phases of his work suggest that some of the most important cave shrines in the Southwest served as the foci of ceremonial "catchment basins," accumulating offerings from large geographical areas, sometimes over periods of centuries, even millennia. Museums collections from these caves have received little attention since their original accession. Through a range of appropriate dating and sourcing techniques, Scott seeks to frame the provenience of these materials both spatially and chronologically against the larger backdrop of the region's prehistory.
Scott has worked on multiple archaeological projects both in caves and on the surface in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Belize and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). He is also currently working with several other UC Merced graduate students on a project called Baskets 2 Bytes, conducting 3D digital photogrammetry of Indigenous California baskets in museum collections in order to make them available to weavers as digital objects. As always, please look for your email with your Zoom link to the GCAS meeting about a week before Scott's presentation. On the day of the meeting hop online about 6:45 PM to get settled and Scott will begin his presentation at 7PM sharp. Come join us!