Meet Dr. Paul Minnis. He earned his PhD at the University of Michigan in 1981 and holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. During his career he has authored, co-authored, or edited at least 12 books in addition to having written numerous journal articles and book chapters. Now retired and living in Tucson, Arizona, he speaks at professional conferences and in more informal presentations to the general public on topics such as prehispanic trade and cultural networks; and how ancient farming practices can enhance our modern world's food supply.
Our previous post featured the fine work that Archaeology Southwest Field School students display as part of their public outreach duties. The second portion of the June 29, 2019, GCAS field trip to the Gila River Farm included a tour of this season's Field School excavations. Of particular interest was evidence the Field School uncovered of cultural convergence. In a multi-room pueblo complex, the crew found artifacts of various 14th-Century Puebloan cultures including Mimbres-Mogollon (with their distinctive wall and floor construction features), and Kayenta (with their unique ceramics including Kayenta perforated plates). It became clear from the excavations that people of different cultures, practices, and languages, migrating in and out of the region, found ways to live and work together long-term. We in the 21st Century could take a lesson.
Pat Gilman had no idea that she wanted to be an archaeologist until she took an anthropology class as an undergraduate. Even then, all she knew was that she liked anthropology in general. It took an archaeology field school in the summer that she graduated before she knew that archaeology was the subfield of anthropology that she liked best. A 1974 field project in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico under the auspices of the Mimbres Foundation and Dr. Steven LeBlanc was the start of her life-long interest in research and field work in the larger Mimbres region.
Answer: We may never know. But there are some intriguing clues, thanks to archaeological linguists and forensic anthropologists. From an article dated March 15, 2019, in Archaeology Magazine:
"...the spread of agriculture and consumption of easier-to-chew foods may have led to changes in human jaws and their arrangement of teeth, which in turn allowed people to make new sounds and create new words....chewing tough, gritty food would have put force on hunter-gatherers’ lower jaws, making the bone grow larger so that the upper and lower teeth aligned in an “edge-to-edge” bite. Such a bite would have made it hard to push the upper jaw forward to make the sounds “f” and “v”...
Researchers have discovered that a certain protein in tooth enamel comes from a sex-specific gene. Scientists at the University of California/Davis have taken that discovery and developed a technique by which they can determine the gender of human remains even if only a single tooth is all that is recovered. Details are in this recent article in Archaeology magazine.
This article is a couple years old now, but its ideas remain fresh. [Image via Westerndigs.org]
A recent archaeological excavation in Tempe, Arizona, uncovered a 13th-Century Hohokam settlement at the headgates of one of the Hohokam's main irrigation canals - one of their extensive network of canals that ran throughout what is now the Phoenix metropolitan area and sustained an estimated population of 80,000.
He earned his PhD in Anthropology from Washington State University in 2006, with an emphasis in geology and lithics (the scientific analysis of stone tools, chipped stone artifacts, and their debris). He has regularly spoken at conferences and written articles in professional publications regarding lithic and pottery analysis, but from the beginning his research expanded to include topics such as the migration and settlement patterns of ancient societies based on the lithic and pottery material they left behind, and the cultural implications of that activity. All of which Fumi delivers to his audiences with his characteristic dry wit.
Your Faithful Webmaster is embarking upon a recurring series of blog posts featuring anthropologists, ethnologists, and archaeologists whose work focuses on the GCAS’s special area of interest: Mimbres-Mogollon culture and how it relates to the world as a whole. We plan to feature a different anthro/ethno/archaeologist in a short blog post about once every two months. We want to introduce their background and work to a (hopefully) broader readership than is found in the scholarly community; and to encourage the reader to learn more. We believe the more lightly educated among us should have the opportunity to appreciate the dedication and perseverance of this particular group of scientists. None of them became multimillionaires by doing dirt work. They’re in it for the love of the game.
The University of Arizona Press has published an enticing new volume of the latest in Mimbres area archaeology. Avocational archaeologists as well as professionals will recognize some or all of the 30 contributing authors whose experience in the Mimbres region reflects many decades of dedicated field work and research. Edited by Drs. Barbara Roth, Patricia Gilman, and Roger Anyon, this 288-page book is available in both hard-copy and electronic editions.
List price is $65 but scroll down in the flyer below to find a sweet 30% discount coupon for hip people like you who are In The Know:
Lonnie Ludeman, Conference Chair for the 20th Biennial Mogollon Archaeology Conference, announced that this conference is scheduled for NMSU in Las Cruces, New Mexico, from October 11-13, 2018; and is open to GCAS members to attend.
Ludeman explains, "There will be two full days of paper presentations by leaders in the field...Registration and Conference information is available at the web site http://www.lonjul.net/mog2018/ Hope to see many of you there. The banquet will feature a presentation by Dr. Harry J. Shafer and promises to be very interesting."
The GCAS will see you there!
The GCAS will see you there!