NEXT MEETING: 6:00 PM, Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at the Roundup Lodge in San Lorenzo (Mimbres Valley). The season's last potluck, followed by general meeting, then our Featured Speaker: Human Systems Research Associate Director and archaeologist Karl Laumbach discusses his experiences in "The Elk Ridge Story."

NEXT FIELD TRIP = SPECIAL! Friday, October 4, 2019, join the Amerind Museum Curator's Tour at 1 PM in Dragoon AZ! $8/person. Tour is limited to 30 people maximum so sign up ASAP. Go to our Events page & scroll down for sign-up info & trip details.

Archaeology

Hear About Elk Ridge at Our Next Meeting

Laumbach 2 Karl Laumbach in actionThe next GCAS monthly meeting will be held just two days from now on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. Everyone is welcome to join us at the Roundup Lodge at 91 Aklin Hill Road in San Lorenzo/Mimbres, New Mexico. Our featured speaker is Karl W. Laumbach, archaeologist and Associate Director of Human Systems Research in Las Cruces. He plans to share details with us about his personal experiences in investigating and preserving a significant Mimbres Valley archaeological site, known today as Elk Ridge. Read some interesting details about Laumbach's talk here, and even more interesting details about Laumbach himself, here.

Our final potluck of the season begins on September 18 at 6:00 PM followed by our GCAS general meeting. Karl Laumbach will present his talk at about 7:00 PM. We'll see you there!

/s/ webmaster [photo on left, via Human Systems Research. Photo on right, by Bob Gamboa]


Sign Up Now for an Upcoming Rock Art Tour

OPAC HQFor those unfamiliar with Old Pueblo Archaeology Center [photo on right via OPAC], it is an organization headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, devoted to education and preservation of historic and archaeological sites and artifacts throughout the region of the US Southwest and Mexico Northwest. They serve as a clearinghouse for events, tours, educational programs, and volunteer opportunities for individuals including students of all ages, professionals, and interested nonprofessionals.

Continue reading "Sign Up Now for an Upcoming Rock Art Tour" »


Our Next Presentation

Laumbach 2On September 18, 2019, the GCAS will proudly host Karl W. Laumbach, archaeologist and Associate Director at Human Systems Research in Las Cruces. Everyone is invited to hear him share his experiences in the protection and preservation of our local patrimony in "The Elk Ridge Story."

Laumbach explains:

Digging for “pots” in pueblo sites has been a recreational activity across the American Southwest for more than a century. During the mid-1970s, commercial “pothunters”, spurred on by a growing art market for all things Southwestern, began the methodical bulldozing of Mimbres Pueblo sites in southwestern New Mexico. By 1989 many of the large Mimbres pueblo sites on private land (and many on public land) had been destroyed. In an effort to stop this wholesale destruction, a legislative effort enacted a law which made it a 4th degree felony to knowingly disturb a human burial on private land in the State of New Mexico. Prior to the spring of 1989, no one knew that a large intact Mimbres Pueblo lay buried under alluvium on the West Fork of the Mimbres River. For the 90 days before the law took effect, the landowner used heavy equipment to extract as many pots as possible but the sheer depth of the deposits prevented complete destruction. The Elk Ridge Story chronicles those troubled times and the controversial effort by Human Systems Research to preserve what was left of a previously undocumented and highly significant Mimbres Pueblo.

Our meeting on September 18 will begin at 6:00 PM with our final potluck dinner of the season. The GCAS general meeting will follow and Laumbach will begin to speak at about 7:00 PM. Please join us at the Roundup Lodge at 91 Aklin Hill Road in San Lorenzo/Mimbres, New Mexico.

/s/ webmaster [photo via Human Systems Research]


Following Karl W. Laumbach

Archaeologist Karl Laumbach has devoted his life to a greater understanding of our region's past and how that past informs our future. His official biography gives a brief glimpse into his work:

Karl Laumbach in actionRaised on a northeastern New Mexico ranch, Karl Laumbach has pursued an archaeological career in southern New Mexico since 1974. A graduate of New Mexico State University, he spent nine years directing projects for the NMSU contract archaeology program before joining Human Systems Research, Inc. (HSR) in 1983. After serving as Executive Director of the organization for 10 years, he is now an Associate Director for HSR. His research interests are varied, including land grant research in his native northeastern New Mexico, the pueblo archaeology of southern New Mexico, and the history and archaeology of the Apache. Fascinated with the history of south central New Mexico, Karl has been involved in recording sites and collecting local history in that area for the last 40 plus years. His interaction with private landowners has been integral in the preservation of several archaeological sites. He is currently in the 20th year of the Cañada Alamosa Project, a research effort that is exploring the last 4000 years of human occupation and environmental change in the Rio Alamosa drainage of Socorro and Sierra Counties.

Bonus: Laumbach is slated to speak at our next GCAS meeting on September 18, 2019, about "The Elk Ridge Story" - his narrative of his experiences at a Mimbres Valley archaeological site significant to us all. Everyone is welcome to join us at the Roundup Lodge at 91 Aklin Hill Road in San Lorenzo/Mimbres, New Mexico.Our final potluck of the season begins at 6:00 PM followed by our GCAS general meeting. Karl Laumbach will present his talk at about 7:00 PM. We'll see you there!

/s/ webmaster [photo by Bob Gamboa]


Space Archaeology: the Coming Thing

Globalexplorer J WolfeArchaeologists' use of satellite imagery, LIDAR, drones, and the like has taken an innovative turn thanks to Sarah Parcak PhD. In 2016 she and her organization launched an online platform, GlobalXplorer°, which uses crowdsourcing methods to analyze satellite images. Volunteers use the platform to help Dr. Parcak and her team identify possible archaeological sites and assess their risks of looting and destruction. DigitalGlobe (Maxar) provides the satellite imagery; National Geographic provides content and collaborative support.

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GCAS August Field Trip Part II - the C-Bar Ranch Site

GCAS examines the wall outlines Are these sherds Style I or Style IIThe second phase of our August 4, 2019, GCAS field trip found us traveling from the Microwave Site to examine the site at C-Bar Ranch. Like the Microwave Site, the C-Bar Ranch Site comprises some Late Period pithouses and the ruins of more recent pueblo rooms. And like Microwave, C-Bar is well known and convenient to locals and so continues to be heavily looted to this day.

Still life with prickly pear and lichen covered bouldersThe approach to the C-Bar site criss-crosses arroyos and passes rock outcrops hosting venerable prickly pear colonies. Abundant lichens on the rocks testify to the clean air which makes for a good, healthy walk (right photo).

Big photo on left up there shows all that that remains of the site's pueblo walls. Scattered by looters and people who either didn't know any better or didn't care.

Continue reading "GCAS August Field Trip Part II - the C-Bar Ranch Site" »


GCAS August Field Trip Part I - the Microwave Site

Microwave vista NW Microwave vista to Cooke's Peak Microwave vista ENEThe Microwave Site has no microwave tower. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It once had one.

This site in southwestern New Mexico is very well known to locals who have been camping here - and gathering potsherds and stones from pueblo walls - for many decades.

Continue reading "GCAS August Field Trip Part I - the Microwave Site" »


Following Paul E. Minnis, PhD

Minnis with pickMeet 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.

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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.

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A New Book for the Avocational Archaeologist's Library

Robert J. Stokes PhD  editor and contributorRobert J. Stokes, PhD, has just edited and published a book directed at the professional that we avocational enthusiasts can enjoy as well. Communities and Households in the Greater American Southwest: New Perspectives and Case Studies is  published by the University Press of Colorado. It is a collection of a dozen authors' latest research into how the Southwest's ancient cultures organized their families, households, and communities to live and work with one another to make the best use of their land and resources.

The reader will discover that the authors' points of view may vary but all offer insights into how recent findings from archaeological excavations inform new perspectives of how ancient cultures organized their societies. Examples include a chapter written by Dr. Stokes himself examining how landless families and households influenced Classic Period Mimbres communities. Another chapter by Barbara Roth, PhD, illustrates patterns of community development at New Mexico's Harris site; and a chapter by Deni Seymour, PhD, provides an intriguing analysis of ancient cultures' migration habits. There is much more in this volume to interest the armchair archaeologist and sociology maven. Find more 411 at http://bit.ly/2LoBaKt or via Amazon, and get you some!

/s/ webmaster