NEXT MEETING: 6:00 PM, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at the Roundup Lodge in San Lorenzo (Mimbres Valley). Potluck followed by general meeting, then our Featured Speaker: Karen G. Schollmeyer, PhD, preservation archaeologist for Archaeology Southwest, presenting: "The Cliff Valley in the 14th Century."

Friday, May 31, 2019: GCAS members can join Dr. Schollmeyer at the Woodrow Ruin near Cliff. Meet at 8:00 AM sharp at the Silver City Visitors' Center, 201 N Hudson St.

NEXT FIELD TRIP: Sunday, June 2, 2019: Marilyn Markel leads us to Pictograph Canyon and Ponderosa Ranch. Meet at the Mimbres Ranger Station (on Hwy. 35 about 11 mi. north of Hwy 152 junction) at 10:00 AM sharp.

Archaeology

Today's Guest Photographer: Torie Grass

TG Rock House 1 04-28-2019Torie Grass joins us today to share photos she took on a GCAS field trip to the Rock House Petroglyph Site on April 28, 2019. Torie has been a member and enthusiastic supporter of the GCAS for many years. Most recently, she volunteered her time to help make the April 2019 ASNM annual meeting in Silver City a success.

TG Rock House 2 04-28-2019The Rock House Petroglyph Site is located on New Mexico State Trust Land near a state highway. It sits opposite the Rock House Pueblo Site which fell victim to bulldozers years ago. For years it was known locally as the “Bandito” site because of a large red stereotyped Mexican figure that a vandal had painted over a petroglyph panel. In 2015, the GCAS undertook remediation of the site and safely removed the red barn paint that had defaced the petroglyphs. Torie's photo on the left illustrates a portion of that restored panel. Her photo on the right shows a different area of petroglyphs. In both images, the group demonstrates the preferred Best Practice of taking pictures of ancient symbols without touching or walking on them. When visiting any archaeological site, be as cool as this group is.

Thank you for contributing these photos, Torie!

/s/ webmaster


Today's Guest Photographer: John Fitch

JF Kipp 04-28-2019 groupThis here website loves it when our GCAS members join in the blogging fun. Meet today's Guest Photographer, John Fitch.

John has been a member of GCAS for more than 10 years. He grew up in El Paso and worked for 30 years with the Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area before returning to the Southwest in 1995. He has helped with the Cañada Alamosa and other archaeological projects for Human Systems Research in Las Cruces as well as with the Black Mountain and Woodrow Ruin projects for Colorado University.

JF Kipp 04-28-2019 perfect pithouseOn Sunday, April 28, 2019, John was one of a group who took advantage of the weekend's ASNM Annual Meeting in Silver City to visit the Kipp Ruin near Deming, New Mexico. This site was first recorded by archaeologists in the early 1900s and is currently owned and managed by the Archaeological Conservancy. Kipp is located on the floodplain of the Mimbres River in Luna County at the eastern edge of the Mimbres region, the northern edge of the Casas Grandes region, and the western edge of the Jornada Mogollon region.

JF Kipp 04-28-2019 Salado sherdKipp has pithouse structures that appear to date from 100 BCE to 1000 CE. We see an example of one such structure in John's photo above on the left. Kipp also has a post-1200 CE component that appears to have evidence of all three cultures - Mimbres, Casas Grandes, and Jornada Mogollon - that converged at this location. Evidence includes remnants of Salado polychrome pottery such as the potsherd shown in John's photo over here on the right.

Thank you, John, for sharing your photos with all of cyberspace!

/s/ webmaster

 


Let's Visit Las Cruces

image from newscenter.nmsu.eduWe at the GCAS encourage our readers to travel to Las Cruces some time between now and December 15, 2019, to visit some fine examples of Mimbres ceramics. It would make quite the day trip.

"Living in Sacred Continuum" is an assemblage of Mimbres pottery dating from 1000 CE to 1130 CE, and is now on display at the American Indian Student Center on the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces. The exhibit features interpretations of the pottery’s designs by five different Hopi artists with five different points of view. [Photo of the Hopi artists at work - by Atsunori Ito via NMSU. Dr. Arakawa is shown in center background.]

Continue reading "Let's Visit Las Cruces" »


Old School Tattoo Tool

image from s.newsweek.comResearchers at Washington State University have (re)discovered the oldest tattooing tool in all of western North America. [Photo of tool on right, via Newsweek.] This 3-1/2 inch long, dual-needle tattooing instrument made out of two prickly pear cactus spines bound to a skunkbush sumac stem/handle with yucca fiber, had been excavated in 1972 from a midden at the Turkey Pen archaeological site in southeastern Utah. Based on the tool itself and human coprolites and maize cobs found in the same midden, the find was dated to 79-130 CE, about 2000 years ago during the Basketmaker II period. Similar tattooing tools retrieved from sites throughout the US Southwest were much more recent, having been dated to about 1100-1280CE. In other words, the Turkey Pen artifact now suggests that tattooing in our region had been practiced for at least 1000 years longer than previously believed.

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Deferred, For All the Right Reasons

h/t to the GCAS's own Chris Overlock for hipping us to today's news in the Chicago Tribune.

The Art Institute of Chicago has indefinitely postponed the exhibition they had planned for May, 2019, of a private individual's collection of some 70 pieces of Mimbres pottery. The article indicates the Art Institute came to realize that grave goods comprise the majority of this private collection. Such items are inappropriate for public display.

“It’s not art,” said Patty Loew, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, who...has followed the controversy within the community of Native American scholars. “If someone dug up your great-grandmother’s grave and pulled out a wedding ring or something that had been buried with her, would you feel comfortable having that item on display?”

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How Did Mimbreño Language Sound?

image from science.sciencemag.orgAnswer: 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”...

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Still More DNA News

image from c8.alamy.comThe GCAS prefers to restrict our blog posts to the US Southwest/Northwestern Mexico region on this here website, but we always make an exception for advances in DNA technology. From a Washington Post article dated March 15, 2019:

"One day about 200 years ago, a woman enslaved on a tobacco plantation near Annapolis tossed aside the broken stem of the clay pipe she was smoking in the slave quarters where she lived....the stem bore marks where she had clenched it in her teeth as she worked. But the stem bore something else she could never have imagined: her DNA.

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Field Trip to Indian Wells - the Petroglyph Part

One of the fun aspects of studying petroglyphs is that regardless of how you interpret the images, nobody is wrong and everybody is right. Following, then, are pics of some of the petroglyphs our GCAS group saw on our March 3, 2019, field trip to Indian Wells.

Moon 1 per Patterson IMG_1005Author Alex Patterson identifies this circle-with-a-dot over there on the left as a symbol for the moon. Others describe it as a symbol for the sun. Either interpretation seems reasonable but it gets complicated when considering this next image here on the right. Two moons? Two suns? One of each, perhaps?

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Field Trip to Indian Wells - Part II

Indian Wells pit house vista 1The March 3, 2019, GCAS field trip to Indian Wells was enlightening on several levels. Chris Overlock's photos gave a good overview of the general terrain and vegetation, and showcased the classic GCAS looking-for-potsherds stoop that we all know and love. Here in Part II, is a second view of the overall terrain of Indian Wells, followed by a brief illustration of what a bulldozed archaeological site looks like for those who may not have ever seen one before.

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Field Trip to Indian Wells

IMG_5382Please welcome today's guest photographer, GCAS's own Chris Overlock. Thank you for sharing your photos, Chris!

Chris was one of 11 humans accompanied by 2 enthusiastic canines on our March 3, 2019, visit to three archaeological sites that comprise Indian Wells in southwestern New Mexico. Two of our group had come all the way from Las Cruces to join the fun. High-clearance vehicles carried us over increasingly rough roads to a point from which we could reach our intended sites on foot. The weather was breezy but otherwise just right for exploration.

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