NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, December 21, 2022, starting at 5PM: The GCAS monthly IN-PERSON general meeting returns to 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City, New Mexico. about a block or two south of the intersection of Memory Lane and Hwy 180. This holiday get-together starts a bit earlier this month at 5PM with a holiday potluck - so bring your most festive dish, along with your own plates/utensils/beverage. A short business meeting will begin at 6:00PM followed by a program of videos and photo albums of past GCAS field trips, and a small display of samples from recently donated artifacts. Watch this space for more details as they develop but plan now to join us! In order to offer our members a safe and comfortable experience the GCAS follows CDC and New Mexico Department of Health guidelines for indoor gatherings including masking, distancing, and vaccinations. We recommend all attendees follow the same.

NEXT FIELD TRIP: Sunday, December 4, 2022, at 10:00AM: The GCAS meets for this month's field trip at WNMU's Museum at Fleming Hall for a guided tour by museum director Danielle Romero. Come to view the new and innovative exhibits that Danni and her staff have already put on display, and hear about the museum's work in curating their vast collections. Ask about the museum's plans for future displays and how you can become involved in the process! For those unfamiliar, the entrance to the museum is across a small parking lot adjacent to the Aldo Leopold Charter School. From downtown Silver City, drive westbound along W 10th Street until it curves uphill and becomes N Louisiana Street right where the school and the museum are located, on the north side of the street. For more details, visit the museum's web page.) We'll see you there!

Art Trafficking-Looting-Vandalism

Cliff NM Lecture Series Continues!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 6:30PM - free and open to the public: Ashleigh Thompson of Archaeology Southwest discusses how to Save History: the Importance of Protecting Archaeological Sites from Looting and Vandalism as the next presentation of the 2022 lecture series sponsored by Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona Preservation Archaeology Field School. Lecture location is 8179 Highway 180 West in Cliff NM 80288. Look for the cream building with the orange portable toilets on the north side of Highway 180 just east of Shields Canyon Road and the highway yard. (This is 2.2 miles west of the 180-211 junction in Cliff.) This talk is an essential component of the 2022 field school currently underway in Cliff, and we of the GCAS encourage everyone to attend to learn more about what's going on in our own neighborhood.

/s/ webmaster


Cultural and Ethical Implications in the Fossil Trade

Amber-field-cnnLoss of important scientific data does not just happen with cultural artifacts like Mimbres pottery. It happens with fossils, too. GCAS member Kathryn McCarroll links to an article discussing the international trade in blood amber, a fossil-rich amber mined only in Myanmar. Paleobiologist George Poinar recently wrote that "...scientifically valuable fossils...end up in carvings and jewelry and [are] lost for future generations...."

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Site Steward Opportunity Up North - Plan Now!

The Santa Fe National Forest is looking for Archaeological Site Stewards for their area. Their training day is Saturday, March 21, 2020, so if the date and location fit your schedule, get busy now and sign up. They explain in their press release:

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What Can Be Done with Disturbed Sites?

Campfire pit lined with 1000 y.o. wall stones Grafitti  modern Bulldozer tracks at pueblo site 1Archaeologist Lewis Borck, PhD, would answer: quite a lot.

"Disturbance" describes an archaeological site that has been altered by either natural forces (erosion, animal activity, etc.), previous archaeological excavations, or - as is often the case these days - by vandalism or looting as shown in the photos. Dr. Borck explained in an article he wrote for the Fall 2019 issue of American Archaeology (Vol. 23 No. 3 at p. 44) that his research as a preservation archaeologist focuses upon disturbed sites rather than sites that may be more intact. He says, in part,

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Site Preservation 101

A gentle reminder, Dear Reader, ICYMI the first time:

Campfire pit lined with 1000 y.o. wall stonesPlease embiggen this photo by clicking on it. What you see is a recently-built, recently-used fire pit someone erected when they visited an archaeological site located on public land. They pulled stones out of a 1000-year-old pueblo wall to build up their fire ring nice and neat. Baffling, how often this happens around here and around the world, so following are some protips for campers visiting sensitive sites:

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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]


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.

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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.

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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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