The GCAS is pleased to introduce Danielle Romero of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas as the recipient of the GCAS's 2020 Nancy Coinman Grant Awards. Danielle is a third-year PhD candidate majoring in Archaeology with a minor in Anthropology, working toward her PhD dissertation in May 2021. Following is Danielle's description of her research and her proposal for applying her Coinman Grant Award in furtherance of that research:
"Interaction between prehistoric groups was complex and if often debated amongst archaeologists. The Mimbres were a distinct prehistoric group that primarily occupied the Mimbres Valley in southwestern New Mexico from A.D. 200-1150. Research into interaction between Mimbres sites has been extensive and was thought to be well understood in the 1970s. However, new technologies have changed many of these original beliefs. Under the direction of Dr. Barbara Roth, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) students have been participating in field schools at various archaeological sites in the valley, the most recent being at the Elk Ridge site. The Elk Ridge site is an above ground masonry pueblo that was occupied from A.D. 900-1130. The site is estimated to have 200 rooms in which UNLV excavations have uncovered 20 with associated communal and trash dump areas. The size and location of the site indicate it was center of production for ceramics. This research uses data collected from a single site in order to understand the mechanics of interaction in a specific region.
The primary goal of my larger research questions is to understand how those living at the Elk Ridge site interacted with other sites in the immediate Mimbres region and larger Mogollon culture area. Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), architecture, and data from burials will be used to investigate these interactions. This specific project is focused on the submission of NAA samples which requires sending clay samples from the ceramic vessels to the University of Missouri Archaeometry Laboratory. The clay found in the Mimbres Valley is different between each site and the chemical analysis of NAA is used to determine at which site a vessel was made. A total of 106 vessels from Elk Ridge are available for testing and samples from all will be submitted. This includes 81 vessels recovered from the UNLV excavations and 25 vessels looted from the site’s southern portion that have recently been returned. The results will also be compared against previous NAA studies that have yielded vessels made at the Elk Ridge site. The amount of ceramic exchange between sites can inform on interaction relationships within the Mimbres Valley and show if Elk Ridge interacted with few or many sites and if those interactions were similar or different by site. My goal for this year is to finish this project and add the results to the other data sets that comprise my wider dissertation research.
The award will be used to help offset the costs of the NAA analysis. The award amount will cover the cost of 25 samples. The National Science Foundation subsidy rate for the project has already been approved which has lowered the cost per sample to $40. The total project cost is estimated to be $4240 for a total of 106 ceramic samples.
The results of this project will be publications and presentations regarding the sources of the ceramics recovered from Elk Ridge. NAA sample submission will begin in April 2020 and continue through the early summer. Results should be in hand at the beginning of December 2020 at the latest as results take a maximum of six months to be returned. A report on this
data can be submitted to the GCAS in December 2020. The data will be primarily used in my dissertation which is scheduled to be completed in May 2021. Publication of the dissertation will follow and presentation of the data will occur in various venues including the Society of American Archaeology conference in April 2021.
Additional support is being provided by the Gila National Forest to cover the cost of ceramic samples recovered from burial contexts, the Friends of World Anthropology, and the UNLV Graduate and Professional Student Association."
We of the GCAS are proud to support Danielle Romero's work. Congratulations, Danielle.