For 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
Our final field trip report in this series addresses the GCAS's visit to the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site (MCHS) on July 7, 2019, to examine the artifacts comprising the Croteau Collection in a special one-time-only exhibit.
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.
It's always a pleasure to visit directing archaeologist Karen Schollmeyer, PhD, and her crew of the Archaeology Southwest/Preservation Archaeology Field School when they wind up another productive season of research at the Gila River Farm in Cliff, New Mexico. They held their 2019 Archaeology Fair on June 29 there and as usual it was well attended.
Marilyn Markel guided us on the second leg of our GCAS field trip of June 2, 2019, to the archaeological sites atop (way atop) a steep bluff at Ponderosa Ranch in the upper Mimbres Valley. This is yet another site that is monitored by a volunteer Site Steward (who also happens to be a GCAS member) under the New Mexico SiteWatch Program. [Photos by GCAS guest photographer Greg Conlin. Thanks, Greg!]
The summer months find the GCAS all over the place partaking of events aplenty. Our field trips are no exception; by the close of the first week of July we will have enjoyed a total of three field trips in five weeks.
On June 2, 2019, the GCAS's very own Marilyn Markel led our monthly field trip to two sites located near each other. Our first stop was to Spirit Canyon in the upper Mimbres Valley area. Spirit Canyon is a unique rock art site monitored under the New Mexico SiteWatch Program. About a half-mile walk up the canyon trail and carefully avoiding the lush growth of poison ivy, our group encountered a series of red ochre pictographs that reportedly depict either Apache Mountain Spirits, or the Apache ceremonial dancers who represented the Mountain Spirits. [Photo on left by M.Smith; photo on right by Greg Conlin.]
It's a busy summer for all levels of the archaeologically inclined. Pull out your calendars and fill 'em up with one or more of the following:
Monday, July 1, 2019, 7:00 PM: the Archaeology Southwest Lecture Series in Cliff, NM, concludes with Archaeology Southwest's own Allen Denoyer speaking about "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Mule Creek Obsidian." Location is 8179 Hwy 180 W, Cliff, New Mexico. Look for the cream building with blue portable toilets on the north side of Hwy 180 just east of Shields Canyon Road and the highway yard. (This is 2.2 miles west of the 180-211 junction in Cliff.)
Sunday, July 7, 2019, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM: A second GCAS July field trip! One time only! View the storied Croteau Collection of Elk Ridge artifacts at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site in the Wood House's panic room.
People, the next four weeks are chock-full-o' archaeological goings-on to suit every taste and budget. Carve out some time and mark your calendars for some or all of the following:
Monday, June 24, 2019, through Tuesday, June 25, 2019: Archaeology Kid's Camp at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site gets underway with a field crew trip to the Cottonwood Site. To volunteer yourself, or to sign up your favorite kid for camp, contact Marilyn Markel at 575-536-9337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.