Archaeologists' 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.
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.
Here we see GCAS members Marianne Smith and Josh Reeves recreating Grant Wood's iconic masterpiece as they model the activewear that the fashion-forward consumer values for the ultimate in protection from sun and dust. Those in the know understand that this gear is not only handy for some serious volunteering on an archaeological excavation, but also for more casual events like GCAS field trips or community projects.
It's easy to spot Josh and Marianne when they're out and about. Be sure to ask them who they're wearing. Thanks, you two!
These 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.
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.
In July, 2019, professor Robert J. Stokes PhD of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales was Directing Archaeologist on an excavation of a small ruined structure located within the boundaries of City of Rocks State Park. The project's goals were to identify its walls, floors, and the overall nature of its construction to help determine its age and the purpose for which it had originally been built. Additionally Dr. Stokes sought to assess the context of the site within the surrounding landscape.
Mary-Margaret Soulé has been a devoted member of the GCAS since the early 1990s. She rarely if ever misses a meeting. She has served for many years as a member of our Board of Trustees, and in practically every office our group has, from Secretary to President. She often hosts our monthly meetings, providing beverages and snacks. She will go on our monthly field trips now and then, but she's visited pretty much every accessible archaeological site more times than any of the rest of us, so she occasionally takes a break. During the winter months from October through April, when the GCAS holds meetings at 2045 Memory Lane in Silver City? That's all Mary-Margaret - we meet in one of her buildings - the same location as the local rockhounding group, The Rolling Stones, meets. She's generous that way. And speaking of generous:
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.
We at the GCAS are proud to announce that not one - but TWO - of our members were recently appointed to serve on the Archaeological Society of New Mexico's Board of Trustees. Congratulations to our President, Kyle Meredith of Silver City; and to our new member Robin Tuttle of Hillsboro!
Unfortunately, we have no suitable photos of these two for our readers to admire, so they'll just have to settle for these cartoon ants cheering them on:
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.
June 24-25, 2019 - A 2-day overnight archaeology experience.
Sign up now!
Kids will learn about archaeology from educators at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site (MCHS) and the Mattocks Ruin Archaeological Site (Day 1) and participate in an archaeology fieldwork project in Mimbres at the Cottonwood Site, Gila National Forest, directed by Dr. Barbara Roth from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (Day 2). Participants will camp overnight at MCHS and have dinner with the field crew. Click here for more details of each day's activities.
MCHS and the Grant County Archaeological Society (GCAS) will provide all meals, tents, sleeping bags, and other camping supplies, water bottles, and all materials and equipment to be used during the archaeology camp.
The camp is free to children of appropriate age and interest (4th grade - middle school). Parents of project participants will be required to sign assumption of risk waivers, provide health insurance information, provide transportation to and from the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site, and student’s personal items (Bring a pillow, clothes, toothbrush, etc.)
The MCHS Experiential Preservation Project is funded by a Grant County Community Foundation grant and a donation from the Grant County Archaeological Society. This is an MCHS project. Up to 10 students will participate in the Archaeology Kid’s Camp. Applications must be received by June 7th. You will be notified of acceptance by June 15th.
Cobre Schools, Silver Schools, nor any other schools are participants in the archaeology camp project.
/s/ marilyn markel