NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 6PM: The GCAS monthly in-person general meeting returns to the Roundup Lodge in San Lorenzo (Mimbres Valley) near the junction of Highways 152 and 35. Start at 6PM with your own plates/utensils/beverage & a dish for yourself or to share. Brief general meeting at 6:45 PM before introducing the evening's feature presentation by the GCAS's friend Dr. Bob Stokes, chair of ENMU's Archaeology Department, who will present his team's Preliminary Results from ENMU's 2021 Summer Field School at the Mares Rockshelter, a Jornada Mogollon Site along the Lower Rio Grande near Radium Springs. Watch this space and follow our blog for any adjustments of times, potluck procedures, etc. 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: Saturday, June 25, 2022, 10:00AM-12:00PM noon, is the GCAS's traditional "July" field trip! Visit the 2022 Archaeology Fair hosted by Archaeology Southwest and the University of Arizona's Preservation Archaeology Field School at Gila River Farm in Cliff, New Mexico. The public is welcome and it's free of charge, so join GCAS members in learning about the project team's current archaeological investigations. Eye-catching informational exhibits will be on display, and the project team will offer hands-on activities to visitors of all ages. From the junction of Highways 180 and 211 in Cliff, drive 1 mile north, keep left (north) on Highway 293 and drive to Mile Marker 4. Just past MM 4, turn right into a driveway with a small sign that says, "Gila River Farm." Please use the parking area next to the large building down the driveway. Contact Archaeology Southwest with further questions. Safety measures will be in place, so please be prepared to wear a mask and keep a safe distance. See you at the Fair!

Mexico Northwest

Online Via Zoom: Our March 16, 2022, Featured Speaker, Scott Nicolay

Scott_nicolay_March 16, 2022, 6:45PM via Zoom: This month's GCAS general meeting features archaeologist and PhD candidate Scott Nicolay. Specific topic TBD so watch this space for updates. (Teaser: a discussion of the ritual use of caves in the prehistoric Northwest Mexico/Southwest US region may be involved.)

Scott works with Dr. Holley Moyes out of the University of California at Merced in examining the ritual use of caves in prehistory. Scott's research interrogates the archaeological record of ceremonial caves from the prehistoric U.S. Southwest and Northwest Mexico in order to interpret major social, political and religious reorganizations that repeatedly swept the region prior to European contact, and how these shifts mesh both with prehistoric climactic change and contemporaneous events in the Mesoamerica core and periphery.

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A New Article by Thatcher Rogers

TRogersThe GCAS's own Thatcher Rogers has shared with us a link to his recently published article in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology that describes the latest stage of his ongoing archaeological research into the connections between the Mimbres and Casas Grandes cultures. Thatcher wrote that the GCAS's Nancy Coinman Grant Award that he received in 2019 helped him collect some of the data and images he used in this article. We are thrilled that our group could contribute to research like Thatcher's.

Thatcher continues,

My paper is titled: Ancestral relations and late prehispanic dynamics between the Mimbres and Casas Grandes cultures of the American Southwest/Mexican Northwest region

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Mimbreños y Paquiméños: Current Research by Thatcher Rogers

Ramos poly MNM Mimbres serpentGCAS member Thatcher Rogers is currently a PhD student at UNM, a ceramics analyst/archaeologist for the Office of Contract Archeology and Aspen CRM Solutions, and one of the recipients of our Nancy Coinman Grant Awards. He has kindly allowed us to include on our website his recently-published paper, "Mimbreños y Paquiméños: Historicism and the Ancestry of the Casas Grandes Ceramic Tradition."

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Online via Zoom: Our September 16, 2020, Featured Speaker: Thatcher Rogers

Rogers-photo-2017Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 7:00 PM: GCAS general meeting via Zoom. No business meeting this time, so we will begin by welcoming our Featured Speaker, University of New Mexico PhD candidate and 2018/2019 GCAS Coinman Grant Awardee Thatcher A. Rogers. Thatcher will describe the findings of his current research regarding "Following the Green Stone Road: Exploring the Upper Gila Connection to Paquimé (Casas Grandes)."

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Following Paul E. Minnis, PhD

Minnis with pickMeet Dr. Paul Minnis. He earned his PhD at the University of Michigan in 1981 and holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. During his career he has authored, co-authored, or edited at least 12 books in addition to having written numerous journal articles and book chapters. Now retired and living in Tucson, Arizona, he speaks at professional conferences and in more informal presentations to the general public on topics such as prehispanic trade and cultural networks; and how ancient farming practices can enhance our modern world's food supply.

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part VI

Mexico dinner with group 3 - Mata Ortiz hotel portalTo read the full narrative of the great GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V. 20 - Our field trip tour group  14 of 16

I have been remiss in not disclosing that our group dined - and well - while in Mexico. No photos were taken of the excellent seafood restaurant our guide Luis introduced us to in Janos; but we had a more traditional lunch experience in a small hotel in Mata Ortiz that had little trouble in providing our group of 16 gabachos with a classic lunch of chiles rellenos, tacos, and much, much more.  (h/t Marcia Corl for the dining photo up there on the left; webmaster focused instead on the chile ristras along the garden portal.)

Day 3: May 4, 2018. We arrived in Paquimé. The site's thick adobe walls may be slowly dissolving back into the earth, but it remains an awe-inspiring sight to look out over Paquimé's grand plaza, its ceremonial structures, and its residential areas comprising some 1700 rooms.

6 - Residential compound 7 - View of 2d-story floor timbers and floor grooves 12 - Small patio-plaza with drainage feature 16 - Room of 17 corners 11 - Doorway into small plaza + T-doorway with bowed lintel 8 - LtoR = Kyle  Kevin  Josh  Bob  Luis

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part V

8 - Mata Ortiz 1930s-era churchTo read the complete narrative of the GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

The second half of Day 2, May 3, 2018, comprised a tour of the area's historic structures, including a charming 1930s-era church in Juan Mata Ortiz.

In stark contrast to the small, well-tended church and grounds in Mata Ortiz, were 10 - Terrazas's Hacienda San Diegothe ruins of Hacienda San Diego, one of the mansions belonging to the early 20th-Century cattle baron Luis Terrazas. During the First Gilded Age, Luis Terrazas amassed a combined total of 7 million acres of ranch land, over 500,000 head of cattle, and a few hundred thousand head of horses, mules, and sheep. He was reputed at the time to be the largest individual land owner in the Americas. During the Mexican Revolution of 1916, Pancho Villa used his position as provisional governor to confiscate 11 - Hacienda San Diego portalTerrazas's land and slaughter all the livestock to feed the revolutionary army.

(This is an avocational archaeological website, so I will not personally comment upon the politics of the Terrazas-Villa era. I will leave it up to discerning websurfers to determine for themselves whether or not certain remarks are factually attributable to Luis Terrazas, such as, "Chihuahua comprises the largest part of my ranch," and "I am not from Chihuahua. Chihuahua is mine.")

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GCAS Field Trip Part IV: Marcia Corl, Today's Featured Photographer

Marcia Corl, an archaeology enthusiast from Las Cruces, joined us on our international field trip to Firing Ceramics in Juan Mata OrtizPaquimé. In today's post please enjoy some of her portraits of the people living and working in the ceramics center of Juan Mata Ortiz. All photos you see in this post are Marcia Corl's, EXCEPT this large one over here on the right. Marcia says that this particular one is a photo she took of another photo that she saw hanging in one of the Mata Ortiz galleries we visited. Marcia says that this is a portrait of Juan Quezada himself, shown firing Mata Ortiz ceramics the Old Skool way - using a flaming pile of wood and cow pies. However, an image of Juan Quezada seems to be an apt introduction to the rest of Marcia's own photos of the artisans and residents of his home town. (As always, hover on a photo for a caption; and click on any photo to enlarge.)

Marcia writes:

"​I had no idea what to expect when I learned I was able to go with this bright and energetic group to Mata Ortiz and Paquimé.  I had told myself that I was not going to spend any money on pots (which I had very little room for in my house), but the trip was going to be a learning experience anyway.  Never had seen Paquimé either. We The Young Artist saved the second day of the trip for the Mata Ortiz visit. I expected to drive up to some sort of Plaza where we would find everyone with their wares, but our first stop was at a little adobe house, where I thought Luis (our guide) maybe had some personal business, until we were all escorted into the private house of a potter.  The whole bus was going in!  She had 3 walls of the small front room lined in shelves of pottery, all hand thrown, and Potter fine detailsome hand painted with a single-hair brush. The prices were on tape written in dollars below the beautiful objects, ranging from 5 dollars to 200 dollars.  The table she was to demonstrate the fine painting was on the 4th wall.  We all watched with bated breath while she marked the finely decorated white clay pot with a repeat pattern of burnt orange paint between the tiny black design already there. 

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part III

1 - Mata Ortiz detail work Potter fine detailTo read the complete narrative of the GCAS field trip of May 2-4, 2018, see Part I here, and Part II here.

Day 2: May 3, 2018. Shopping day in the artisans' town of Mata Ortiz. Because the Grant County Archaeological Society embraces art and culture in all its forms. (h/t Marcia Corl for close-up photo of fine ceramics detailing.)

Juan Mata Ortiz is a town of about 1200 people located several miles south- 5 - LtoR  Kevin  Meem and Lee examine potssouthwest of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. It was established in the late 19th Century  as "Pearson," but after the 1916 Mexican Revolution it renamed itself "Juan Mata Ortiz" in memory of an army colonel and local hero who had fought against the Apache. The town's economy had been based exclusively on agriculture, but beginning in the late 1970s/early 1980s a ceramics tradition began to develop that now provides the town and its inhabitants with a more stable and diverse economy than agriculture alone had afforded.

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GCAS Field Trip to Paquimé, Part II

IMG_423125 - Olla - photographing the cliff face May 2, 2018, the first day of our GCAS international field trip to archaeological and 33 - Yep  Golondrina historic sites in Chihuahua, Mexico, was windy and action-packed. We hiked for about 1/3 mile from La Cueva de la Olla crossing a shallow stream and the valley floor, up a short, steep path to the cave and cliff dwellings of La Cueva de la Golondrina ("Cave of the Swallow"). Occupation of this site has been dated to roughly 1000-1050 CE; somewhat more recent and for a shorter duration than La Cueva de la Olla. (h/t Marcia Corl for far left image.)

One of the structures in La Cueva de la Golondrina (see photo over here on the right) was built in a unique 27 - Golondrina circular cliff dwellingcylindrical shape, yet it and the other more conventional, rectangular-shaped adobe rooms at this site used the same defensive techniques of small ventilation windows and narrow, low, T-shaped doorways that seem typical of cliff dwellings of this era throughout northwest Mexico and southwest US.

31 - Golondrina far L wall's carved steps 32 - Golondrina far L wall porthole detail with lintelsFacing the cave, the cliff dwellings on the far left appeared more intact than those at La Cueva de la Olla; their walls extended all the way to the cave's roof. Slim rows of latillas in the upper parts of small ventilation windows remained in place despite graffiti etched into the surrounding adobe. Steps carved into the sloping rock were still usable to climb up to the cave floor (see photo on far left). The fine sand of the cave floor itself appeared uniformly flat and smooth, even into the cave's furthermost recesses.

Facing the cave along its upper right side, a long panel of white-painted pictographs came into view.

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