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.
Pat Gilman had no idea that she wanted to be an archaeologist until she took an anthropology class as an undergraduate. Even then, all she knew was that she liked anthropology in general. It took an archaeology field school in the summer that she graduated before she knew that archaeology was the subfield of anthropology that she liked best. A 1974 field project in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico under the auspices of the Mimbres Foundation and Dr. Steven LeBlanc was the start of her life-long interest in research and field work in the larger Mimbres region.
At the 2019 annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico just past, the GCAS presented our keynote speaker, Pat Gilman, PhD, with a gift in appreciation of her lifelong archaeological research of the Mimbres-Mogollon culture. She received a framed watercolor, "Rabbit Moon," painted by our own Marilyn Gendron. (That's Pat holding Marilyn's painting up over there.)
Marilyn has been a devoted GCAS member for well over a decade, so we've enjoyed her art and design work in many different media. Her painting has been featured on the front page of our community newspaper; her 3D art has appeared in our GCAS calendar; and many of us wear T-shirts bearing her Mimbreño designs. In painting "Rabbit Moon," Marilyn included an extra touch of authenticity to the night sky. Though it may not be visible in the photo here, she explains, "The constellations in that painting are as they were in 1054 when the supernova appeared below the moon near the constellation Taurus. It was 6 times brighter than Venus and was visible for 23 days. The remnants of that supernova I believe became the Crab Nebula....I was trying to picture the sky when that happened here in the valley with the Mimbreños."
Marilyn, thank you for letting us show off one example of your fine work. I imagine Pat has it hanging in a very special place now.
/s/ webmaster [Photo by Marilyn Markel.]
Allow us a bit of self-congratulation: We of the GCAS were told by many attendees that our hosting of the 2019 ASNM Annual Meeting on April 26 through 28 was a success and that a fine time was had by all. One individual remarked, "...The venue, and papers were both above average by quite a lot. All of the papers were great!" Kudos, then, to all the presenters, and for the GCAS Program Committee for working so hard to gather together such a fine lineup!
The GCAS's very own Marilyn Markel is today's Guest Photographer, bringing us some images from April 28, 2019, when she and Bill Hudson guided ten or so attendees of the 2019 ASNM annual meeting on a field trip to the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site.
Marilyn has been a devoted member of the GCAS for over 18 years but her passion for archaeology has been lifelong. She has served our group in the capacities of Vice President, President, Board member, and more. She is the backbone of our educational outreach programs, introducing the general public but especially local grade school and high school students to the history and cultural heritage of their own home towns.
Torie Grass joins us today to share photos she took on a GCAS field trip to the Rock House Petroglyph Site on April 28, 2019. Torie has been a member and enthusiastic supporter of the GCAS for many years. Most recently, she volunteered her time to help make the April 2019 ASNM annual meeting in Silver City a success.
The Rock House Petroglyph Site is located on New Mexico State Trust Land near a state highway. It sits opposite the Rock House Pueblo Site which fell victim to bulldozers years ago. For years it was known locally as the “Bandito” site because of a large red stereotyped Mexican figure that a vandal had painted over a petroglyph panel. In 2015, the GCAS undertook remediation of the site and safely removed the red barn paint that had defaced the petroglyphs. Torie's photo on the left illustrates a portion of that restored panel. Her photo on the right shows a different area of petroglyphs. In both images, the group demonstrates the preferred Best Practice of taking pictures of ancient symbols without touching or walking on them. When visiting any archaeological site, be as cool as this group is.
Thank you for contributing these photos, Torie!
John has been a member of GCAS for more than 10 years. He grew up in El Paso and worked for 30 years with the Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area before returning to the Southwest in 1995. He has helped with the Cañada Alamosa and other archaeological projects for Human Systems Research in Las Cruces as well as with the Black Mountain and Woodrow Ruin projects for Colorado University.
On Sunday, April 28, 2019, John was one of a group who took advantage of the weekend's ASNM Annual Meeting in Silver City to visit the Kipp Ruin near Deming, New Mexico. This site was first recorded by archaeologists in the early 1900s and is currently owned and managed by the Archaeological Conservancy. Kipp is located on the floodplain of the Mimbres River in Luna County at the eastern edge of the Mimbres region, the northern edge of the Casas Grandes region, and the western edge of the Jornada Mogollon region.
Kipp has pithouse structures that appear to date from 100 BCE to 1000 CE. We see an example of one such structure in John's photo above on the left. Kipp also has a post-1200 CE component that appears to have evidence of all three cultures - Mimbres, Casas Grandes, and Jornada Mogollon - that converged at this location. Evidence includes remnants of Salado polychrome pottery such as the potsherd shown in John's photo over here on the right.
Thank you, John, for sharing your photos with all of cyberspace!
"Living in Sacred Continuum" is an assemblage of Mimbres pottery dating from 1000 CE to 1130 CE, and is now on display at the American Indian Student Center on the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces. The exhibit features interpretations of the pottery’s designs by five different Hopi artists with five different points of view. [Photo of the Hopi artists at work - by Atsunori Ito via NMSU. Dr. Arakawa is shown in center background.]
h/t to the GCAS's own Chris Overlock for hipping us to today's news in the Chicago Tribune.
The Art Institute of Chicago has indefinitely postponed the exhibition they had planned for May, 2019, of a private individual's collection of some 70 pieces of Mimbres pottery. The article indicates the Art Institute came to realize that grave goods comprise the majority of this private collection. Such items are inappropriate for public display.
“It’s not art,” said Patty Loew, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, who...has followed the controversy within the community of Native American scholars. “If someone dug up your great-grandmother’s grave and pulled out a wedding ring or something that had been buried with her, would you feel comfortable having that item on display?”
Answer: We may never know. But there are some intriguing clues, thanks to archaeological linguists and forensic anthropologists. From an article dated March 15, 2019, in Archaeology Magazine:
"...the spread of agriculture and consumption of easier-to-chew foods may have led to changes in human jaws and their arrangement of teeth, which in turn allowed people to make new sounds and create new words....chewing tough, gritty food would have put force on hunter-gatherers’ lower jaws, making the bone grow larger so that the upper and lower teeth aligned in an “edge-to-edge” bite. Such a bite would have made it hard to push the upper jaw forward to make the sounds “f” and “v”...